Annual compliance assessments

In Victoria, all registered agencies undergo annual assessments irrespective of size and scale to assess compliance with performance standards and the Act.

This approach is intended to promote earlier identification and more effective monitoring and mitigation of harms, and increased capacity building in the sector through continuous improvement.

The possible compliance outcomes for each performance standard are:

  • met – the registered agency has demonstrated that it complies with the performance standard
  • capacity to meet – the registered agency has demonstrated that it mostly meets the performance standard with some identified areas for improvement
  • did not meet – the registered agency did not demonstrate that it meets the performance standard with a number of areas identified for improvement
  • N/A – the performance standard is not applicable to the registered agency. This occurs in instances such as newly registered agencies that are in construction phases and not yet delivering rental housing services. For these registered agencies, Performance Standard 1 Tenant and housing services, Performance Standard 2 Housing assets and Performance Standard 3 Community engagement would not apply.

In addition to compliance against performance standards, registered agencies are also annually assessed against continuous improvement criteria, which includes achievement and continuous improvement against KPMs and other measures contained in the registered agency’s annual business plan.

Annual compliance assessment outcomes 2020‑21

In the 2020‑21 reporting year, the sector continued to perform well overall and was assessed as having a high level of compliance with the Act and performance standards.

Of the 40 registered agencies in 2020‑21:

  • Thirty-eight (95%) were assessed as meeting or having a capacity to meet compliance with all performance standards.
  • Thirty-one (77.5%) were assessed as meeting all performance standards.
  • Two are not yet delivering housing services and received a N/A result for Tenant and housing services, Housing assets, and Community engagement.

The following table sets out the overall results against each performance standard for 2020-21:

Performance standard Met Capacity to meet Did not meet N/A
Tenant and housing services 34 4 0 2
Housing assets 37 1 0 2
Community engagement 38 0 0 2
Governance 35 4 1 0
Probity 40 0 0 0
Management 35 3 2 0
Financial viability 40 0 0 0

Further detail of individual registered agency outcomes is in Appendix 1.

In recent years, the number of registered agencies assessed as ‘did not meet’ and ‘capacity to meet’ against certain performance standards has increased. This trend can be partly attributed to a more rigorous and targeted regulatory approach (as part of the Registrar’s 2020-22 Corporate Plan), rather than a decrease in compliance across the sector. In 2020‑21, the Registrar was focused on ensuring that registered agencies have appropriate management and governance structures and policies and procedures to support delivery of housing services to ensure good tenant outcomes.

For most registered agencies that received a ‘capacity to meet’ assessment, the issues identified were limited to one aspect of a performance standard, for example, complaints management. The two registered agencies assessed as not meeting certain performance standards are subject to close regulatory engagement to drive improvement and to identify if further regulatory intervention may be required.

Where a 'capacity to meet' or ‘did not meet’ was identified, regulatory action items have been included in the registered agency's regulatory action plan which will continue to be monitored and assessed by the Registrar. Similarly, continuous improvement opportunities identified during annual compliance assessments are also reflected in regulatory action plans.

The following tables summarises outcomes of compliance assessments for the past three years:

2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Number of registered agencies annual compliance assessments conducted 39 38 40
Number of registered agencies assessed as compliant with or having capacity to meet all performance standards 39
Number of registered agencies assessed as meeting all applicable performance standards 38
Number of registered agencies assessed as not meeting at least one performance standard 0 1

Regulatory action items

The Registrar assigns regulatory action items where compliance, performance and continuous improvement opportunities are identified. A registered agency’s regulatory action plan is comprised of regulatory action items that the Registrar monitors and assesses for progress on an ongoing basis.

A regulatory action plan may be developed in response to:

  • an annual compliance assessment
  • a registration
  • ongoing monitoring activities including notifications from a registered agency of an event that may impact its ability to meet performance standards (reportable event)
  • a complaint referred to the Registrar which may include investigation or inspection.

The Registrar takes a proportionate, risk‑based and outcomes‑focused approach to regulatory engagement with each registered agency. Regulatory action items are assigned to registered agencies in response to identified non‑compliance and continuous improvement opportunities.

This approach promotes earlier identification of risks, harms and continuous improvement opportunities, which can be progressed cooperatively with registered agencies without the use of intervention powers in most cases.

The table below summarises the key areas identified for improvement for 2020-21:

Performance standard Regulatory action items from annual compliance assessments Regulatory action items from new registrations
Tenant and housing services 23 4
Housing assets 4 2
Community engagement 1 0
Governance 14 15
Probity 6 0
Management 9 2
Financial viability 2 4
Total 59 27

The 59 regulatory action items assigned in annual compliance assessments in 2020‑21 was less than half of the 124 regulatory action items assigned in 2019-20. This reflects the Registrar’s more targeted approach, focusing on priority risks and continuous improvement opportunities.

Thirteen regulatory action items relate to improvements in complaints management under Performance Standard 1 Tenant and housing services. The focus of these action items is ensuring that complaints systems are operating efficiently and are supported by positive complaints cultures. This includes ensuring complaints policies are accessible, providing clear avenues for appeals and referrals, and assisting and encouraging tenants and prospective tenants to make complaints to improve services.

Complaints management continues to be a key area of compliance focus for the Registrar. In addition to monitoring resolution of individual complaints, the Registrar monitors that information and feedback received by registered agencies from complaints is being used to improve practices. Further information about complaints management is included in the Complaints KPM section.

The 27 regulatory action items arising from new registrations in 2020‑21 are focused on the establishment and provision of information relating to governance and risk management for newly registered agencies. This includes providing final approved versions of policies, risk registers and board terms of reference, making tenant policies readily available through a website and reporting on progress of construction of new developments.