Key things to help you everyday

Determining the effective lifecycle of your assets​

Village managers wear so many hats in their busy and complex roles and one of those hats you’ll be aware of is managing the ‘reactive’ and ‘proactive’ asset management strategies of your villages.

An important part of these strategies is determining the effective lifecycleof various assets from the sink tap to bigger items like the renewal of bowling greens or swimming pool pumps.

This data will feed into village operating budgets and capital expenditure budgets.

At the recent Village Manager Professional Development Workshop days, Village Managers said they spend anything from 30-50% of their day attending to property and asset management activities.

Many Village Managers won’t have building or quantity surveyor qualifications but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ‘proactive’ and have an extensive list of ‘trusted’ professionals they can turn to.

There are also a couple of tools that can help speed up the process of determining effective lifecycles for village assets.

For Village Managers in QLD, the legislative requirement for the completion of an independent review and report by a Quantity Surveyor every five years removes much of the risk of inaccuracy and provides confidence in the decision making around the management of assets.

If this approach isn’t something that’s possible immediately there are options that Village Managers could begin to adopt:

  • Ensure ALL product manuals are easily accessible and referred to regularly.
  • Seek professional help from a trusted cost manager/builder/Quantity Surveyor.
  • Refer to the taxation offices effective life asset list in TR 2019/5 Table A
  • Consider asset management software programs from the simple to operate to detailed ones like TechOne.
  • Seek advice from an experienced colleague


Things to watch

New NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner warns retirement village operators

The new tough-talking Commissioner, Robert Fitzgerald AM warned village operators at the recent Property Council’s NSW Annual Retirement Forum that he would follow in the footsteps of the Royal Commission’s territory and crackdown on abuse in people’s homes, including retirement villages.

Commissioner Fitzgerald told village operators that they will be expected to produce any documents, from emails to Post It notes, and provide access to any premises to show their commitment to ending abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly in the community.

 Appointed to the new role on 1st July 2019, Mr Fitzgerald will have wide-ranging powers to conduct investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect.  He made it absolutely clear that he will use his powers to end elder abuse.

  • “Unless values are lived, they will falter.” 
  • “If incentives are not aligned with those values, the incentives will win, and abuse will occur.”
  • “Misconduct will happen because of failures of leadership and culture.  You show us we can trust you.”

Mr Fitzgerald gave examples of what would constitute abuse, including the case of a retirement village resident who was told by an electrician he had been warned by the Village Manager that she was a troublemaker – an act he termed psychological abuse.

He told the audience, “To believe this is a lilywhite industry is ridiculous!”


What the research tells us

DCM Institute and LASA align to support Village Managers with career progression

The DCM Village Manager Professional Development and Peer Network Program is a national program providing access to ongoing professional development and support developed and delivered by industry experts.

Launched in April, the program already has over 180 members.

We encourage LASA members to join the program which we are proud to announce is endorsed by LASA and participants will receive recognition of prior learning (RPL) directly into LASA’s Diploma of Leadership & Management conducted through LASA’s registered training institute –

For more information contact:

LASA: Paul Murphy,
DCM Institute: Judy Martin,


Latest industry developments

Regional Meet Victoria – September 3rd 7.45am​

At the last Regional Meet in Victoria in June attendees were able to be a part of specific discussion groups for retirement living, community care and residential care.

In these groups they were able to share insights, trends and knowledge to support each other.

Next Tuesday, at Village Baxter, another breakfast will be held with guest speaker Andy Price (pictured, left) providing insightful information in his capacity as Director for Victoria and Tasmania, Complaints Operations, in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. 

Register for the meet at


Key things to help you everyday

Characteristics that make for a good Village Manager​

Who doesn’t want to be the best Village Manager and yet when it comes to recruitment, it’s business acumen that’s considered important, mostly to fulfil the ‘operator compliance requirements’

However, village residents see those skills a little differently, and Resident Association Presidents have shared the characteristics they feel make a great Village Manager – the so-called ‘soft skills.’

  • Honesty and has a sense of humour
  • A genuine listener who takes an interest in the community
  • Consultative and able to understand every resident is different
  • Transparent and follows up on issues
  • An influencer for the good of the village

Many of these characteristics are based around good communication strategies, not ones put in place by marketing teams, it’s about you the Village Manager ensuring effective communication is a priority.

A smile costs you nothing. Add in empathy and it will go a long way to building trust and long-term relationships within your village.

I have often had to remind myself of the importance of stepping back from the busy day to day reporting, compliance and paperwork and take time out in my day to reach out and build great relationships.

Many of us will have been attracted to the role of Village Manager for the joy of supporting the community and serve residents, therefore for our own job satisfaction we too must ensure we build time into our diaries to make this happen.

If you are part of the VM program you can download the WHS checklist as part of the month-end materials.


Things to watch

Emergency plans revisited

We recently discussed the importance of emergency plans, and that more regulations are being developed across the country.

Again last week in Sydney at the DCM Professional Development Day, we had Kathleen Ng and David McElhone (pictured below) from the leading law firm MinterEllison run through new NSW regulations coming our way.

They had these points on the slide above that we thought was a good reminder of the minimum steps that need to be taken while you are doing a full review of emergency strategies and procedures.

Note the ‘once a year’ for safety inspections and evacuation exercise. Have you done yours?


Latest industry developments

Good news: Aveo to be purchased by Canadian investment fund at $1.3B

Yesterday Aveo announced agreement to be purchased by the huge Canadian investment fund Brookfield. This is good news for retirement village operators – and managers.

There are many reasons.

It is a $1.3 billion vote of confidence in retirement villages by a conservative investor that is looking at the long-term health of retirement villages. This gives all operators – and regulators – confidence.

Brookfield would only buy it if it believed it can add value to their investment. They will do this by reinvesting in older villages, making them suitable to the more demanding new customers (i.e. baby boomers).

This is great for existing residents, plus the local communities where the money will be spent with local suppliers.

Brookfield will also invest in quality staff – which means training and reward for professionalism. Village managers will be in demand and a career path will evolve.

Brookfield will also want to make sure village homes sell fast and at a good price. They have the money and they will invest in marketing. All retirement villages will benefit.

It will take 12 to 24 months for all this to roll out, but it is ‘good news’.


Key things to help you everyday

Safe work responsibilities: are you aware? Are they on your team meeting agenda?

Key learning: Village Managers have significant responsibilities and accountabilities for safe work practices.

Last week in Sydney we had Colleen Harris, who is the Metropolitan Chief Inspector for Worksafe NSW, give a presentation on the responsibility of Village Managers – and operators – to provide a safe working environment (Colleen pictured below inset).

You will have a reasonable understanding of the responsibilities as an employer of workers, but you also have some responsibilities for contractors and others visiting or doing work in the village.

This is a serious subject. As the slide at the top shows, in NSW for example, Worksafe inspectors have more ‘power’ than the police when they enter a workplace to demand information etc.

This list gives you a taste of your obligations as a front-line manager:

  •     The need for WHS to be discussed on a regular basis with staff and sub-contractors
  •       Ongoing review of safe work practices
  •       The requirements for Standard Operating Procedures for operation of plant
  •       Provide safe systems of work particularly in relation to heights, plant and chemicals
  •       The storing and use of chemicals
  •       The need for protective personal equipment
  •       Induction of staff, contractors and volunteers
  •       Regular instruction, training and supervision to do their work in a way that is safe and without risk to theirs or others health

Remember, at times the common areas, staff offices, bowling green, and even residents’ homes may be considered a workplace by an inspector in the event of a workplace incident.

This month, August, as part of the DCM Institute Village Management Professional Development Program, we cover Legislation in each state.

If you are part of the VM program you can download the WHS checklist as part of the month-end materials.


Key things to help you everyday

138 village managers signed up to the DCM professional development program. Round Two of State PD days start next week

We are very proud and appreciative that 138 Village Managers nationally have signed up to our professional development program since April.

They are all now expanding their village management skills and earning points in their career development, plus equipping themselves for the requirements of the retirement village Code of Conduct that comes into effect 1 January.

With LASA now recognising the DCM Institute PD training program, each module completed can count towards a LASA’s Diploma of Leadership and Management.

The Retirement Living Council also backs the program.

The next round of professional development days commences in Brisbane next Monday 5th, Sydney Wednesday 7th and Melbourne Friday 9th.  Adelaide and Perth the following week.

You can join any time for this ongoing professional development program. The investment is $1850 for 12 months with attractive discounts for bulk registrations.

Check the website details HERE.


Reporting Results

Wondering why getting respite is so tough – check the Royal Commission

An aged care respite bed makes a loss of $67.47 per day.

This was a testimony in yesterday’s Royal Commission inquiry by Darren Midgley, CEO of the not-for-profit Chaffey Aged Care home in Mildura.

He said that respite care residents are charged a daily care fee of $51.21per day plus Medicare make a payment of $86.54.

The net result is aged care homes cannot afford to provide respite – which many of your residents may be keen to get to give a partner a break from caring, or for a resident transitioning out of hospital.

The impact on villages, and village management, is that you are likely to have residents at home who should be receiving a higher level of care.

Our advice: further build your relationship with local aged care homes you know and have confidence in so that you can be an advocate for your residents in their time of need.