Scorecard assessor news #1

Contents:

An update on the Scorecard audit program

Since we started Scorecard, you have told us that quality assurance is critical to ensure the reputation, integrity and reliability of Scorecard is maintained at the highest possible level. To this end, we put in place an auditing program and all assessors are audited against the Scorecard Quality Principles.

The findings so far are positive, showing Scorecard assessors understand the importance of providing an excellent service to the public.

Facts and figures so far

Customers completed 47 email surveys and 126 telephone surveys by the end of April 2018.

  • Over 90 per cent of respondents were happy with the process, certificate and assessor, yet less than 80 per cent were happy with the rating of their home. A small number of respondents were expecting to be given more information about how they can improve their rating.
  • Well over 80 per cent of respondents said the assessor arrived on time, did no damage, provided a copy of the signed Privacy Statement and showed photo ID.
  • There was strong to very strong agreement that assessors behaved professionally and in the best interest of their customer, explained the certificate well, answered their questions and provided tailored advice. Overwhelmingly respondents would recommend the Scorecard to others and found it a good use of their time.
  • The most valuable advice received by the respondents was the very practical information about what to change and why, including insulation, gap sealing, lighting and showerheads.
  • 74 per cent of respondents have either taken action already or intend to within the next three months. Of those who stated they would not be taking any action, the most common reasons were the cost and that they were trying to get the landlord to do work. A small number were still waiting for their certificate or further advice from the assessor. The most common actions taken are gap sealing, insulation, upgrading appliances and windows/coverings.

Every accredited assessor has had at least one desktop audit and we have conducted one shadow audit as at the end of June 2018. All assessors are informed of the results of their audit.

  • Three assessors have failed desktop audits, with one being required to re-rate a house, the remaining two assessors received notification of errors and will be audited again soon.
  • Common issues we have identified are missing evidence photos and photos that don’t capture the required information well enough to read (blurry, too tight, too wide or truncated information), data that is populated in a previous zone being carried through subsequent zones when it shouldn’t be, and star ratings of appliances not entered when they are available on the internet.

How do you improve your services?

  • Ensure you explain the Privacy Statement and conflict of interest section, even if you don’t have any conflict.
  • Consider how you can provide additional materials to your customer, whether this is general information about upgrade options, trusted suppliers or behaviour change suggestions. Consider whether the customer could be referred to a low-income assistance program.
  • Ensure you understand what drives the hot weather rating, what is excluded in the rating, and how you explain this to householders.
  • Give a thorough explanation of each element on the certificate. This will give the householder a better understanding of what makes up their overall rating. Following up with options to improve the rating will help customers understand why their house doesn’t rate better.
  • Ensure you are well acquainted with all the evidence requirements. You can carry a copy of the Evidence Checklist with you so you know you have everything you need before you leave.
  • If you have any questions about way elements have appeared on a certificate, contact the Scorecard team.

What happens if you breach the standards?

The Assessor Agreement which all assessors sign, outlines the Complaints Policy and includes a brief explanation of how non-compliance points are awarded and the relevant consequences.

Maintaining quality is important for the reputation of the program. Where issues are identified a further investigation is undertaken by the Department to consider factors such as the likely impact and frequency of the issue. The assessor is informed on what has been found and given an opportunity to respond to any significant issues identified. The aim is to work with the assessor to find the best way to resolve the issue and prevent a recurrence.

Depending upon the situation and its severity, penalty points may be awarded. Other options as well as, or instead of, penalty points may be applied.  For minor issues this can include notification and warning letters, for very serious issues this can include suspension. Evidently the approach must have a level of flexibility to recognise individual circumstances, but ensure that there are consequences for unacceptable performance.

Assessors are also supported to resolve any significant issues through tutorial attendance, mentoring, shadowing during assessments, and further training.

Here are some examples of how penalty points can be awarded:

a list of breaches and the penalty points for each

An accumulation of 6 non-compliance points within a 24-month period will result in the suspension of an assessor. Bringing the Program into disrepute may result in termination of an Assessor Agreement.

Costs of remediation, training and supervision may be borne by the assessor.

Latest statistics

Some Scorecard statistics

Scorecard statistics

Note that a majority of Scorecard assessments done to date are by not for profit organisations that have targeted low income houses. These are generally small  houses. Despite the houses having a low building shell rating, the relatively high average star rating is due to moderately efficient heaters heating small living areas.

Tips for practising assessments

If you are practising for your exam, here are some things to think about when doing your assessments. 

Practise the whole process 

An outline of the assessment process was emailed to all assessors in April. Use it as a checklist for your practise. Practise every part of the assessment, from the first contact with the householder at the house to identifying zones to uploading evidence photos and finalising. If you need another copy of the process outline, contact help.scorecard@delwp.vic.gov.au.   

Carry out your practise in unfamiliar houses. This will give you the true experience of going into an unknown space to conduct an assessment. 

Practise your conversations with the householder 

Practise introducing yourself and explaining the Scorecard assessment process, what the assessment does and does not cover. Practise your conversations to identify householder needs, and to explain the Scorecard certificate and upgrade options.  

Safety and wellbeing 

Identify the hazards, assess the risk and implement any controls you need. Be very conscious of your safety and the householder’s safety as this will be scrutinised during the exam. 

Technology 

Check your tech! Make sure you have your access to the internet sorted, your device charged and the Scorecard working. Do not come into the exam without being familiar with your device, and knowing that you have internet access. 

Have a plan B – if your internet or device does not work, what will you do? How will you gather your data and evidence for upload into the tool? Paper-based worksheets have been emailed to all assessors. If you cannot find the email, please contact us at help.scorecard@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Tips from Doug the tech guy - photographs

There are several ways to take a photo and get them into the Scorecard. My personal preference is to use a small, rugged camera to take the photos. The default resolution can be set to a manageable size. Photos can then be transferred to your PC or iPad and uploaded into the Scorecard from there.

To transfer photos into an iPad, the "Apple Lightning to USB Camera Adapter" allows a camera to be attached to the iPad via USB. Similarly, the "Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader" can enable the iPad to read an SD card from a camera.

Wireless and other methods are available depending on the camera.

Many Android tablets have built-in card readers, though they may be restricted to Micro-SD cards.

The default resolution of the iPad camera is very high, and there are no settings to adjust it. As a result, these photos can take a long time to upload into the Scorecard due to their size. While the Department doesn't mind if you upload large photos, the upload time and data use over a 4G connection might be a concern to you. To avoid this, consider resizing the photos before uploading. There are many iPad apps available in the App Store that are available that can resize photos.

While it is possible to take and tag photos as evidence in the Scorecard during the course of an assessment, I suggest that the photo uploading and tagging is done post assessment.