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Housing Registrar newsletter - January 2022

Welcome to the January edition of the Housing Registrar Quarterly.

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From the Registrar

Dear valued stakeholder,

I am pleased to present the Housing Registrar’s first quarterly newsletter for 2022. I hope you had a good break over the holiday season following what has been a year of continued challenges, emerging risks and growth opportunities for the sector. There is a lot to do this year, with Victoria’s Big Housing Build, the Review of Social Housing Regulation and delivering the Housing Registrar’s 2020-22 Corporate Plan. As we navigate through this growth and reform environment, we must continue to administer a regulatory system that delivers strong outcomes for current and prospective tenants.

Given these priorities, I will be looking for opportunities to engage further with the sector and key stakeholders this year to identify emerging risks, learnings and opportunities. In November/December 2021, we met with the Scottish Regulator, Ian Brennan, and New Zealand Regulator, Fiona Fitzgerald, to share information and gain valuable insights into their respective journeys. These discussions included exploring mechanisms to capture the tenant voice, building on cultural safety of the regulator and how New Zealand has encouraged a thriving registered Maori housing sector.

This year we will continue to prioritise the finalisation of annual compliance assessments, public reporting of performance data and the registration and regulation of new providers. Construction will commence under the Rapids Grants Round, and the Aboriginal Housing Round and Regional Round will be well under way. We are also anticipating the Social Housing Regulation Review’s final report in May 2022. We look forward to the Review’s findings and recommendations, and the Government’s response. In the meantime, we will continue to deliver our 2020-22 Corporate Plan and against our three priorities of (1) better regulation (2) strong partnerships and engagement and (3) organisational excellence, to promote strong outcomes for tenants and prospective tenants through transparent, proportionate and risk-based regulation that puts tenant outcomes at the center of our regulatory approach.

In November 2021, we released performance reports for registered agencies who provided community housing services in Victoria in the 2020-21 financial year. This milestone was completed four months earlier than the previous year, and within three months of Key Performance Measures reporting being delivered by the sector. This discharged part of the Housing Registrar’s commitment to deliver timely performance and compliance reporting to the sector and make this information more valuable to tenants, registered agencies and other stakeholders, as well as increase investor confidence.

We are currently busy working through annual compliance assessments for the sector. This work is vital for identifying compliance issues and continuous improvement opportunities, and it also facilitates public reporting for each registered agency. The process commenced in November/December 2021 following receipt of the second major tranche of reporting and is expected to be finalised by April 2022. We are aiming to finalise assessments and public reporting earlier in 2022, if possible, however delayed Annual General Meeting dates may impact the timing of some assessments. As part of this process, regulatory engagement meetings will provide an opportunity to discuss compliance outcomes and develop targeted and effective regulatory action plans to identify continuous improvement opportunities.

We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with Homes Victoria and the Department of Treasury and Finance to deliver the Aboriginal Housing Round of the Big Housing Build. This includes working closely with the Aboriginal housing sector to assist Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to fulfil the requirements of the registration process in a timely and culturally safe way. The Housing Registrar team attended tailored cultural safety training on 21 December 2021 that further strengthened the cultural capability of the regulator in engaging with Aboriginal housing providers, tenants and the community.

This edition of the newsletter features updates on:

  • Social Housing Regulation Review
  • New registrations in Victoria
  • Aboriginal Housing Round and cultural safety
  • ACA process and the Performance Report
  • Asset reporting and COVID-19 regulatory reporting requirements
  • Resourcing changes in the Housing Registrar

On behalf of the team, we look forward to working with you in what continues to be a transformative period of exciting growth and development for social housing in Victoria.

Yours sincerely,

David Schreuder
Registrar of Housing Agencies


Social Housing Regulation Review

An independent review of Social Housing Regulation was announced in November 2020 as part of the Victorian Government’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build. The review has been tasked to:

  • examine regulatory oversight
  • consider how the system can support high-quality resident and community outcomes in public, community and affordable housing
  • ensure strong resident outcomes over the long-term
  • examine the case for common regulation for all social housing (public and community)
  • examine the case for Victoria’s participation in the national regulatory scheme.

The review panel is chaired by Professor David Hayward and supported by Dr Heather Holst and Dr David Cousins AM, reporting to the Assistant Treasurer and the Minister for Housing.

The Social Housing Regulation Review has published its interim report. The interim report contains a summary of the panel’s draft recommendations and is open for comment until February 2022.

The Housing Registrar encourages all stakeholders to consider the interim report and provide feedback via the Engage Victoria websiteExternal Link .

The delivery date for the final report is 31 May 2022. This has been extended by two months to allow additional time for consultation, including direct consultation with social housing tenants.

Aboriginal housing round and cultural safety

Strengthening the Victorian Aboriginal housing sector is a priority of the Government’s Big Housing Build program. The Homes for Aboriginal Victorians Round will invite Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to seek funding, which will lead to better housing for Aboriginal Victorians. The Request for Proposal document was released on 21 December 2021 and contains detailed information about the process that interested parties should follow in order to apply for funding. See www.tenders.vic.gov.auExternal Link for more.

10% of dwellings constructed under the Big Housing Build (420 in total) are targeted to be delivered consistent with Aboriginal First Order Principles. These principles include:

  • Aboriginal self-determination
  • Aboriginal land and resources remain in Aboriginal hands
  • mainstream community housing agencies demonstrate their commitment to Aboriginal self-determination and provide culturally safe and responsive services.

All dwellings funded under this round will be owned (or the subject of a long-term lease) and operated by ACCOs that are registered by the Housing Registrar or by community housing organisations in partnership with an ACCO.

The Housing Registrar is working closely with the Aboriginal housing sector to assist ACCOs to fulfil the requirements of the registration process in a timely and culturally safe way.

On 20 December 2021, the Housing Registrar team completed an Aboriginal Cultural Safety Training half-day workshop with Karen Milward (a Yorta Yorta woman).

New registrations in Victoria

In December 2021, the Housing Registrar approved the registration of two new organisations under the Housing Act 1983, Evolve Housing Victoria Limited and MCM Housing Limited.

Evolve Housing Victoria is a wholly owned subsidiary of NSW-based housing provider Evolve Housing Limited. Evolve Housing Victoria plans to develop and operate social and key worker affordable housing.

MCM Housing is a wholly owned subsidiary of Melbourne City Mission (MCM). MCM Housing has been established to provide longer-term affordable housing for young people with wraparound support services provided by MCM.

Annual compliance assessment (ACA) update

We are busy working through the 2020-21 annual compliance assessments. Thank you to those who have submitted reports to date. In August 2021, we advised registered agencies that we have updated our templates for reporting against performance standards and the Financial Performance Report. These changes aim to improve transparency of the Housing Registrar’s assessment processes and improve our data quality for public reporting.

As part of a review of the ACA process, we have made some internal process changes to streamline assessments and to focus on meaningful regulatory engagement with registered agencies. The regulatory engagement meeting will now be an opportunity to discuss compliance outcomes and develop targeted and effective regulatory action plan items.

Compliance assessment results for all registered agencies will be published in CHiMES External Link simultaneously, at the conclusion of the ACA period.

If you have any questions about the annual compliance assessment process or compliance and reporting, please contact your lead regulator.

Performance Reports

In November 2021, we published the 2020-21 Performance Reports for each registered agency. These report on each registered agency’s performance against a selection of Key Performance Measures (KPMs), including a comparison of registered agency performance against its corresponding registration category, either as a housing association or housing provider. The reports can be found on the Public RegisterExternal Link .

This year we have issued Performance Reports significantly earlier, within three months of KPM reporting being received by the Housing Registrar. We have also made Performance Reports easy to find on the Housing Registrar websiteExternal Link (via the Public RegisterExternal Link ). Feedback on the public reporting of compliance and performance information is welcomed by email: housingregistrar@dtf.vic.gov.au.

Regulatory update - COVID-19

To minimise regulatory burden for registered agencies, the Housing Registrar has revised its previously published COVID-19 Guidance Note. The new reportable event requirements under the Housing Act 1983 (Vic) and Performance Standards relating to COVID-19 now include:

  • any significant outbreaks of COVID-19 where transmission has, or is suspected to have, occurred within tenancies under your management or your organisation (at offices, other sites or within your workforce) and action taken (please also report the address of the property and outline factors that increase risk or consequence of the viral spread)
  • the measures implemented to reduce COVID-19 spread in high-density and high-risk accommodation
  • any material impact to your organisation’s financial position, workforce and service delivery.

Registered agencies are responsible for notifying the Housing Registrar as soon as practicable of any reportable event that may impact a registered agency’s capacity to comply with the Act and Performance Standards. Reportable events must be lodged in CHiMESExternal Link .

This Guidance Note was discussed with registered agency contacts through COVID-19 update phone calls in October and November 2021. The updated COVID-19 Guidance Note is available on the Housing Registrar websiteExternal Link .

Regulatory update - asset reporting

On 25 October 2021, the Housing Registrar published a Guidance Note about asset reporting requirements for registered agenciesExternal Link . The Guidance Note sets out the requirements under Schedule 8 of the Housing Act 1983 (the Act) for assets and relevant information to be reported to the Housing Registrar for inclusion in the Register of Housing Agencies.

Broadly, it describes three categories of assets required to be included in a registered agency’s asset register:

  • Owned assets – any land or properties owned by the registered agency, regardless of where they are located.
  • Assets in which the Director of Housing has an interest.
  • Housing services assets – any land or properties at which the registered agency provides housing services to the public.

In accordance with the Act, registered agencies are required to report any changes to their assets within 14 days by updating their asset register in CHiMESExternal Link . The timeliness and accuracy of registered agency updates to asset-related information is considered as part of annual compliance and performance assessments.

If you have any questions about assets required to be included in the asset register, please contact your lead regulator whose contact details are available on your CHiMES homepageExternal Link .

Resourcing changes in the Housing Registrar

The Housing Registrar recently welcomed three new team members:

  • Quan Chau (Regulation Manager - Finance)
  • Dalex Truong (Senior Financial Analyst - Registration and Sector Growth)
  • Nathan Mancini (Senior Financial Analyst)

Introductions from each of the new team members are provided below.

Quan Chau (Regulation Manager - Finance)

Quan holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree and is a member of the CPA Australia. He has previously undertaken various finance related-roles within the Victorian Government. Prior to joining the Housing Registrar, Quan was the finance manager supporting the Consumer Affairs, Gaming, Liquor and Dispute Services group and the Industry Engagement and Enforcement Operation at the Department of Justice and Community Safety. Quan is excited to be part of the Housing Registrar team and looks forward to contributing to the great social outcomes we strive for.

Quan Chau

Dalex Truong (Senior Financial Analyst - Registration and Sector Growth)

Dalex joined the team as a Senior Financial Analyst on 11 October 2021. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant with more than five years accounting and finance experience across external audit and industry. Dalex is excited to help grow the community housing sector and support agencies to deliver best outcomes for tenants.

Dalex Truong

Nathan Mancini (Senior Financial Analyst)

Nathan joins the Housing Registrar as a Senior Financial Analyst, bringing his financial modelling and performance contracting experience to the team, after six years working across the banking and public service sectors. Nathan holds degrees in Accounting, Banking and Finance, and a Masters of Logistics Management and is excited to support the community housing sector.

We also recently farewelled Christopher Carlier (Senior Financial Analyst and Acting Finance Manager) who made a significant contribution during his time with the Housing Registrar. Chris has joined the sector commencing work with Women’s Housing Limited as Financial Controller. We wish him all the best!

Reviewed 05 January 2022

Housing Registrar

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