Strata Industry Professionalism – Associations and Professionals Working Together

As an industry emerges, organises and professionalises, it is natural for associations of professionals in those industries to emerge.

Those professionals have shared interests such as sharing information, accrediting training and education standards, and advocating for the industry as a whole to decision makers like government, regulators, and other bodies.

In the strata industry, SCA is the leading association for strata professionals, and the professionalism of the members has developed hand-in-hand with the professionalism of its industry body.

Association professionalism

To give some outside perspective on association and member professionalism, and how they grow together, we asked Michael Bell, Senior Advisor at Associations Forum, the peak body for associations in Australia, three questions.

Q1. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about associations, in your experience?

Associations come under the broader category of Not-forProfits which is a misnomer. Due to this characterisation a common misconception is that they should not make a profit. To be able to not only survive, but to prosper for the benefit of the purposes for which they have been established, associations need to make a profit. This profit allows the building up of reserves that provides security and opportunities for further investments to benefit its members and the industry or profession.

Q2. What are the Top 3 things any association can do to improve its performance for its members in relation to ethical practice?

  1. Having clearly defined ethical practices for its members that are positively acknowledged by each member when joining the association. These should be reinforced through consistent communication.
  2. Ensure that you have a robust complaints management process and enforceable disciplinary procedures in place for when they are required.
  3. Let the sector know when individuals have failed in their professional ethics. Provide the details so that others understand that the association takes ethics seriously.

Q3. What advice do you have for an emerging industry association actively embarking on a journey to try to improve the industry’s overall professionalism?

There is a need to reinforce standards regularly with the members whether through communications activities such as articles in a journal, magazine, or emails, or running webinars or training programmes to assist your members in understanding the standards that they are expected to hold.

Member professionalism

The strata industry’s journey to greater professionalism has many factors, often each reliant on multiple parties.

Within a Deakin Business School White Paper1 recommendation it identified that SCA should pursue a co-regulation model where state and territory governments require strata managers to be registered, maintain a minimum level of professional indemnity insurance, meet entry level education qualifications, and maintain annual continuing professional development. In return for this government recognition and base level protection for consumers, SCA and other government approved bodies (if any) should be appointed to provide entry level education courses and ongoing CPD courses.

Through pursuing the registration of SCA as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to deliver official qualifications, SCA can advocate to government and regulators for minimum education standards in the industry, reaching a whole level of professionalism across the industry.

As more and more people live in strata each year in Australia, and governments turn to solutions for higher density living, people living in apartments need to have the trust that their lifestyle and their assets are under trusted and professional management, and SCA is working hard with the whole strata industry to make that a reality.

  1. Dr N Johnston, M Teys, F Michaux, L Simpson, Pathways to Professionalism for the Strata Management Industry, Deakin Business School, Deakin University ↩︎

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