31st October 2023

The Code of Conduct, ARVAS and Anchor Policy – Retirement Living



Anchor Excellence

The Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) is the single-industry accreditation scheme for operators of retirement villages and seniors’ housing. ARVAS is co-owned by two organisations; The Property Council of Australia ACCPA. 

A set of seven Standards was developed to reflect the different elements of a resident’s experience within a retirement village, and the evolving service offering within communities. These include;

Standard 1 – Community Management

Standard 2 – Human Resource Management

Standard 3 – Resident Entry and Exit

Standard 4 – Resident Engagement and Feedback

Standard 5 – Environment, Services and Facilities

Standard 6 – Safety and Security

Standard 7 – Resident Care

The ARVAS Standards are designed to work directly with the Retirement Living Code of Conduct, which is the sector’s self-assessment tool. Currently any operator wishing to apply for accreditation under ARVAS must be an active subscriber to the Retirement Living Code of Conduct. 

To date only around 30% of operators are accredited. After speaking with several operators it would appear this may be due to the aged care reform agenda, competing priorities and lack of resources to embed them into operations effectively.  

To support Retirement Village Operators the Anchor Policy Team have developed  detailed and fit for purpose policies and processes that are aligned with the The Australian Retirement Village Accreditation Scheme (ARVAS) Standards will support operators to create a stable, resident-focused environment. 

These measures ensure compliance with the Retirement Villages Act 1999, safeguards resident rights and well-being as well as;

  • Legal Compliance: Adherence to a strong governance framework ensures compliance regulations governing the sector . 
  • Risk Management: Well-defined policies and processes help identify and mitigate risks, in all aspects of operations
  • Quality of Care: robust governance ensures the delivery of high-quality care when required. Policies and processes guide staff in providing consistent and effective healthcare services. This is directly linked to Standard 7. 
  • Resident Rights: Policies protect the rights and dignity of residents. This includes policies related to privacy, non-discrimination, and resident participation in decision-making. 
  • Resident Feedback and Input: Policies and processes should allow residents to provide feedback and have a say in matters that affect their living environment. This input is invaluable for continuous improvement, a term we know well and use constantly in aged care. 
  • Conflict Resolution: Well-defined processes for conflict resolution help address disputes or grievances among residents or between residents and management in a fair and transparent manner.
  • Staff Training and Development: Policies guide the recruitment, training, and development of staff members, ensuring that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to provide quality services and meet the demands of residents. 
  • Emergency Preparedness: A strong governance framework including plans and processes for emergencies, such as natural disasters or health crises, ensuring the safety of residents at all times
  • Long-Term Planning: Governance and operational frameworks that are underpinned by robust policies and processes support long-term planning, helping the community adapt to changing demographics, preferences, and regulatory requirements.
  • Ethical and Values-Based Operation: Policies and processes should align with the ethical values of the operator, ensuring that decisions and actions are consistent with these principles.
  • Community Reputation: A well-governed and well-managed retirement community with robust policies and processes is more likely to have a positive reputation and satisfied residents