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Compass Housing Services (Compass) is one of Australia’s largest non-government social housing providers with over 35 years experience in providing secure and affordable housing, as well as delivering housing products for disadvantaged people who have difficulties sourcing adequate housing.
Compass provides tenancy and/or property management for over 6500 properties in New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand. In addition, Compass manages the tenancy of 103 Disability Group Homes in Sydney, Northern NSW, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, New England, Southern NSW and the Central West, delivering high-quality disability respite and accommodation services. As part of Home4Life, and through the Hunter Residences project we are providing 69 purpose built SDA houses to transition 345 residents out of institutions.
These homes are High Physical Support and spread across a vast geographical area, with care support being delivered by a range of experienced Supported Independent Living providers – Cerebral Palsy Alliance, The Disability Trust, New Horizons, Northcott, Westhaven and Disability Services Australia.
Compass is an enterprising and socially committed not-for-profit organisation that undertakes all aspects of tenancy and property management, including allocations and wait-list management and have extensive experience in providing tailored tenancy services and tenant development initiatives.
Compass specialises in managing the specific needs of our residents, cultural groups and housing programs. Our housing assistance services provide opportunities for participatory management and constructive links with community development.
As a geographically dispersed organisation, Compass has worked hard to contribute to our local communities and neighbourhoods through a number of ongoing programs and individual projects.
Compass manages social housing in a similar manner to state government provided social housing, with operations regulated by the national community housing performance based registration system. Compass is registered under the National Community Housing Regulatory System (NCHRS) as a Tier 1 provider, and holds a full certificate of accreditation under the National Community Housing Standards.
Residents with a Disability
Overall Tenant Satisfaction
Properties Under Management
Compass Housing Services was established in 1985, as Newmacq Community Housing Company Ltd. It was originally funded to manage 92 tenancies in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas.
From 1992 to 2003 Newmacq grew from 132 properties under management to 506 and was one of the first twenty NSW community housing providers to be designated ‘growth association’ under the 1996 Community Housing Strategy.
Renamed Compass Housing Services
The major expansion of Newmacq in around 2001, took the business into new geographic. By June 2005 Newmacq managed properties in neighbouring Port Stephens, Cessnock and Maitland council areas though the focus remained on the core original areas of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and led to the renaming of the organisation in 2007 to Compass Housing Services Co Ltd.
Nation Building Economic Stimulus Plan
After receiving 241 properties in the Hunter and Central Coast during Stage 1, Compass was successful in the second stage of the Nation Building Economic Plan in 2010, winning three packages in the Hunter, Newcastle and Gosford regions, totalling 787 properties.
Mergers with other community housing tenancy schemes in recent years have also contributed to Compass’ growth.
- Upper Hunter Tenancy Scheme in early 2007
- Broken Hill CTS in April 2008
- Coastal Community Tenancy Scheme in April 2010
- Western Plains Housing Scheme in September 2010, and
- 4walls Ltd in August 2014.
Compass was one of the first NSW Community Tenancy Scheme organisations to diversify into providing affordable housing with the delivery of Building Better Cities during the late 1990s.
In 2012 Compass established My Place Property as a separate business unit to directly manage the affordable housing portfolio, with its own distinct branding.
My Place Property manages affordable housing tenancies, and also liaises with developers and investors for projects part-funded under the National Rental Affordability Scheme.
In July 2014 Compass merged with 4Walls, a Queensland community housing provider, managing around 900 properties across a diverse housing portfolio.
- That all people have appropriate and affordable shelter and are engaged in sustainable communities.
- PROVIDING HOMES Housing is where we started, the heart of our work. We take pride in our tenancy and asset management services. Access to adequate housing is a universal human right. But what we do is more than housing—its about people, the lives they live, the community they live in and providing a place they call ‘home’.
- EMPOWERING PEOPLE We aim to optimize the potential of the people who live in our properties. We support their dreams and aspirations, giving them opportunities to grow and become who they want to be.
- CONNECTING COMMUNITIES Communities are created through a shared sense of belonging and connectedness. Connected communities care about and support the wellbeing of the people who live in them. Our endeavours assist in connecting communities
- INFLUENCING THE FUTURE We have an active role to play in influencing the future of housing and sustainable communities. We act to support our clients and influence others to achieve a better future. We look for sustainability, in business and in the environment. We measure our success in the impact we leave on the environment and how well we support our clients to determine their own future.
- COMMUNITY Community is at the heart of our work: local communities, national communities, world communities. We work to leave a lasting legacy in creating connected communities.
- RESPECT We work from a deep respect, for each other, our clients, our partners, the community and, as we also acknowledge that our purposes are more important than our own organisational success, a deep respect for our colleagues and partners in this field.
- EMPOWER We work to empower each other and empower those we work with.
- ASPIRE We aspire to do our best. We support our clients to find and achieve their aspirations.
- TRANSFORM Our work transforms lives, communities and generations and contributes to transforming our world.
- EFFECT Our work effects change and makes a difference. We are continually looking for ways to improve our work practice and positively effect our environment, our communities and our clients futures.
Our Client Service Charter provides for exceptional standards of service, the expectations of the organisation upon its staff in fulfilling their duties and adhering to our company values in relation to client service provision.
CLICK HERE to view our full Client Service Charter
Compass will treat our service users, partners, and stakeholders with empathy, respect, cooperativeness and diligence.
This Client Service Charter guides Compass’ commitment with our clients. We value our clients and have introduced this charter as an expression of our firm commitment to providing a high standard of service, providing greater detail of Compass’ values and ensuring consistency and sustainability in service delivery.
Compass actively pursues the highest level of service standards in the provision of housing to our clients. Our services are administered in accordance with Compass’ policies and procedures. We monitor and review our performance consistent with our commitment to the continuous improvement of the service we provide.
It is the expectation that all managers and staff will actively pursue the consistent provision of a high calibre of client service to our clients and excel in this area.
- Compass staff will give respect to all inquirers and clients and approach each enquiry with diligence, courtesy and empathy. Compass staff will demonstrate fair, ethical and professional behaviour with their dealings with inquirers and clients.
- Compass staff will display objectivity and unbiased attitudes in their decision making with our clients, and will provide reasons for any decision we make Compass staff will be positive and helpful to our inquirers and clients, and will endeavour to provide accurate advice, and answer inquiries in a timely manner.
- Compass staff will ensure to respect our clients privacy and confidentiality.
- Compass staff are entitled to and can expect to be similarly treated and will reserve the right to disengage with any inquirer or client who is excessively harsh, accusative, belligerent or hostile.
- All managers and staff are required to be strong on demanding a high degree of client service from their colleagues and pursue excellence in the area of client service provision.
- Treating our staff and contractors honestly, fairly and with courtesy is an obligation under your tenancy agreement. Being mindful that we are required to administer policy within our guidelines, as well as those set by Housing NSW Telling us if your personal circumstances change at any time so that we can keep your personal information accurate, complete and up-to-date. Allowing reasonable access to your home for staff and contractors when inspections or maintenance is scheduled.
- Abiding by the Complaints and Appeals procedures in bringing such matters to our attention for review and action.
- Endeavouring firstly to contact the proper Compass office or officer that relates to your inquiry/ies, if known.
- Any inquirer, who contacts any Compass office or Compass staff member, by phone or in person, will be offered the appropriate assistance so their inquiry is dealt with at the office called. Staff are to ensure one of the following procedures is followed;
a. message recorded and forwarded to the relevant personnel;
b. an appointment scheduled
c. only in extreme cases should the inquirer be given another number or told to go to another office, unless they have previously been made aware
- An inquirer will be given a choice as to whether or not they choose to leave a message, have their phone call returned or otherwise dealt with by the receiver to the best of their ability. Inquirers or clients, who arrive without an appointment, will be encouraged to do so in future for the provision of good service. In the instance the subject staff member is unavailable an appointment should be made for them and, if practicable, close to their time of arrival, rather than the inquirer having to return on a later date.
- Left messages will be returned by the relevant staff member on the day they were left. If that is impractical, the next working day.
- All staff will be responsible to ensure that during any planned periods of absence over one working day, that their desk and mobile phone messages and automatic email responses state the period of absence and what an inquirer can do to further their inquiry.
- Supervising and facility managers will ensure that office messages are checked during periods of extended absence.
- All clients being tenants/residents will be offered a contact person who handles general inquiries and triaging issues or a specific housing manager and any changes to that arrangement should be notified to the tenants/residents at the first practicable opportunity.
- All staff will be diligent to provide excellent client service to all clients and comply with all laws, contracts, policies, procedures, guidelines and other relevant obligations to the best of their ability.
- The benchmarks of the complaints and appeals system are to be encouraged and strictly adhered to.
- All departmental and branch staff meetings will have a permanent agenda item – ‘Excellence in Client Service’ and promote continuous improvement in this area.
- If you find you are dissatisfied with the service we have provided, we encourage and appreciate your feedback. It helps us to know when we haven’t met the service standards and protocols outline in our Client Service Charter.
- Your feedback, and any compliment’s or complaints, provide us with an opportunity to improve our service to you – and it’s nice to know when you think we have done a great job.
- Consistent with our commitment to continual improvement, we will review our Client Service Charter annually. We encourage input and feedback on the charter from our clients, staff and other key stakeholders.
Concern for the environment and promoting a broader sustainability agenda are integral to Compass Housing’s professional activities, the management of our properties and the organisation overall. We aim to follow and to promote good sustainability practice to reduce the environmental impacts of all our activities and to help our clients, stakeholders, partners and the wider community to do the same.
Compass is a Member of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Sustainability Advantage Program. And is committed to strengthen its environmental performance through collaboration with OEH. The Sustainability Advantage Program helps organisations understand sustainability and strengthen their environmental performance.
The Program is a business support service from the Office of Environment and Heritage.
- For more information on this program - Click Here
Compass has become a Silver Partner status back in 2009 of the Sustainbility Advantage Program, in acknowledgement of our significant environmental achievements. Compass has aspirations to attain Gold partner status in the coming years.
Sustainability Champion Group
Compass' Sustainability Champion Group work towards the provision of leadership, coordination and guidance to Compass for integration of sustainability principles and practices throughout the Compass’' operational activities.
The Sustainability Champion is a staff member or student who is interested in helping to actively reduce the overall environmental impacts of Compass Housing as an organisation.
A key role within the development and success of the Compass’ sustainability strategy, the Sustainability Champion actively supports their work areas in meeting the Compass objectives in relation to carbon management, resource efficiency and waste minimisation.
Compass Housing Services is committed to lowering our resource consumption and increasing efficiencies to increase environmental sustainability. This case study highlights some of the practices we implemented in the workplace that assisted us to achieve Silver Partner status under the Sustainability Advantage program.
- For more information - Click Here
Energy Efficiency in the Workplace
Compass previously participated in Newcastle City Councils, Energy Hunter program which assisted small and medium sized businesses across the Hunter Region to identify, manage, and improve their energy consumption, saving money on their energy costs by becoming more energy efficient.
- For more information on Compass' involvement in the program - View this Video
Energy Efficiency Training for Staff
Back in 2012 Staff at Compass Housing Services have completed a specialised training program to help tenants increase energy efficiency in their homes. The training program was developed by Compass Housing Services in partnership with TAFE NSW and the NSW Government’s Energy Efficiency Training Program.
- For more information - Click Here
Envirobuild – Compass' Environmental Conscious Build Form
Located in Canton Beach on the NSW Central Coast, Compass’ environmentally sustainable development, the Envirobuild Project, was official opened in April by the The Hon. Robyn Parker MP, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Heritage
The aim of the project was to construct an affordable residential dwelling, utilising sustainable and environmentally friendly products, which are readily available in the marketplace. Original concept designs for Envirobuild were supplied by Newcastle University School of Architecture 4th year students via a scholarship prize funded by Compass. Amendments and improvements to the concept designs have evolved from 2009 to 2013, with great assistance of Jeff Bottrill from Bodesign. The DA approved plans were put to out tender and awarded in May 2013.
Product inclusions of the build included LED lighting, Coolmax Colorbond roofing, steel framing, natural wool insulation, low VOC paints, and PV. The project also utilised cross ventilation principles, removing the need to install air conditioning for cooling in warmer months.
The Envirobuild properties were constructed as part of our acquisitions program through leverage of the properties Compass received title to under the Commonwealth Nation Building Economic Stimulus Program.
Our Constitution sets out the basis on which Compass was formed, how Compass operates and how Compass is managed.
- Compass Housing Services Constitution - Download PDF
CLICK HERE to view our Board Charter
Compass' Main Board Charter establishes the guidelines within which the Directors and officers are to operate as they carry out their respective roles. The purpose of the charter is to document the policies upon which the board has decided to meet its legal and other responsibilities.