An Industry-Led Code of Conduct

Industry-led voluntary Code of Conducts form self-regulation and sets standards for how an industry deals with its members and customers.1 Among consumers, members, and the general public, there can sometimes be misconceptions, or even a general lack of understanding about what a Code of Conduct is, what it does, how it operates, what are some of the types of complaints, and how SCA’s Code of Conduct is upheld.

So what is a Code of Conduct, and what does SCA’s look like?

There are significant benefits to implementing and running an effective industry Code of Conduct. An industry body that has a Code of Conduct can improve industry transparency, consumer confidence, quality and compliance if the Code is effective.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) encourages an industry to develop a Code of Conduct that help members meet the requirements of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and must be enforced.

Below are factors to be considered by industry:

• Purpose and objectives of the code, and how they’ll be measured

• Whether an industry-led code is a suitable way to achieve goals

• Who and what the code will cover

• Oversight by a code administration committee

• Costs and funding to establish and administer the code

• Collection of data to track how effective the code is

• Penalties or other consequences that will apply when members don’t follow the code.

SCA’s Code of Conduct is run in line with the best practice for an industry body Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct sets out the standards of ethical and professional practice for SCA members, and it means that when a strata manager, strata management firm, or a strata supplier displays the SCA logo as a member, that they are subject to the requirements of the Code, including potential punitive actions such as warnings, suspensions, and expulsion for not following the Code.

So what happens when there is a complaint?

In line with Code of Conduct best practice, SCA investigates complaints which may come from other industry members, a Strata Committee, or an individual owner, under the Code of Conduct in three stages:

• Lodging a complaint

• Investigation of the complaint

• Analysis, findings and disciplinary action.

Complaint investigation is carried out by an advisory group who report to and make recommendations to the SCA Australasia Board, the Professional Standards and Membership Board Advisory Group (PSMBAG).

With a composition of senior members and procedures, the PSMBAG has the experience and expertise to make recommendations, as well as being able to excuse members in case of a conflict of interest to still make impartial judgments.

What type of complaints does SCA receive?

SCA receives complaints about almost anything that is covered under the professionalism and ethics of the Code of Conduct itself. That can range from complaints about compliance with legislation and regulation, general behaviour and undertaking business practices that are not in line with best practice.

Resolving a Code of Conduct complaint

SCA takes all complaints very seriously, as dealing with potential violations of the Code of Conduct and producing a positive resolution is critical to trust and confidence in the industry.

All complaints end with a resolution, and if that resolution requires an action to be undertaken, the resolution falls into five main categories:

• Education

• Best practices adherence

• Warnings

• Suspension

• Expulsion

In many cases, SCA recommends that the member undertake more education, or refresh their knowledge of and adherence to best practices and the relevant legislation and regulations that apply to their case.

When the complaint is sustained, and is more serious, SCA issues warnings, suspension and the most serious, expulsion from being a member of SCA.

The SCA Code of Conduct – good for the strata industry and good for consumers

With so many of the lots under management in Australia (especially in larger schemes) being managed by SCA members, the Code of Conduct has the ability to deliver trust and confidence, while raising standards amongst the SCA membership.

It is a key value pillar of SCA membership if you are a strata manager or own a strata management firm, and it is a sign that you are a consumer employing a strata manager who meets an industry-backed level of quality, underpinned by a rigorous Code of Conduct.

  1. Industry-led codes, ACCC, ↩︎

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