We conducted our 2022 sector survey in May, following the completion of the 2020–21 annual compliance and performance assessment cycle in order to:
- understand the views of registered agencies
- inform our self-assessment of our performance as a regulator
- identify continuous improvement opportunities to enhance the regulatory system and reduce regulatory red tape
- identify emerging risks to support risk-based regulation that promotes tenant outcomes.
The survey was sent to 42 registered agencies1 and included 11 questions across five key areas:
- engagement with the Housing Registrar team
- process of annual compliance assessment (or the registration assessment for a newly registered entity)
- benefits of the regulatory system, emerging risks and continuous improvement.
We value the feedback provided by registered agencies as it enables us to identify opportunities for continuous improvement to promote best practice regulation that encourages strong compliance and performance in the sector.
"The Housing Registrar is an impartial and fair regulator that supports best practice in our industry" – registered housing association.
Key results and highlights
- 100% surveys returned across the sector
- 100% indicated that the level of engagement from the Housing Registrar team was appropriate
- 97% agreed the Housing Registrar team demonstrates professionalism
- 95% agreed the Housing Registrar is helpful and responsive
- 87% agreed their governing body understood their role for the compliance assessment process and was actively engaged throughout
- 87% agreed regulatory action plan items are reasonable, targeted and achievable.2
Across the survey responses for 2021–22, we have noted an increase in the number of agencies responding ‘neither agree or disagree’, leading to a reduction in satisfaction results for some measures. This is in part due to new registered agencies or changes in staff for some registered agencies who have indicated that they have not had experience of regulation within those areas.
We will continue to monitor these results and look for ways to improve the survey and understanding of registered agency and staff experience.
Emerging risks identified by registered agencies
In 2022, we asked registered agencies about the emerging risks that they are facing. In response, registered agencies identified the following:
- increasing construction and development costs
- increasing maintenance costs due to aging properties and aging tenants’ higher needs/ new demands
- increasing staffing, data management and compliance costs
- declining income.
We note that these risks predominately relate to the ongoing financial viability of the sector, which will continue to be a focus for us under our Corporate Plan 2022–24. We have identified actions in the plan including strengthening our financial modelling and forecasting capabilities and continuing to review our risk and intelligence tools.
In 2021–22, 87% of respondents agreed that the Housing Registrar’s resources are clear and useful.
Satisfaction with the Housing Registrar’s resources to support registered agencies was lower at 79%, and the proportion of ‘neither agree or disagree’ responses increased from 2019–20. In accordance with our Corporate Plan, we are focused on releasing guidance that promotes compliance, continuous improvement and encourages best practice behaviour in the sector. To do this, we will take into account the suggestions for further guidance provided by survey respondents including registration, asset management and complaints. These topics are a reflection of the growth in agencies applying for registration, the increase in development activity in the sector and our focus on complaints cultures and practice in registered agencies.
Survey respondents also noted that some information and resources are harder to find on our website since its move to a different platform last year. We will consider this feedback when we make any further changes to the site.
In 2021–22, 74% of respondents agreed that we completed 2020–21 annual compliance assessments and communicated outcomes with registered agencies in a reasonable timeframe.
Although the completion of 2020–21 assessments occurred earlier than in previous years (see Better regulation), we note a reduction in satisfaction with timeliness, and associated increase in the number of ‘neither agree or disagree’ responses (18% compared with 5% last year). This may be due to a change in the 2020–21 annual compliance assessment process to publish all reports at the same time rather than individually as they were completed.
The Corporate Plan 2022–24 sets out our intention to further review and streamline the process for completing 2021–22 annual compliance assessments. We also note that legislative changes to bring forward some reporting from registered agencies will see key information submitted earlier and should reduce the timeframes for annual compliance assessment publication.
In 2021–22, 85% of respondents agreed that they understood their complaints management responsibilities and the Housing Registrar’s role under the Act. This marks a decrease from near or at 100% over the past two years and again accompanied by an increase in ‘neither agree or disagree’ responses. This is in part due to new entrants and staff to the sector but may also be an indication of differing levels of contact and experience with the Housing Registrar’s complaints role across the sector.
During 2021–22, we focused on consolidating and documenting our internal complaints processes and improving capture and reporting of complaints data. Our Corporate Plan 2022–24 outlines our plans to continue to review our internal complaints and investigations processes and improve our service delivery times for responding to, finalising, and monitoring complaints. We will also be producing best practice guidance on complaints management in collaboration with key stakeholders in 2022–23.
1. One registered agency that has indicated its intention to merge with another registered agency and seek de-registration in 2022–23 was not sent the survey.
2. Calculated as ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ with the survey statement.