Report on the regulatory framework for hearing services

Precursor to the selection of a reform option

Review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory framework for hearing services July 2012. The Report was prepared for the Office of Hearing Services by MP Consulting

Page last updated: 28 November 2012

By reforming the scheme, it is likely that the policy objectives could continue to be achieved while:

  • improving clarity
  • reducing costs to clients, service providers, device suppliers and government
  • ensuring the regulation meets principles of good practice regulation.

mpconsulting considers that before any reform option is recommended, further work needs to be done to:
  • validate the observations detailed in this report
  • define the risks that need to be managed through regulation
  • identify essential processes and conditions and how these might best be implemented.

It is therefore recommended that:
  • Further consultation be undertaken on: the issues identified in this report in order to validate (or otherwise) the observations made; and the risks that stakeholders consider must be managed through the regulatory scheme.

    mpconsulting is conscious that the review was undertaken within short timeframes and only involved limited consultation with stakeholders and the OHS. It is likely that further areas of attention (that may not be readily apparent based on a desk-based review of the regulation) would be highlighted through more detailed consultation.

  • Having clearly identified the risks intended to be addressed through any regulation, document all of the processes and conditions (i.e. the rules of operation) that exist in the different regulatory documents. For each process or condition, clearly describe:
      - what harm (or risk) the process or condition is designed to address. If it is not clear, the process or condition may not be necessary and requires re-consideration.
        – in relation to processes:
          o identify what pre-market assessment processes are critical for managing risk and what processes can be eliminated with reliance instead on post market audit and monitoring. In particular, the processes relating to the issue of vouchers and the accreditation of service providers should be closely examined
          o identify those post market processes that require notification to, or approval by, the OHS and those that could be eliminated without significantly increasing risk
            o identify the most streamlined way to implement necessary processes (minimising reliance on manual processes)
        – in relation to ongoing obligations/prohibitions (i.e. conditions)
              o consider the necessity of each of the obligations – eliminate overlapping, duplicating and redundant obligations
                o if a condition is necessary to manage risk, consider whether it can be described as an outcome or whether it needs to be described as a prescriptive requirement in order to have the necessary level of regulatory certainty
          – in relation to each remaining process and obligation, consider the most effective way to monitor and enforce that necessary process or obligation. It is likely that not all of the powers currently available to the OHS (in the legislation and contracts) will need to be retained.

        • In parallel with the above, review the schedule of service items and schedule of fees with a view to simplifying the claiming criteria and ensuring that the fees are appropriate.
        • Consultation be undertaken on the documentation described above to ensure that there is a common understanding regarding the purpose of all processes and obligations.
          Once this preliminary work has been undertaken, government will be better placed to determine the most appropriate reform options. Four options have been identified in this report.