21st November 2023

Thought Piece – Advisory Bodies in Aged Care



Anchor Excellence

Many aged care organisations are working on their readiness for Governance reforms. The creation of Advisory bodies is particularly topical as this is the first time they have been regulated as part of the Governance system in a funded program. The Anchor Excellence team boasts 5 Aged Care Certified Chairs through a robust and best practice approach led by Louise Broekman of the Advisory Board Centre board.

One of the big issues I am seeing is organisations trying to grapple with how an advisory body is different to that of a board subcommittee. YET they sit as part of the Governance system but Advisory bodies are not decision making forums.

They typically work to help:

  • Risk identification
  • Suggest Improvements/ Identify opportunities for Innovation
  • Be available to Governing bodies and management to help suggest improvements or identify opportunities for innovation
  • They may be asked for critical review or problem solving (strategic or tactical)
  • They often act as a sounding board
  • Give feedback on specific requests or
  • Help enable best practice stakeholder engagement

Here’s a few thoughts on how a Committees is different to an Advisory body:


Decision-Making Authority:

  • Committees often have decision-making power within an organization. They are tasked with making decisions, setting policies, or overseeing specific functions.
  • Committees are typically responsible for implementing actions or policies based on their discussions and decisions.

Formal Structure:

  • Committees may follow specific rules or procedures outlined in the organisation’s bylaws or governing documents.

Members’ Obligations:

  • Committee members often have a more significant obligation to actively participate in meetings, discussions, and decision-making processes.

Advisory Body

Advisory Role:

  • Advisory bodies exist to provide advice, recommendations, or expertise on specific issues to an organisation or decision-making body (In aged care this is the Governing Body).
  • Advisory bodies do not have the direct authority to make decisions or implement policies. Instead, their input is considered by decision-makers.
  • Informal or Formal Structure:
  • Advisory bodies can be formal or informal. Some organizations establish official advisory bodies with specific members and roles, while others may seek advice from external experts on an as-needed basis.

Limited Decision-Making Power:

  • Advisory bodies do not have the power to enact policies or decisions. They can only provide guidance and recommendations based on their expertise.

In summary, the primary difference lies in the decision-making authority: committees have the power to make decisions and implement actions, while advisory bodies provide advice and recommendations to assist decision-makers. 

The specific roles and functions of both committees and advisory bodies can vary widely depending on the organization’s structure and purpose.

Reach out today for help in getting the foundations right for the successful deployment of your Quality Care and Consumer Advisory Bodies.

With my colleagues today we have presented over 40 times, the governance changes as well as the foundations for successful advisory bodies. We have crafted a ‘knowledge to action’ package which includes expert coaching and guidance to make sure it is fit for purpose in your organisational situation.

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