To become a proprietor of a supported residential service (SRS), the legal entity that intends to own and operate the SRS must first apply to the Department of Health & Human Services for registration of the premises. The department must approve the registration before the proprietor starts the SRS business or takes over ownership of an existing SRS.
To appoint a manager of an SRS, the proprietor must apply to the department for approval of that manager. The department must assess SRS proprietors, managers and directors as suitable to fulfill their relevant role.
Assessing the application
Once the department receives an application for registration (or application for the approval of a manager or new director), it assesses the information and documentation against the following criteria:
1. The proprietor (and manager and any director or other officer of an incorporated body proprietor) has the relevant skills and knowledge to operate or manage an SRS. For this assessment, the department considers the following information:
- extent of experience and qualifications in operating or working in an SRS or similar industry. The department expects proprietors/directors/managers to have some experience in this area and at a level that is commensurate with the person’s role in the day-to-day operations of the SRS.
- extent of business experience and skills that could be applied to the operating of an SRS business. The department expects proprietors and/or directors to have some experience in this area.
- demonstrated understanding of the legislation and the likely practical issues of operating an SRS.
2. The proprietor has the financial capacity to operate an SRS. The department does not assess managers against these criteria. For this assessment, the department considers the following information:
- profit/loss forecasts that show sustainability and cover all expense items expected for the business
- a business plan that addresses appropriate strategies for ensuring continued sustainable occupancy rates
- a manageable level of borrowing and repayment arrangements to ensure positive cash flow.
3. The proprietor has relevant arrangements in place to operate an SRS. The department does not assess managers against these criteria. For this assessment, the department considers the following information (and possibly other criteria):
- a suitable lease that evidences the right to occupy premises and does not contain onerous or unworkable conditions
- a proposed staff roster that complies with legislation for minimum staffing levels and qualifications, and ensures residents’ needs are met in a timely manner
- proposed documentation that complies with all relevant legislative requirements.
4. The proprietor (and manager and any director or other officer of an incorporated body proprietor) is otherwise a suitable person to carry on, exercise control over or manage an SRS. For this assessment, the department considers the following information:
- a criminal record check (no more than six months old) that does not show convictions for assault or sexual offences. The department assesses other recorded convictions on a case-by-case basis and in light of the circumstances
- the proprietor/director’s financial statement, health statement, charges and convictions statement, and professional standards statement. If issues arise from these statements, the department considers them on a case-by-case basis and in light of the person’s circumstances.
Examination to determine suitability
A prospective proprietor/director has to demonstrate the relevant knowledge needed to operate an SRS. To do so, they need to sit an examination of their understanding of the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Act 2010 and the Supported Residential Services (Private Proprietors) Regulations 2012. The exam also tests how applicants would deal with the practical issues of operating an SRS.
People take the written, open-book examination at the department office at 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. The examination takes approximately 90 minutes and includes multiple-choice and short answer questions.
Two authorised officers score the examination and discuss answers with the prospective proprietor/director. The prospective proprietor/director thus has a chance to expand on the written answers if they do not sufficiently address the key points.
The pass mark is 80 per cent. The department considers the examination result when determining whether the proposed proprietor has the relevant skills and knowledge to operate an SRS.