On behalf of the API Board, I am very pleased to present the 2020 Annual Report and Year in Review.
This year across all industries we saw tremendous upheaval as the world adjusted and continues to adjust to the ongoing impact of COVID-19. The Board were very pleased to see the speed at which API responded, not only in transitioning to a virtual environment, but in providing timely communication to Members.
API continued to lead the industry during the Coronavirus crisis with the majority of our advocacy initiatives focused on protecting Member’s ability to work. Initially this was achieved through the listing of valuation as a supporting essential service and continuing on to deliver a framework for virtual valuations that were acceptable for banks and insurance providers. This strongly supported the Board’s Strategic Objectives through enhanced Member value and through our high-level industry recognised standards.
Despite the crisis, our organisation continues to evolve as we further invest in new systems and processes that support the API to provide an enhanced Member experience. The Board is keen to see this continue to develop in the coming year.
At a strategic level, the Board along with the CEO led a full governance framework review, updating and reviewing a suite of critical governance policies to ensure our organisation remained current and up to standard. This immense piece of work helped strengthen the foundations of the Institute and provide greater confidence to members in the sustainability of the API and our future directions.
In 2020 we also saw a significant investment in personalising the member experience with a number of initiatives focused on invigorating the relationship between API and Members. This included an enhanced and segmented communications strategy, several in person campaigns aimed at member retention and wellbeing, as well as greater visibility of our members via our social media channels.
The Board was also very pleased with the strengthening of our relationships with our accredited universities both through our APREF Research Grants as well as through the reinforcement of the critical pathways into our profession via university pathways. This was achieved with a considered university and student engagement strategy, as well as through the scholarship program offered through APREF.
A key growth area in 2020 was a focus on developing stronger and more transparent consultation processes. Whilst consultation has always been a part of the API strategy through our State and YPP committees, the Board recognised that early and effective consultation would provide members with greater opportunity to influence strategic decision-making processes. The API Board would also like to thank our esteemed committees for their dedication, time, and support. The State Chairs, and YPP chairs along with their committees have helped steer the API during 2020 providing valuable insight and support to our Members through their feedback, recommendations, and acumen.
I would also like to thank and acknowledge the extraordinary effort of the other Directors. Meeting over 20 times during 2020 to respond to the rapidly evolving crisis was an exceptional contribution from my colleagues. During this time, the Directors provided valuable insight, strategic input, and empathy during a time of immense uncertainty helping ensure that the organisation didn’t lose focus of its strategic goals. This level of dedication and investment demonstrate the importance and investment into the wellbeing of the API and our Members and was commendable at the highest level.
I would also like to add my thanks to Rob Hecek, Chair of the APIV Limited Liability Scheme. This year the scheme prepared and submitted its application for renewal with the Professional Standards Council. Rob was critical to the success and delivery of this and has helped continue to shape and grow the APIV whilst also representing API Internationally on the International Fire Safety Standard (IFSS). Thank-you Rob, for your tireless work and support furthering the brand, adding member value, and continuing to deliver excellence.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the Board was pleased to see the organisation finish the year in a strong financial position. Despite the uncertainty presented by the crisis, the Board was able to not only deliver a small surplus, but also succeeded in investing significantly into advancing the industry through planned future activities, as well as building staff capacity through considered professional development.
Unfortunately, this year we did not get much time to spend with Members at our face-to-face events and were especially saddened at the cancellation of our National Property Conference. However, we have been deeply appreciative of the support and professionalism of our Members who shared their expertise across a range of subjects assisting other Members to continue to develop and grow their skills and knowledge.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank our Members. You are at the heart of everything we do at the API and this year you have shown extraordinary resilience, professionalism, and expertise despite facing extreme adversity. It has and continues to be a privilege to work with such an esteemed profession and the Board is very proud to continue to be able to represent and further the interests of the API across government, industry, and academia. Our Members continue to play a critical role in the economy and this year has demonstrated that more clearly than ever before. Thank you to our members for their feedback and support, helping us continue to grow into an even stronger organisation.
The Board and I are looking forward to a robust year ahead focusing on consolidating and connecting with members, industry partners and government to build on our achievements in 2020.
THE HONOURABLE Bruce Billson