Friday, February 22, 2013

Community Housing Registrar's 'Annual Statement of Performance'

The NSW Registrar of Community Housing has recently published its 'Annual Statement of Performance 2012' (ASOP). This document provides a useful account of the state of Community Housing in New South Wales, through analysis of providers' recent engagement and compliance with the Regulatory Code for Community Housing Providers.


We welcome this publication, and look forward to trawling its many pages for information. The ASOP also gives a clear insight into the regulatory approach taken by the Registrar. It will be a useful reference for anyone wanting to raise a concern about the conduct of a Community Housing Provider that is operating within NSW.

But the ASOP highlights a failing within the regulatory system: the regulator finds itself in ongoing dialogue with Community Housing Providers, but is not set up to engage directly with tenants. Tenants may raise issues through a complaints mechanism, and these may or may not have some bearing on the work that the regulator will undertake from there. But on the whole, tenant voices are not a strong feature of community housing as we see it through the prism of regulation.

This is a shame, because the true value of our community housing system - and one of the best reasons we can think of for keeping an eye on its landlords - is in its ability to make a difference to tenants.

Download the ASOP in PDF, here.

6 comments:

  1. I guess that this regulatory body does just that- regulates, it is not a complaints mechanism but throws up anomolies in the community sector. My worry is that they may become too cosy, too sympathetic to the organisations, as they say, they work closely with organisations. Who regulates the regulator?
    As I have pointed out before and on my blog http://tenantslament-ameli.blogspot.com the community housing organisations I have worked with are far from self regulating, and in some cases a law unto themselves; with tenants suffering both financially and otherwise. So what are the mechanisms to stop them being so. I am not entirely certain, in fact I very much doubt that the softly softly approach exercised by the regulator, all things considered, is anywhere near enough.

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    1. There are a few such mechanisms, Ameli. The Community Housing Division has a page on its website devoted to 'explaining' them all.

      http://www.housing.nsw.gov.au/Community+Housing+Division/Living+in+Community+Housing/Complaints+Issues+and+Appeals.htm

      As you can see, it's anything but straightforward...

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  2. And, the regulator gets to see only that which the organisation wishes them to see. The powerless are often trod underfoot and do not necessarily have a voice. As the regulator has pointed out, there is an informal approach to complaints and no actual complaints procedure, hence no records. Great if the tenant is robust and articulate in their own affairs but otherwise not.
    A random selection of tenant interviews would help. But not those chosen by the organisation.
    By the by: How many millions are being spent on regulation when really the community sector has been told for years what they should be doing? HNSW has given away millions of dollars worth of property to the community and co-operative sector and has little control over what happens to the poor tenants- this is why the softly softly approach will not work, unfortunately paper tigers do not scare anyone. Ask any community housing board.

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    1. You might be surprised, Ameli, at just how brittle some of these organisations are. Nobody likes to be told they're doing a bad job, right? Especially by a regulator who is otherwise usually smiling at them - and especially when it could mean a disruption to funding or other support from Government.

      But we agree. Talking to tenants directly would a fair way to gain insight into how a community housing provider is doing on certain regulatory indicators.

      Cheers,
      N.C.

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  3. And there lies the problem 'Nobody likes to be told they're doing a bad job..' and so they get on the defensive and refuse to see that they are quite wrong. Pity the poor tenant who comes across an organisation that does not like to be told they are wrong as these are the most difficult to deal with. Tenants do not need people who cannot accept responsibility for their actions. Tenants need well trained mature adults who do accept that they can learn better ways.

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  4. The Tenants should be well trained mature adults. That IS THE TRUE FAILURE guys. Where is the promotion of an individuals SELF EFFICACY ? The providers are bound by ASIC now to my understanding. NC to advise. THEY LOVE to look at business practices IN THE REAL WORLD. Welcome to commercial laws, actual performance indicators for real business activities ... social worker attitudinal ignorance need not apply. Aint nothing fluffy about ASIC. I hear you can attend business courses nowadays if you want to run copious dollars of grants and assets.
    Has anyone actually read the KPIs that ngo housing have to meet ... once upon a time in fluffy furry land you should tap your tenants on the head and give them all kindly wink BUT feel free to make up your own flag of sovereign rules. When in doubt ... ASIC is the new golden key !

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