The New South Wales Strata Sector is now leading the way for the Property Industry with the highest form of consumer protection regulation approved by the Government to commence 1 July 2021.
Over the past years, Strata Community Association (NSW) and the NSW Government have been working in partnership to strengthen consumer protection and restore consumer confidence.
The NSW Government under the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson, has approved a Professional Standards Scheme. This formal recognition by the NSW Government is first of its kind for the property services sector in Australia and an exciting time as members of the SCA (NSW).
The scheme has been approved for an initial period of 5 years commencing from 1st July 2021. This approval means Strata Manager members of SCA (NSW) must adhere to a Code of Ethics including professional standards and is monitored by Professional Standards Australia.
At the forefront of this scheme is a further commitment to consumers to ensure high professional standards across the strata industry in NSW. This is in line with various other initiatives across NSW, including the NSW Government plan to rebuild the construction sector and restore confidence and professionalism.
The Professional Standards Scheme will bring to our clients a range of benefits, including:
- The SCA (NSW) will oversee and self-regulate the conduct of all members within a structured professional framework.
- In addition to our internal complaints handling process, the Professional Standards Scheme brings a further robust and independent complaints handling process, ensuring clients can be assured of an independent review and response.
- An increase in Continual Professional Development (CPD) requirements for Strata Managers and Licensee’s in Charge, ensuring the industry remains up to date, educated and aware of their on-going responsibilities to the consumer.
To help you understand what a Professional Standards Scheme is and how it will benefit you, SCA (NSW) has put together a list of useful frequently asked questions:
What is a Professional Standards Scheme (PSS)?
A Professional Standards Scheme (PSS) is a legal instrument that binds associations, such as SCA (NSW), to monitor, enforce and improve the professional standards of their members and protect consumers.
At its core, a PSS exists to help consumers, as well as governments and professionals, to distinguish between the genuinely professional and the growing field of people who are simply claiming to be professional.
Every PSS in Australia, of which there are 15, is overseen by the Professional Standards Councils, which is an independent statutory body that approves, monitors and enforces Professional Standards Schemes under three pillars:
- Protect consumers
- Improve professional standards
- Help associations
To protect consumers the Professional Standards Council expect associations within their regulated communities to ensure their members uphold these standards through education and guidance, monitoring and enforcement, and other measures. This plays an important role in protecting consumers.
Who will the SCA (NSW) PSS apply to?
The landmark SCA (NSW) Professional Standards Scheme will mandate that all SCA (NSW) members must meet enhanced Professional Standards, as well as abide by a Code of Ethics.
It will apply to strata management companies and individual strata managers who are members of SCA (NSW) and provide strata management services to consumers who own or live in strata title properties domiciled in New South Wales.
How does the SCA (NSW) PSS benefit consumers?
For the first time, consumers in New South Wales will have access to a formal complaint and disciplinary system under this ground-breaking new scheme.
Strata managers and strata management companies under the scheme will be required to uphold the professional standards through ongoing education and other measures to ensure you and other consumers feel confident in the advice and service you receive.
Under the SCA (NSW) Professional Standards Scheme, SCA (NSW) members will be bound:
- By a Code of Ethics that compels them to act honestly, ethically and with a duty of care to their clients,
- To comply with a formal complaints and discipline regime in the event they receive a consumer or industry participant complaint,
- To comply with a continuous education regime that is double the current requirement of a strata manager licence or certificate under Fair Trading,
- To meet certain practice standards in day-to-day operations, and
- To agree to regular auditing to ensure compliance with the Code of Ethics.
SCA (NSW) is also obliged to report to Professional Standards Australia on member activity and adherence to the SCA (NSW) Professional Standards Scheme.
Together, all these requirements support and uplift consumer protections.