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16 Oct 2019

Compass Aligning Strategic Planning with Agenda 2030

Compass Housing Services (Compass) has been a leading advocate for the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region. As an organiser of two international conferences and as participants in key events such as WUF9 and PUF5 Compass has seen how both the NUA and the SDGs can influence a wide range of agencies in government, business and the not-for-profit sectors to work towards the achievement of more equitable and sustainable communities. This has resulted in a major internal drive to align Compass activities fully with the SDGs.

As a provider of social housing, Compass encounters the impact of poverty, inequality and environmental crisis on a daily basis. Many housing clients face the struggle of poverty and the challenges of a warming environment in which extreme weather events have become more common. Aligning Compass' planning and strategic development to mitigate these issues for our clients has become part of its core business activity through an ethical framework of People, Place and Performance established in 2014.

Compass' engagement with the SDGs has promoted a full review of that framework and an audit of Compass' contribution to SDG achievement. That process began with an internal review of the final year of the current 2017-2020 Strategic Plan. An internal workgroup benchmarked activities against the 17 Global Goals and identified where Compass contributed to their achievement. Following this exercise, Compass engaged external consultants to verify its internal work and for the first time, the 2019 Annual Report will include an assessment of the organistion's performance against the SDGs. Most importantly Compass is now commencing the process to develop a 2020-30 Strategic Plan which is fully aligned to the SDGs and will commit the organisation to contribute to their achievement. This will inform Compass' daily business practices and the way they engage with clients and stakeholders. Where Compass is unable to make a direct difference, they will be leading advocates for Agenda 2030 and promote its adoption by government, the business community and other not-for-profit organisations. This will also result in Compass' ethical framework also including Planet as a core reference point to judge actions against.

The review has focused on the role of responsible procurement practices, not only for the organisation but especially for government and the public sector. While the business community has engaged with ‘sustainable procurement’ through activities of the Global Compact there has been less commitment by the government. As an organisation with multiple government contracts, Compass is aware of how a powerful influence could be achieved through ‘social procurement’. A leading example of this is the passing of The Wellbeing of Future Generation Act 2016 by the Welsh Government in the UK. This commits all public bodies to consider their impact on long-term environmental and social justice objectives. The Act appointed a Future Generation Commissioner to oversee compliance, and procurement practice has been one area of focus to date.

The practice of social procurement by the government has an extended reach. Government at all levels engage in complex supply chains providing opportunities to influence both ‘no poverty’ objectives and decarbonisation objectives. Local government procurement reaches deep into local communities. Effective legislation can create a chain of practice that also informs and empowers independent organisations to promote similar social objectives in its suppliers. In this way, a social procurement framework can promote significant cultural change that reaches deep into business and community practice.

Article by Professor Dave Adamson, OBE

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10 Oct 2019


The NSW Government and 10 community housing providers today celebrated the successful management transition of some 14,000 tenancies over the past 12 months, including the delivery of private rental assistance, to the community housing sector.

The Thank You event at NSW Parliament was to thank Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ, formerly FACS) and Land and Housing Corporation (LAHC) staff for a seamless transition and successful partnership under the Social Housing Management Transfer (SHMT) program.

It was co-hosted by the NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward MP and Bridge Housing, with representatives from all the providers, as well as DCJ and LAHC staff,
and the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA NSW) in attendance.

Nine providers won competitive tenders to manage housing portfolios across Sydney and NSW for the next 20 years. The program was completed when Hume Community Housing assumed tenancy management of the Maitland/Port Stephens area in early September.

Speaking at the event, Minister Ward said: “What we’re celebrating today is the successful implementation of the management transfers program which resulted in the transfer of approximately 14,000 properties to community housing management.” Having had a look at the experiences of other jurisdictions, not just in this country but around the world, who have done this, it is commendable the way in which staff have gone about this transfer
and the smooth transition that has occurred. You are to be commended for your passion, your dedication to helping vulnerable people and to making this transfer work.”

Bridge Housing CEO John Nicolades said: “This program represents the biggest single transition of social housingtenancies ever to the community sector anywhere in Australia. It has built the capacity of housing providers to operate at scale and enabled many more residents to experience the high customer service standards enjoyed by community housing tenants.”
“On behalf of all the providers who’ve participated in this ground-breaking program, I thank the Minister and NSW Government for investing in our well-established, well-regulated sector to house some of the most vulnerable people in the State.”

The community housing providers managing public housing under the SHMT program are:

Learn more about the program. https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/housing/living/management-transferprogram

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12 Sep 2019


The team at Compass Housing congratulates ProCare on winning the 2019 Hunter Business Chamber Award for Excellence in Social Enterprise.

Compass Housing was the sponsor of this award for the first time.

ProCare is a community based, not for profit charitable organisation that provides a range of mental health services that support individuals, couples, families, children, and organisations to help people realise a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. Its expert team of specialists include psychiatrists, registered psychologists, accredited counsellors, child specialists, workplace trainers, and mediation professionals.

On behalf of ProCare’s clinicians, staff, volunteers, and patients of, spokesperson Nick Sovechles thanked Compass Housing for sponsoring the award.

“It was a terrific night, and an honour to be recognised for the hard work of our team,” Mr Sovechles said. 

“We take tremendous pride in the work we have done to retain high quality mental health professionals, and are very positive about the future prospects,” he said. 

The Hunter Business Chamber Awards are the peak accolade for businesses and organisations based in the NSW Hunter region and heralded as the largest regional business chamber awards in Australia. This year more than 100 finalists competed for 17 awards. The award was presented by Compass Housing Group Managing Director Greg Budworth at a gala ceremony in Newcastle on August 23.

Mr Budworth congratulated ProCare and the other finalists – Allambi Care, Hunter Brain Injury respite Options Inc. I am Here, and Samaritans Foundation.

“Compass too is a social enterprise and, as part of giving back to our community, we thought it important to support other social enterprises by sponsoring this award,” Mr Budworth said.

There are an estimated 20,000 social enterprises in Australia, operating in a wide range of industries, including health and social assistance, transport and storage, manufacturing, accommodation and food services.

ProCare will now go on to the statewide NSW Business Chamber Awards to be held in Sydney on November 22.

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14 Aug 2019

Compass supports Hunter Homeless Connect Day

Compass has again thrown its support behind an initiative to help those in the Hunter region experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

A record 1300 people guests attended the region’s annual Hunter Homeless Connect Day (HHCD) at the Newcastle Showground Exhibition Centre.

Compass Housing’s Michelle Faithfull acted as co-ordinator for the event again this year. Compass Housing has tenant support staff on hand as well representatives from its Grow A Star program and Shout Out Mental Health program at the event.

Compass was one of a record 125 government and non-government services and 50 volunteers working together to provide support and information to people in a welcoming and non-judgmental environment.

Free services included health checks, eye tests and glasses, hearing tests, immunisations, podiatry services and diabetes screening. Blankets, coats and toiletry packs donated by Hunter residents and businesses were also available to those in need.

This was the event’s ten-year anniversary. The theme was “I am homeless, but I’m also… (human)”.  As well as providing services to many who are doing it tough, the focus of HHCD is to provide an inclusive, non-judgmental environment where people can find support, practical help, to feel heard and to experience what many of us take for granted.

Hunter Homeless Connect Day is convened by the not-for-profit organisation, Hunter Homeless Connect Inc. For more information visit the Hunter Homeless Connect Day Facebook page or www.hunterhomelessconnect.org

In addition to its support of Hunter Homeless Connect Day, Compass also provides secretariat support to the Hunter’s Big Ideas Homelessness Network.

Homelessness statistics

  • 189,400 Australian households are waiting for social housing.
  • 28,000 Australians between 12-25 years old are experiencing homelessness every night.
  • A survey conducted by volunteers at the 2018 HHCD event revealed that for the third straight year, women outnumbered men among those seeking assistance. The 40-54 age group (combined) represented the largest number of attendees.
  • The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 116,42 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000. 1,750 of those were experiencing homelessness in the Hunter region.


What can people do to help people experiencing homelessness?

  • Help change the language and attitudes. People experience homelessness, they aren’t “homeless”. Homelessness is not an identity. It's an event in a person's life – with a cause and a solution.
  • Volunteer for or donate to an organisation that is working to eliminate homelessness.
  • Provide training or work experience for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
  • Take the Newcastle & Hunter Ending Homelessness Pledge at the Hunter’s Big Ideas Homelessness Network’s website – www.bigideashomelessnessnetwork.org


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09 Aug 2019

Compass wins four 2019 Australian Business Awards (ABA100)

Compass Housing has won four ABA100 2019 Australian Business Awards.

Compass has been recognized in these categories.

Last year (2018) Compass was also an ABA100 winner in four categories

  • Employer of Choice
  • Business Excellence
  • Community Contribution
  • Business Innovation.

These awards are on the back of Compass being named as a finalist in four categories in the upcoming Hunter Business Chamber Awards.   

Group Managing Director Greg Budworth said it is an honour to be recognised against other high caliber organisations in these awards.

He said Compass’ accolades are a credit to the dedicated team of people who work for the organisation.

“To meet our continued growth, we are focused on enabling our new and existing staff to build skills, take on challenges and experience success,” Mr Budworth said.

“That means we are Investing in training and development with a particular focus on induction of new staff and building leaders,” he said.

“To be recognised as an employer of choice is satisfying because we strive to create a workplace where people can grow and succeed while providing our tenants with affordable housing and building sustainable communities.”

The Australian Business Awards are an annual all-encompassing awards program which recognises organisations that demonstrate the core values of business innovation, product innovation, technological achievement and employee engagement via a set of comprehensive award categories.

Compass Housing is an international community housing provider, based in Newcastle NSW, with a proven track record of managing a wide range of tenancies under a variety of housing programs.


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