- Department of Treasury and Finance
- 27 June 2022
On 30 March 2022, amendments to the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (the Act) came into effect introducing new reporting changes for registered agencies, including an additional certification requirement for governing bodies.
Section 105(4) requires that the board of directors must certify the report setting out the registered agency’s ‘performance against performance standards’ (the report). The board’s certification must occur prior to submitting the report to the Housing Registrar by 31 October each year under section 105(1)(a).
Registered agencies should have sufficient governance arrangements in place, including reporting and risk management systems, to enable the board to certify the report prior to submission to the Housing Registrar. This approach is consistent with principles of good governance.
What do I need to do?
What is certification?
The board of a registered agency is expected to have effective oversight of the organisation’s performance, compliance, and risk management.
As part of registration requirements under the Act, registered agencies must comply with gazetted performance standards and submit annual reports to the Housing Registrar to facilitate annual compliance assessments.
The report sets out the registered agency’s performance against performance standards giving consideration to any evidentiary requirements in the Evidence Guidelines, and including any relevant information on progress against regulatory action plan items and regulatory intervention.
The board must certify the report prior to submission to the Housing Registrar due 31 October annually as part of the annual compliance assessment.
Certification means that the board is satisfied that the information contained in the report:
- is true and correct to the best of the board’s knowledge (i.e. the report accurately reflects the performance, financial position, and affairs of the registered agency over the compliance year)
- identifies key risks, issues and other material matters that may impact compliance with performance standards
- is supported by evidence which is available for the Housing Registrar upon request. Evidentiary requirements are contained in the Evidence Guidelines.
The report should identify any significant areas of non-compliance with performance standards, including any remedial action taken or planned. This approach is considered an indicator of good governance and will be considered favourably by the Housing Registrar when assessing the performance of registered agencies against Performance Standard 4 Governance, Performance Standard 5 Probity and Performance Standard 6 Management.
In circumstances where significant compliance issues have not been identified in the report, this may raise concerns about the registered agency’s governance, compliance and risk management systems. Some registered agencies may utilise governance structures involving subcommittees with delegated functions from the board, including risk and compliance committees. However, the board must complete the certification itself and this cannot be delegated to a subcommittee.
How and when to submit the certification
Under section 105 of the Act, a registered agency must provide the certified report to the Housing Registrar by 31 October annually.
The Housing Registrar has implemented system changes in the Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES) to reflect the updated legislative requirements. When submitting the report, registered agencies are now required to complete:
- a tick box confirming that the report has been certified by the governing body
- the date of certification
- method of certification (select from list).
Evidence of certification
The Housing Registrar requires evidence of certification as part of annual compliance assessments to demonstrate that a registered agency’s governing body has appropriate oversight of the organisation’s performance. Evidence of certification should be in one of the following forms:
- board minutes evidencing the board’s consideration and certification of the report
- a copy of the report signed by the Chair
- a short letter from the Chair confirming that the governing body has reviewed and certified the report.
Process guidance for completing the report, incorporating the new certification requirement, is outlined below.