- Department of Treasury and Finance
- 6 July 2022
I am pleased to present the 2022–24 Corporate Plan.
The plan sets out our strategic priorities to deliver regulation of the Victorian community housing sector (the sector) under Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) that encourages growth, strong sector performance and continuous improvement, and responds proportionally to emerging risks and harms.
Our aim is to provide best practice regulation that provides an accountable, transparent, and outcomes-focused service for tenants and prospective tenants delivered through our priorities of:
- organisational excellence through continuous improvement of our internal capability, systems, and processes
- better regulation that is agile and responds to the policy and operating environment and that draws upon lessons in other jurisdictions
- strong partnerships and engagement with our valued stakeholders.
We place tenant outcomes at the forefront of our regulatory approach and must ensure that registered agencies are doing the same. For this reason, each year we assess every registered agency in Victoria irrespective of size and scale to identify continuous improvement opportunities and to monitor tenant satisfaction and other performance measures.
In this plan, we continue to focus on reform activities that improve efficiency, accountability, and transparency to increase community and market confidence. We publicly report on compliance and performance information to promote trust and confidence and to support informed decision making.
We will continue to embrace Aboriginal cultural safety in our organisation and look for opportunities to increase our knowledge and understanding. The Housing Registrar strongly supports a social housing system that provides affordable and appropriate housing for Aboriginal Victorians in a way that is culturally safe and understands their connection to land, culture and family networks. We look forward to continuing to work with Homes Victoria and the Department of Treasury and Finance to deliver the Aboriginal Housing Round of the Big Housing Build, including through the registration of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs).
We must achieve these goals in a changing economic, growth and reform environment, which will continue to impact our regulatory approach.
The Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build will deliver 12,000 new homes in social housing, with 9,000 being delivered by registered housing agencies. This will grow the sector significantly in a relatively short period of time. In this environment, the Housing Registrar must continue its close prudential oversight of the sector to facilitate growth and manage emerging risks, while monitoring the quality of rental housing services and understanding tenant experiences.
The Social Housing Regulation Review delivered its Final Report to Ministers on 31 May 2022, providing a significant reform roadmap for the Victorian social housing system that recognises the fundamental importance of putting tenants at the centre of the system and the sector’s role in delivering housing growth.
We have taken priority reform areas into account when preparing this plan and focusing our resources. Following decisions from government on the future reform options, we welcome the opportunity to be part of, and to contribute to, an improved Victorian regulatory system.
This plan is also set within the broader context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we acknowledge the significant challenges this presents to the sector and the broader Victorian community. We will continue to work in collaboration with Department of Health (DoH), Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and the Community Housing Industry Association Victoria (CHIA Vic) to support registered agencies and tenants and adjust our regulatory approach to the evolving environment.
On behalf of the team, we look forward to working closely with our stakeholders across community housing and the wider community to deliver our shared goals.
Registrar of Housing Agencies
The Housing Registrar
The Registrar of Housing Agencies (the Registrar), supported by the Office of the Housing Registrar (the Housing Registrar), is responsible for regulatory oversight of the community housing sector.
The Registrar is appointed by the Assistant Treasurer, who has portfolio responsibility for Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) (the Act) which establishes the Registrar and the regulatory framework.
The Housing Registrar is located in the Department of Treasury and Finance and supports the Registrar in discharging the duties, functions and powers under the Act.
The key functions of the Registrar are to register, regulate and develop the community housing sector in Victoria. The regulatory framework consists of Part VIII of the Act, gazetted performance standards and the Intervention Guidelines.
Victoria is not currently part of the National Regulatory System for Community Housing (NRSCH). However, we work closely with the NRSCH Primary Registrars and the National Office, including participating in monthly Registrar Group meetings and working groups, to share information and learnings and reduce burden on interstate providers.
We contribute to the development, growth and continuous improvement of the community housing sector through effective regulation. To achieve this, we take an integrated approach to regulation that focuses both on the financial viability of registered agencies and the quality of rental housing services.
We are committed to proportionate and risk-based regulatory engagement to ensure our resources are focused on the greatest risks, harms and continuous improvement opportunities and to reduce the regulatory burden on registered agencies. We are focused on safeguarding and promoting the interests of tenants and prospective tenants who access community housing services provided by registered agencies.
This corporate plan sets out the Housing Registrar’s vision, purpose, principles and priorities for 2022-24.
The sector we regulate
Information about the Victorian community housing sector as at 30 June 2021.
We safeguard and protect the interests of 18,861 tenants who live in homes owned or managed by registered community housing agencies.
The community housing sector
- 40 registered agencies under the Housing Act 1983 employing a total of 1,630 staff
- 96.2% average occupancy rate
- 93.5% of tenant complaints are resolved in 30 days
- $246.4 million of grants attracted (capital grants and operating granting).
- 9,000 new dwellings owned by the community housing sector through the Big Housing Build
- 10% of all net new social dwellings to support Aboriginal housing needs
- $1 billion additional funding from the 2022-23 Budget to deliver up to 6,000 new homes
- 2022 onwards: Consideration of recommendations from the Victorian Social Housing Regulation Review Final Report.
Our strategic framework
The strategic framework of the Housing Registrar.
A well-regulated, growing and sustainable community housing sector that provides access to safe, secure and affordable housing solutions for Victorians.
To enable the development, growth, and continual improvement of the Victorian community housing sector through proactive, transparent, and risk-based regulation that promotes tenant outcomes.
- risk-based and adaptable
- intelligence-led and evidence-based
To ensure the capabilities of the Housing Registrar to meet current and future challenges by enabling a high-performance culture that values and supports our people.
We will promote better regulation by:
- proactively engaging with registered agencies to achieve compliance against Performance Standards
- reducing the regulatory burden across the regulatory system
- facilitating investment in the sector by promoting confidence in performance of the community housing sector
- making the regulatory system and the performance of the community housing sector more transparent
- identifying opportunities for continuous improvement.
Strong partnerships and engagement
We are committed to:
- building high-value and purposeful relationships
- being visible, open and engaged
- raising awareness of the regulatory system and the Housing Registrar’s role
- providing compliance advice and better practice guidance to the community housing sector to support registered housing agencies.
We deliver effective regulation that:
- promotes the growth and continual improvement of the community housing sector
- protects government’s investment for the benefit of tenants, the community and future generations
- delivers safe, secure and affordable housing solutions to Victorians.
Our regulatory environment
The regulatory environment of the Victorian community housing regulated sector.
Tenants at the centre
Our vision is: A well regulated, growing and sustainable community housing regulated sector that provides access to safe, secure and affordable housing solutions for Victorians.
Tenant outcomes are at the centre of our regulatory focus.
We recognise that community housing tenants may not be able to exercise the same choice or ability to switch providers that tenants in the private market do. As such, the Registrar plays a key role to ensure that tenant voices are heard and tenants receive housing services that meet their needs.
The Registrar also has a role in safeguarding the interests of prospective tenants through ensuring the efficient delivery of housing services, facilitating sector growth and supporting the long-term financial viability of the sector to deliver rental housing services now and into the future.
We are committed to regulation that recognises the importance of tenant participation to inform decision-making and ensure that the needs of tenants and prospective tenants are met.
Regulating in a time of change
The sector’s operating environment is in a state of considerable change, primarily driven by the growth and reform initiatives from the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build. The sector is also impacted by the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing economic environment.
The Housing Registrar is alive to the risks and opportunities that this changing environment presents and will organise our resources to be responsive and adaptable.
The Social Housing Regulation Review (SHRR) delivered its Final Report to Ministers on 31 May 2022.
The review was jointly commissioned by the Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Housing to identify future regulatory arrangements that will support the long-term interests of social housing residents and communities, and to position social and affordable housing for growth and transformation in the coming decades. We welcome the opportunity to be part of, and to contribute to, an improved Victorian regulatory system.
As a result of the Big Housing Build, the community housing sector is experiencing a period of significant growth, with 75% of 12,000 new social housing dwellings to be delivered by the community housing sector.
This growth is accompanied by increased debt and changing operational and financial arrangements, and we will continue to monitor these impacts through our regulatory activities.
Aboriginal cultural safety
We operate under Mana-na worn-tyeen maar-takoort – the Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework (the Framework). The Framework was developed by a Steering Committee comprised of senior Aboriginal leaders, sector leaders and senior officers from the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
We support the focus on creating a strong and viable Aboriginal housing and homelessness sector and recognise the role of the Housing Registrar to help achieve this.
The community housing sector, through CHIA Vic, has developed a Community Housing Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework that provides a practical tool to help community housing organisations reflect on their practices and adopt strategies and actions to improve the way they engage with and address the housing needs of Aboriginal Victorians.
The Housing Registrar will continue to prioritise cultural safety within our organisation and is committed to proactively supporting ACCOs to become new registered agencies. We look forward to continuing to drive cultural safety through sector growth, ongoing compliance activities and future reform.
This priority recognises the importance of maintaining a high-performing regulatory function supported by a positive culture that embraces continuous improvement.
The Housing Registrar is comprised of four teams of multidisciplined staff, each overseen by a Regulation Manager to resource our many and diverse activities. These teams are:
- Strategy and Performance – oversees strategic planning, performance monitoring and reporting, and our business systems.
- Registrations and Growth – responsible for registration assessments and supporting sector growth.
- Compliance and Investigations – responsible for our compliance activities, including overseeing complex complaints and conducting investigations.
- Finance – responsible for financial analysis of registered and prospective agencies, sector modelling, and funder engagement.
These four teams were established in 2021 to better focus and utilise our resources for effective regulation throughout the delivery of the Big Housing Build. Responsibility for ongoing regulatory engagement, monitoring and assessment sits across all four teams, with each registered agency assigned a regulatory analyst and a financial analyst.
In this plan we are focused on:
- anticipating future challenges and opportunities and ensuring our workforce is equipped to respond and adapt
- creating efficiencies wherever possible driven by ‘first principles thinking’ to ensure the best use of our limited resources
- making it easier for the sector to engage with us through our systems, compliance and reporting channels, including designing more efficient processes supported by user friendly business systems
- developing our skills and capabilities to continuously improve our regulatory practice.
Organisational excellence will assist us in the delivery of our other priorities and promote an agile approach. This will enable us to respond to emerging risks and future reform and implementation activities following government’s response to the SHRR findings.
In 2022-24, we will focus our resources on increasing efficiency and capability uplift.
- Support the growth of the community housing sector through faster registration assessment and approval timeframes.
- Streamline our internal processes for annual compliance assessments to ensure best use of resources.
- Improve our service delivery times for responding to, finalising, and monitoring complaints.
- Review our internal complaints and investigations processes.
- Engage in communities of practice to identify emerging issues for the community housing sector.
- Develop and implement a data validation strategy to identify issues and drive improvements for registered agency data integrity.
- Strengthen our financial modelling and forecasting capabilities.
This priority recognises our commitment to achieving best practice regulation supported by a culture of continuous improvement.
We embrace feedback opportunities, including annual surveys of our performance, and undertake annual self-assessment exercises, which we publicly report on.
We are dedicated to improving outcomes for tenants and building market confidence in the sector through delivering a range of regulatory activities. In this plan, we have focused on reform that promotes more efficient and targeted compliance activities and encourages best practice behaviours within the sector.
For 2022-24, areas of focus will include:
- Improving registration processes and producing new guidance materials. This will aim to reduce burden on interstate providers. We will drive a risk-based approach to registrations to ensure that future community housing is high quality, safe, accessible, fit for purpose and focused on the best outcomes for tenants.
- Releasing guidance that promotes compliance, continuous improvement and encourages best practice behaviour in the sector.
- Improving compliance activities to make them more targeted and timely. We will achieve this through:
- focusing and enhancing the quality of our intelligence gathering and analysis
- increasing our field-based activities, including conducting thorough and timely visits to investigate more complex complaints.
- Adjusting our regulatory approach to respond to emerging risks, including the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and working closely with the Victorian Government on any coordinated response activities.
In 2022-24, we will focus our resources on tenant outcomes and experience, and leveraging our data and intelligence.
Tenant outcomes and experience
- Focus our compliance and investigation activities on areas of greatest impact for tenants, delivered through an annual risk assessment and compliance plan.
- Increase field-based activities to improve our direct understanding of tenant experiences.
Leveraging our data and intelligence
- Develop a compliance framework to identify and prioritise systemic issues and provide transparency for our regulatory response.
- Utilise complaints intelligence to inform compliance and investigation activities.
- Continue to review our risk and intelligence tools.
- Review and improve our data capture and reporting systems.
Strong partnerships and engagement
This priority recognises the fundamental importance of working in partnership with our valued stakeholders across the social housing system to deliver on our shared goals.
It also recognises the value in proportionate, risk- based and outcomes focused regulatory engagement in delivering the most impact.
Our stakeholders are many and varied, consisting of the three tiers of government, interstate and overseas counterparts, funders, investors, developers, the industry body, advocates, registered agencies, the not-for- profit sector, tenants, prospective tenants and the wider community.
In this plan, we are focused on:
- Building and nurturing relationships with our partners and stakeholders to raise the reputation of the community housing sector and increase understanding of the sector’s performance and value proposition.
- Engaging with other parts of government to ensure effective oversight of the sector while identifying opportunities to reduce regulatory burden for registered agencies.
- Improving our performance reporting to make it more valuable and accessible to tenants, funders, and other stakeholders.
In 2022-24, we will focus our resources on strengthening relationships and our tenant focus.
- Continue to work with stakeholders, including tenant representatives, across the social housing sector to improve transparency and community understanding of the sector.
- Formalise information-sharing arrangements with relevant agencies.
- Formalise engagement with relevant agencies with a specific focus on Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
- Focus our reporting on tenant outcomes.
- Identify options to improve understanding of tenant experiences and opportunities for continuous improvement.
The monitoring of performance against strategic priorities within this corporate plan is fully integrated into our management function.
We measure our performance through a range of methods including satisfaction questionnaires, enhanced data collection and analysis tools, and performance tracking and reporting through the Community Housing Information Management and Engagement System (CHiMES) system.
We report on performance against our strategic priorities in the Housing Registrar’s Regulatory Update Report. This report provides an annual update on the work of the Housing Registrar and its impacts.
When monitoring our performance, we will consider the evolving Victorian regulatory environment and be open and responsive to adjusting our strategic priorities accordingly.