Priority 3

Strong partnerships and engagement.

The Housing Registrar is committed to:

  • proactively building high-value and purposeful relationships
  • being visible, open and engaged
  • raising awareness of the regulatory system and the Housing Registrar’s role
  • providing advice and guidance to the community housing sector to support the regulation of registered agencies.

In 2021–22, we have focused on formalising arrangements for our partnerships and engagements so that these are impactful, meaningful, and valuable for all. This includes establishing memoranda of understanding with key partners and setting regular meeting schedules with our stakeholders.

In our Corporate Plan 2020–22, we committed to a range of activities for strong partnerships and engagement. The following table sets out our commitments under the Corporate Plan, and the relevant activities undertaken in 2021–22:

Corporate Plan 2020–22 priorities Delivered in 2021–22 KPIs addressed
Enhance and, where appropriate, formalise information exchange with others (including the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Community Housing Industry Association, National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, Human Services Regulator, and the Victorian Ombudsman).

We have established memoranda of understanding with:

  • Human Services Regulator
  • Homes Victoria
  • National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation.
2, 5, 6
Strengthen connections with key stakeholders such as community organisations and tenant advocates to understand community perspectives and inform our work priorities. Established regular meetings with tenant advocates. 2,5
Deepen our understanding of the businesses of registered agencies and their operational environments to promote better risk management and continuous improvement In October 2021, regulatory analysts conducted phone interviews with each registered agency to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business, any issues or risks that had arisen, and to monitor preparedness measures. 2, 3
We included a new question in our 2022 sector survey asking registered agencies about emerging risks they face in a changing economic, growth and reform environment. We also conducted the survey electronically for the first time to improve access and ease of use for respondents. 3, 4, 5

2021–22 projects KPIs addressed
Identify options to improve understanding of tenant experiences and opportunities for continuous improvement.

This has been reprioritised, given the overlap in scope with the Social Housing Regulation Review.

We have taken up opportunities to understand more about tenant experiences including facilitating a panel discussion on Tenant Voice at the 2021 Housing Registrar forum. The panel included a tenant from HousingFirst and two tenant board members from SouthEast Housing Cooperative.

2, 4, 5
Continue to work with stakeholders across the social housing sector to improve transparency and community understanding of the sector. We participated in joint project work with Homes Victoria, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, and CHIA Vic to bring together information on community and public housing. 2, 5
We consulted with CHIA Vic on changes to the template for the 2020–21 Performance Report, resulting in separate reporting of turnaround time for rooming house properties. This also addressed feedback from the 2021 sector survey. 3, 5

Contributing to reviews and investigations

We have actively engaged with both the Social Housing Regulation Review and the Victorian Ombudsman throughout 2021–22.

The Victorian Government commissioned an independent Social Housing Regulation Review to identify future regulatory arrangements that will best support the long-term interests of social housing residents and their communities. It also aimed to best position social (and affordable) housing for growth and transformation over the coming decades. We worked closely with the Social Housing Regulation Review providing inputs, evidence and interviews to inform the review’s understanding of community housing and to consider options for future regulatory arrangements.

The Victorian Ombudsman has conducted an own motion investigation into complaints processes in the social housing sector. We actively engaged with the Ombudsman and provided extensive evidence and interviews to inform the investigation.

We welcome the opportunity to be part of, and to contribute to, an improved Victorian regulatory system.

Connecting across the sector

In September 2021, we held our Housing Registrar forum. We were pleased to hear from registered housing association Housing Choices Australia (HCA) about its work to embed tenants in the planning and delivery of housing services. HCA has been progressing its Resident Theory of Change work through development of a Resident Voice Strategy.

Following the forum presentation, HCA met with CHIA Vic and other registered housing associations Common Equity Housing Limited, Aboriginal Housing Victoria and Unison Housing to collaborate on the development of a Resident Voice Practice Framework for the sector. A sector work plan has been developed and funding for the project approved by Homes Victoria under the Sector Development Fund.