Raising Professional Standards

When we start talking about professional standards in professions, mature professions that have well ingrained professional standards likely spring to mind first. Think teacher registration, medical licensing and practice certificates to practice law. We take these professional standards for granted, but as newer professions such as strata management and supply has emerged, new pathways for accreditation, education and recognition need to be forged.

Professional standards are more than just licensing or registration. Many of us would be familiar with the Certified Practicing Accountant Program (CPA) for accountants. The program is not mandatory like licensing is for the professionals already listed but carries with it such a strong reputation and weight that consumers place their faith in accountants with the certification. It vastly increases their advantage over other individual accountants and rival firms who do not have the certification and improves the reputation and standards of the sector as a whole.

Becoming an SCA Member is reputation enhancing already based on the commitment to adhere to an agreed code of ethics or conduct and, depending on the jurisdiction, obtaining minimum levels of qualification and experience. But the goal for SCA and the strata industry is to raise these existing standards further, with more consistent membership benefits, registration and education.

The wide remit of SCA, at a national and state level, to bring together strata communities allows for a broader membership base than other professionals. SCA works hard to extend membership to not only strata businesses and managers but service providers, lot owners and professionals engaged in strata work such as accountants, lawyers and surveyors. The broad membership base presents an opportunity to educate across multiple industries and enhance advocacy efforts.

With a membership base of 5,000 individual and corporate members within an industry that directly employs nearly 10,000 strata management specialists, SCA has a significant opportunity to raise the profile and standards of the strata sector. That improvement will have a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of so many within a sector where one in five Australians live in a strata-titled complex, that manages billions of dollars in sinking fund balances and where there is more than $1.1 trillion of strata-titled property within Australia.

Improved education and accreditation present a strong path forward for SCA Members and the strata sector in the short and medium term as they simultaneously improve reputation and recognition within the industry and with all of its stakeholders. Programs and qualifications that aim to emulate the recognition of the CPA are a must, and through efforts to apply education nationally and consistently.

The dual roles of a National Education Manager and a National Policy Manager that have been recently established by SCA National dovetail the experience necessary to continue this push with relevant government bodies and stakeholders.

Accreditation for Strata Community Managers

SCA is committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism in the strata sector and providing our members with the opportunity to continually develop their skills and knowledge. The Accreditation Program provides nationally and internationally recognised professional qualifications for strata community managers so nominated by a Corporate Strata Manager Member. Consumers demand it and strata managers, in order to remain up-to-date and competitive, need to have it.

SCA Accreditation provides a means to identify SCA Managers who have submitted themselves to a code of conduct and undertake continuing professional development, therefore creating security, trust, professionalism and recognition. The program enables SCA Managers to gain professional recognition, and thereby a competitive advantage, which can enhance their business, and help build a long-term career. Consequently, accreditation works to raise strata industry standards overall. Specifically, the SCA Accreditation helps ensure SCA Managers that they:

• ​Are aware of relevant and current legislation 

• Follow the specific requirements of legislation 

• Adhere to best practice 

• Adopt current procedures 

• Commit to clerical excellence, and 

• Continually enhance their managerial and meeting chairmanship skills.

Certification of Strata Management Firms

SCA has developed a Strata Management Practice Standard (SMPS), which is offered to SCA members as an opportunity to further their professional standing in the strata management industry. This standard provides a framework for a business to improve their performance by specifying repeatable steps that the business can consciously implement to achieve goals and objectives. Additionally, the business can create a culture that engages in a continuous cycle of self-evaluation, correction and improvement of operations and processes through heightened employee awareness and management leadership and commitment.

The benefits of include:

• Improved risk management and protection of people and the business environment 

• Increased capability to deliver consistent and improved services, thereby increasing value to customers and stakeholders 

• More efficient use of resources and improved financial management of strata community accounts.

If you want more information about the SCA National’s push to improve professional standards across Australia, please contact SCA National CEO, Alisha Fisher, admin@strata.community.

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