Our Regulatory Framework
Our regulatory framework aims to strengthen housing agencies’ capacity to attract, develop and protect capital investment, manage existing housing stock and support and protect vulnerable tenants. The associated document describes the overall regulatory framework, identifying the major components and explaining each in detail.
- Compliance and performance
- Business performance
- Regulatory engagement and escalation
- Complaints management
The regulatory platform is supported by four key objectives, which are to:
- ensure that all housing agencies are viable, well-governed and properly managed;
- protect and ensure accountable use of government assets managed by the affordable housing sector;
- build confidence in the public and private sector to invest in and grow affordable housing; and
- ensure quality and continuous improvement in service delivery and outcomes for tenants.
In meeting these objectives, we abide by our principles of good regulation and code of practice.
The gazetted Performance Standards form the core of our regulatory framework and are the key source to monitor compliance with our regulatory objectives. These in turn are underpinned by Evidence guidelines that set out the performance requirements, indicators and evidence sources used to demonstrate compliance against Performance Standards.
Registration is a process whereby an organisation satisfies the Registrar of Housing Agencies (the Registrar) that it meets all criteria specified within Schedule 7 of Part VIII of the Housing Act 1983 (the Act) to become a registered housing agency.
Registration criteria include:
- general requirements of agencies, such as the form and type of legal entity that can apply to register;
- specific provisions within agency constitutions, such as winding up requirements; and
- demonstrated capacity to meet gazetted Performance Standards applicable to registered housing agencies.
All agencies that wish to manage Director of Housing (DoH) owned rental housing need to register. Historically the DoH has also determined that capital funding for social housing will be targeted to registered agencies, primarily housing associations.
3. Compliance and performance
The regulatory framework is proportionate to risk, scale and performance, and focuses on the whole of an agency’s business. Within this framework, we apply principles of risk-based regulation, applying differing levels of regulation depending on the assessed risk of an agency, and the potential risk impacts.
Agency performance comprises a combination of compliance and continuous improvement. Management and operational performance are assessed against the seven Performance Standards. We review results from agency reporting against key performance measures (KPMs) and copies of relevant documents provided by agencies. We also review agency reports of self-assessment against the Performance Standards and business plan objectives.
Agency compliance is demonstrated through meeting specified legislative obligations and timeframes, meeting or exceeding minimum levels of performance for KPMs and demonstrating sound business practices. Continuous improvement is demonstrated by positive trends in results against KPMs and achievements against business plan objectives and targets.
Our self-assessment approach to regulation relies on trust and co-operation between ourselves and registered agencies. For regulation to work most effectively we need a collaborative approach with registered agencies. A guidance note detailing the critical role placed on agency self-assessment in demonstrating compliance and continuous improvement is available on our website.
4. Business performance
Effective business performance relies on the integration of the agency’s business plan, its governance, management and financial policies and procedures, and its strategies into the future.
The Victorian state government has invested in the growth of affordable housing for disadvantaged Victorians. We must make sure that investment is managed effectively and that affordable housing is available well into the future. It is our role to ensure that registered housing agencies are well-governed, well-managed and financially viable social businesses. On registration an agency must demonstrate it can meet these requirements. Following registration an agency has to demonstrate that it does meet the requirements.
5. Regulatory engagement and escalation
Regulatory engagement is the process by which we monitor agency compliance and performance. We use escalation, if required, to take action in the event of underperformance or failure by an agency to comply.
Any concerns about an agency’s performance may be identified in the annual regulatory review or during other regulatory activities. Issues of a serious and significant nature may require regulatory escalation. This usually applies where we believe an agency is either unwilling or unable to deal with issues in a satisfactory manner.
When further information or action is required to satisfy the Registrar of an agency’s compliance or performance, the following powers are available:
- Investigations - can be undertaken by the Registrar to ascertain whether an agency has complied with regulatory responsibilities;
- Recommendations – can be made by the Registrar to the governing body of an agency for the appointment of one or more persons to the governing body;
- Appointments – some instructions by the Registrar relate specifically to the agency appointing one or more persons to its governing body, or appointing an administrator to control and direct the agency; and
- Instructions – agencies can be given instructions by the Registrar to take specific action such as a merger with, or the transfer of land to, another registered agency.
We follow the Intervention Guidelines that state intervention is a means of last resort.
6. Complaints management
The Act and Performance Standards set out requirements for registered agencies to handle complaints. The Act also establishes the Registrar as an external review body for unresolved complaints of tenants and prospective tenants.
Please click on the individual headings above to go to relevant section or click on the link below to download the entire regulatory framework series document in one PDF.
2016-Regulatory-framework-series-whole.pdf (PDF Size 463kb)