Deciding to investigate

Registrars have in place a formal assessment of complaints process; see NRSCH Complaints Management policy and AGIS 2011.

Decisions to initiate an investigation are formally documented and are not taken lightly by Registrars. They are guided by:

  • a complaints assessment summary of the allegations including the information reviewed, the history of the provider, and, if relevant, the functional impact on the tenant experience if allegations are found to be true
  • Political or public sensitivities
  • Registrar’s investigative and overall priorities
  • State/Territory Legislative requirements
  • risks associated with the probable outcome of continued noncompliance, including the effect on agency programs and reputation
  • experience of similar cases or case law – especially across other jurisdictions
  • the effect of any other relevant advice
  • whether an investigation by the Registrar would create a conflict of interest if undertaken by the Registrar and/or investigative staff
  • whether or not another investigative body is better placed to conduct the investigation – remotely, in parallel or jointly with the Registrar’s Office.

Investigation reports

Investigation reports are to be concise and include:

  • key findings – including judgements against allegations and whether enforcement action appears warranted
  • recommendations – usually related to the level of ongoing monitoring required, and/or the merits of the types of enforcement action relevant to any noncompliance identified
  • scope – including details of investigating officers, the directed shape of the investigation and any adjustments made during the investigation (this may include an explicit statement of matters that sit outside the scope of the investigation)
  • evidence considered
  • analysis; and
  • any relevant attachments.

Deciding to close

Once initiated, an investigation can only be closed on the provision of an investigation report by the investigator. This policy requirement mitigates any sense of capture or pressure on the investigative process.

Decisions to close investigations (and any subsequent enforcement decision) are to be formally captured, made visible to affected parties, and subject to disclosure. Closure should include an assessment of allegations against a balance of probabilities of whether they are proven, unsubstantiated, warranting further investigation, or not warranting further investigation. In addition, the investigation may find on other issues impacting compliance with National Law uncovered during the investigation and assess the level of proportional harm (by tenant and/or by organisational viability) and potential remedial actions for consideration by the Registrar.

Enforcement decisions arising from investigations are subject to the NRSCH Manage Enforcement Action Policy provisions.

Case closure meetings establish information disclosure processes relevant to the investigation. This includes how and in what form the investigation findings are put to the Provider. In addition, complainant/s should be notified of the closure of the investigation. Closure case meetings should also discuss and agree broader information sharing avenues including to: other Registrars; other pertinent enforcement/regulatory bodies; funding managers; shareholders; public statements; and Ministers.

Roles and responsibilities

The main roles and responsibilities for the implementation of this policy are as follows:

  • Registrars of each participating jurisdiction will initiate and close investigations. Registrars are to brief the nature and scope of investigations to funding managers, other Registrars and other investigative bodies as appropriate.
  • Senior staff in the Registrar’s Office (regulation managers) will act as case managers for investigations – ensuring: the Registrar is kept informed; there is appropriate planning and guidance for investigators; that investigative staff are appropriately skilled and duly appointed under State/Territory arrangements; investigative probity; coordination with other investigative bodies; and quality assurance of findings.
  • Experience officers in the Registrar’s Office will be investigators for the case and be responsible for: preparation, conduct and closure of case; adherence to best practice procedures and the principles of regulation noted above; forming judgments based on the balance of probability; and providing an investigations report to close the case.

Sharing investigators

Registrars can provide investigation trained staff to support other Registrar’s investigations on a formal request for support and if investigative resources are available. In such cases, inter-state investigators will be considered members of the office of the requesting Registrar for the conduct of that investigation. Such arrangements may be subject to cost-recovery between states/territories.

Review rights

The conduct of an investigation should allow all parties to voice their views on issues relating to noncompliance through an objective medium.

However, there may be occasions where affected parties (including the provider) disagree with findings of an investigation or believe the investigation did not accord with the principles noted under Section 6 above. In such circumstances, the affected party can seek internal review by request in writing to the primary Registrar. Where concerns are complex, the primary Registrar may seek the review services of another Registrar to review the investigation or another objective source.

Monitoring and evaluation

To assist national consistency, Registrars will brief other participating Registrars on the broad nature of ongoing investigations and any resulting enforcement action. In addition, Registrars will brief other Registrars on closure and lessons learnt from investigations. Investigations may be used to inform compliance assessment processes. Trends may be reported by Registrars in public reports and directly with Peaks and Funding bodies.

NRSCH policies will be reviewed regularly and updated as required. Following any reviews and approval this policy will be uploaded to the NRSCH website and all previous versions archived.

Legislation and compliance

  • Community Housing Providers National Law( the National Law)
  • Australian Government Investigations Standards (AGIS), 2011
Last updated:

07 Jul 2022

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We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the ongoing connection Aboriginal people have to this land and recognise Aboriginal people as the original custodians of this land.

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