fraser coast by B898s5U

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									Accreditation Status Report

The Report

This report provides an overview of Fraser Coast Housing Services Inc’s (FCHSI)
performance in relation to the National Community Housing Standards.

The report consists of two main parts:

   Accreditation Status Report
   Accreditation Evaluation Report

Accreditation Status Report includes:

   Recommended/current accreditation status
   Background information about the organisation’s work and history
   An overview of the Evaluation Team’s assessment of the organisation’s
    performance, identifying major achievements as well as major areas for
    improvement
   Evaluation Team
   Methodology

It is important to note that the Accreditation Status Report, for accredited
organisations only, will be made publicly available on the Community Housing
Standards and Accreditation Unit website. Go to http://www.chsau.qld.gov.au.

The Evaluation Team has assessed the organisation’s performance by rating each
standard against a five-point scale, as outlined below:

       Surpassed – Performance meets expectations in all three categories of
        evidence (documentation, processes, measuring outcomes), and at least one
        category has exceeded expectations.
       Met – Performance meets expectations in all three categories of evidence
        (documentation, processes, measuring outcomes).
       Partially met – Where there are no categories of evidence (documentation,
        processes, measuring outcomes) not met, and any of the three categories is
        partially met.
       Not met – Where there is a not met rating in any of the three categories of
        evidence (documentation, processes, measuring outcomes).
       Not applicable – The standard cannot be met by the organisation because
        external legislation, organisation definition or funding policy guidelines
        prevents them from doing so.




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Accreditation status

Fraser Coast Housing Services Inc has met the required standards and has been
awarded three-year accreditation for the period 4 December 2009 to 3 December
2012.

Summary of feedback from tenants and other stakeholders

Tenants

The Evaluation Team interviewed a total of four tenants at two different locations –
one location in Maryborough where two tenants attended and one location in Hervey
Bay where another two tenants attended. Feedback from tenants was positive.
Tenants had been provided tenancy agreements and a verbal explanation of their
rights and responsibilities. They were able to visit the premises first, and repairs and
maintenance were completed when requested in good timeframes. Notices were
always provided by current staff when they completed property inspections. All
tenants advised that they pay their rent using Centrepay and were very happy this
service is provided to them. They were clear that if they had any concerns or
complaints that they would have no hesitation in contacting the organisation to
discuss their concerns. All tenants advised that they were not aware of other
organisations in the community that could assist them if there was a dispute with the
organisation (refer to suggestions for improvement under standard 3.5).

Tenants advised that they liked the organisation because staff were always “positive”
when greeting them, staff were “kind and generous”, and always “polite”. They also
advised that they liked that they were able to access emergency relief funds when
needed from the organisation, and that the housing provided felt like it was “their
house”. Overall they were happy with how the organisation “got things done and how
it was run”.

When asked if they had any suggestions for improvement, tenants advised that it
would be great if the organisation had an office in Hervey Bay, however they
understood the resourcing issue and decided that if this did occur they may not have
access to the current staff taking care of them. All tenants indicated that the
development of a newsletter would be a great idea and would be an excellent vehicle
of keeping them up-to-date with what is happening in the organisation, social
housing in general and the community (refer to recommendations under standard
3.2).

External stakeholders

Two external stakeholders were contacted and provided the feedback.

Stakeholder 1 feedback

   The organisation works in partnership with FCHSI to accommodate people who
    are being released from the local prison and they have frequent contact, at least
    daily.
   There is no formal agreement in place, however an interdependent relationship
    has developed based on courtesy and a common cause.



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   The organisation has a team of 30 staff, and to date no concerns or issues have
    been raised by any staff regarding the working relationship developed with
    FCHSI.
   The organisation has relevant and up-to-date information on FCHSI including
    eligibility criteria, programs available and contact details.
   FCHSI is viewed as having a hands-on, professional approach to their work and
    they treat clients with respect.
   The staff and management committee attend a range of meetings and events
    throughout the community sector in the region.
   There have never been any concerns regarding inappropriate disclosure of
    personal information or privacy and confidentiality in general.
   Clients are able to transition from the supported accommodation to the long-term
    housing options and FCHSI assists the clients to do this in a respectful,
    supportive manner.

Stakeholder 2 feedback

   The second stakeholder advised that they share a number of clients with FCHSI.
   The organisation works with people with a mental illness, who are often
    marginalised by mainstream community. FCHSI provides housing stability
    through safe accommodation, and work within a holistic framework to provide
    consistent and better outcomes for clients.
   Contact between the services is variable and driven by client need, therefore at a
    service level contact may only be monthly, however on an operational level
    contact could range from daily to weekly.
   FCHSI has provided the organisation with relevant information about contact
    hours, program eligibility, referral processes and complaints processes.
   FCHSI is viewed as a “highly valued part of this community” and “fulfils a vital role
    within the Fraser Coast district”. “The local community is greatly enriched by the
    work of FCHSI”.
   The organisation feels comfortable to raise concerns and address issues with
    FCHSI through telephone or face-to-face contact, but is aware of being able to
    make formal complaints in writing.
   The stakeholder advised that he was very confident from his interactions and
    conversations with other community members, his staff and clients that FCHSI is
    reviewing its work on an ongoing basis and that he values the opinions of FCHSI
    staff and “their input into the care planning for people with a mental illness”.

Stakeholder 3 feedback

   Concerns were raised about the accessibility of the office on the first floor up
    quite a long set of steps and the waiting room not providing a welcoming
    atmosphere.
   Many Community Rent Scheme clients have an established relationship with the
    agency due to co-location with the previous service provider of Community Rent
    Scheme housing in Hervey Bay. Many of these tenants visit the agency for
    assistance with completing forms. A number of those tenants have raised
    concerns that they are unsure of how long they can remain in their housing as the
    previous organisation advised them that they were “housed for life”. They do not




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    appear to have a clear understanding of the new organisational structure and
    program requirements.
   They have little contact with FCHSI tenants other than tenants from Hervey Bay
    despite holding a couple of information sessions at CMSU complexes in
    Maryborough.
   A great working relationship has been developed with the General Manager
    however they have little contact with any other FCHSI staff.
   There has been a previous history of FCHSI listing tenants on the TICA database
    where there has been extensive property damage or rent arrears. The agency
    advised that this practice has been stopped however no commitment was given
    about this process being re-instigated at a later date.
   The agency has been provided with adequate information about the organisation
    including eligibility criteria, contact details and programs offered.

Overall summary of major achievements including areas of excellence

FCHSI is a committed and professional social housing provider that works with
people who are in crisis and in housing need. The organisation’s ability to transition
people from crisis accommodation to long-term housing is particularly beneficial to
tenants.

The organisation has developed excellent working relationships with a diverse range
of external stakeholders in the community including local community support
agencies, real estate agents and private property developers and government
departments at a local and state level.

FCHSI works with other agencies and organisations to address community issues
other than housing. The organisation has a prominent profile in the local community
and has developed a professional and quality reputation over the past couple of
years.

FCHSI staff and the Management Committee worked together to achieve the
organisation’s goals, however all individuals are aware of separate roles and
responsibilities. The General Manager has developed an excellent working
relationship with the management committee, all staff and with a wide range of
external stakeholders at a local and state level. Staff appear to be caring and very
committed to their roles in the organisation and assisting all clients and tenants
achieve their goals.

All members of the Management Committee (except one) were able to make it to a
meeting with the Evaluation Team. This demonstrated a high level of commitment to
the organisation which was evidenced throughout the meeting. All committee
members appeared to be knowledgeable and understand the work of the
organisation and the importance of good governance and effective management.

The internal office had a welcoming atmosphere and staff were sighted laughing,
talking and joking with each other, it appeared a happy place to work.

FCHSI’s record management system was well designed, and well suited to the
structure of the organisation. Files and records were clearly marked with a simple




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coded system ensuring that staff can access documentation/information easily and in
a timely manner.

Overall summary of strategic recommendations

General

That FCHSI further develop the Policy and Procedures Manual to more clearly
articulate policy statements and procedures ensuring legal compliance with Housing
Regulations and the relationship with OSHS as well reflect requirements of new
Residential Tenancies and Rooming Act Legislation 2008.

That FCHSI formalise methods of measuring outcomes related to their practice using
the National Community Housing Standards as a guide.

Specific Allocation of housing

That FCHSI further develop the policy to include and reflect the processes regarding
how they access applicants on the common wait list as per the OSHS requirements.

That FCHSI document the allocation process in a clearly defined manner that
provides guidance to all involved ensuring that eligibility is based on relative need
and the prioritising of applications is undertaken in a consistent and transparent
manner.

Establishing and maintaining tenancies

That FCHSI develop a formal system to capture the process and monitor the
arrangement of tenants repaying rent arrears via the Centrepay system to ensure
that both parties are aware of the amount being repaid and the timeframes for
repayments. Copies of such agreements should be provided to the tenant as well as
by relevant housing to staff to ensure all parties are aware of the process and any
amounts owed at any given time.

Changing needs of tenants

That FCHSI include information in the Tenant Information Pack for tenants advising
them of the process and circumstances where they are able to seek rehousing,
transfers, mutual exchange and modifications to their properties.

That FCHSI develop and document a formal process for reviewing its performance
regarding meeting the changing needs of tenants i.e. an analysis of any such
requests and subsequent outcomes and tenant satisfaction.




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Ending tenancies

That FCHSI develop a formal system of review and analysis of the reasons why
tenants are either voluntarily or involuntarily terminating tenancies and how this
information can be used in a proactive manner to address issues raised and to
inform future planning processes.

Responsive maintenance and repairs

That FCHSI develop a formal system to capture the process and monitor the
arrangement of tenants repaying amount owed due to repairs and maintenance via
the Centrepay system to ensure that both parties are aware of the amount being
repaid and the timeframes for repayments. Copies of such agreements should be
provided to the tenant as well as by relevant housing staff to ensure all parties are
aware of the process and any amounts owed at any given time.

That FCHSI further develop and document a process or system for ensuring it
measures its performance in relation to repairs and maintenance, using indicators
such as tenant satisfaction, timeliness, quality and price.

Planned cyclical maintenance and upgrade

That FCHSI develop a formal document that can be used with Community Rent
Scheme lessors to seek agreement on long term planned cyclical maintenance
requirements ensuring that all parties are clear on the required expectations.

That FCHSI develops a system that monitors and reviews progress against its
Cyclical Maintenance Plan and other cyclical maintenance responsibilities of all
properties.

Acquiring and developing stock

FCHSI further develop the organisation’s documentation including the policy and
procedures to adequately reflect how the organisation acquires, develops and
disposes of its housing stock specifically who is involved in the decision making
process, development of project briefs, development and management of contracts,
how defect identification and rectification processes are addressed and documented
and how the organisation monitors and reviews its acquisition and development
processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

That FCHSI ensure that wherever possible tenants are involved in developing briefs,
submissions and requirements for the acquisition and development of housing stock
for the organisation.

Developing income streams for acquiring new stock

That FCHSI develop and document guidelines to guide its development of property
partnerships including:

   verifying the legal identify of the proposed partners




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   clarifying the directorship and management structure of potential partners

   clarifying the aims of the partnership

   verifying the industry experience and reputation of potential partners

   investigating the financial viability of potential partners and their ability to fund the
    project

   assessing potential partners understanding and commitment to the aims of social
    housing.

That FCHSI develop and document:

   how it will explore and utilise the full range of planning incentives available
    through local, state and national government to maximise its potential in
    developing financial partnerships

   how it will develop stock, formal contractual agreements ensuring that risk
    management strategies are included

   how it will promote and market its potential for property development

   how it will access appropriate and high level expertise as needed

   how it will monitor and review its efforts to develop new income streams.

Tenant rights

FCHSI develop a mechanism to formally remind tenants what their rights are and
how the organisation will uphold them on a regular basis. For example, developing a
tenant newsletter distributed to all tenants on a regular basis could provide tenants
with a reminder and additional information on what the tenant rights mean for
individual tenants and what to do if they believe that their rights have been breached.
FCHSI displays the Tenant Rights statement in the waiting room.

That FCHSI develop a mechanism to use all feedback received from tenants to
inform relevant planning, review and quality improvement of the organisation.

Tenant participation

That FCHSI develop and document strategies for how the organisation fosters tenant
participation across all programs and housing types, including SHDL and CRS, for
example hold tenant meetings for all programs types including how they will break
down barriers to participation.

That FCHSI produce and disseminate its own organisational newsletter/update to all
tenants where they can be informed of tenant participation activities, how they can
be involved, promote feedback opportunities and processes and provide reminders
about how the organisation upholds tenant’s rights. The results of the last tenant



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survey indicate a high level of interest in receiving a tenant newsletter. This was
supported by the views of the tenants interviewed by the Evaluation Team.

That FCHSI develops and documents a system for monitoring the level and success
of tenant participation in the organisation, for example the levels of feedback
received, attendance at tenant meetings, receiving feedback from tenants about how
accessible they think it is to input into the decision making of the organisation.

Access to services of the organisation

That FCHSI develop and document a system for monitoring its accessibility to the full
range of tenants and applicants for example periodic surveys of tenants and external
stakeholders or undertaking a comparison of client characteristics with those of the
community being served.

Confidentiality and privacy

That FCHSI review inclusions of tenant names and addresses in reports and instead
use a coded system (as per the tenant and property files) to ensure that tenant
privacy and confidentiality is not breached. In instances where staff and committee
safety is of a concern, other methods should be employed to advise them of such
concerns.

That FCHSI develop and document a system for conducting internal audit processes
to ensure that privacy and confidentiality of personal information is maintained at all
times, using clear checklists and protocols on a regular basis.

Complaints and appeals

That training in dealing with conflict resolution is sourced and provided to all staff.

Tenants’ access to support

That FCHSI develop and document a Referrals Policy as per the legislative
requirement of the Housing Regulations.

Establishing and maintaining governing bodies

The Evaluation Team acknowledge that FCHSI are actively seeking a replacement,
however this should be prioritised as a matter of urgency for the organisation as the
Office of Fair Trading advises that “the committee must have a president, secretary
and treasurer. The president and the treasurer must be two different people”.

Organisational Review

That FCHSI further develop Section 10 of the policy manual to ensure that the
“Review of Policy and Practice” is addressed including a cycle of policy review that
spreads the review work over a 12 month period, rather than all at one time. The
policy review cycle should be documented and included in the Policy Manual and
monitored by the General Manager on a regular basis. For example, a specific policy
or section of policies are provided to staff and management committee to be



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reviewed and discussed as a standing agenda item at staff/management committee
meetings.

Administrative systems

That FCHSI develop and implement a regular internal file audit system that clearly
identifies what information will be contained in which file and when a file audit is
required and develop a checklist to be used to ensure that the process is conducted
on a regular basis and that forms, including the tenancy agreements, are signed and
dated as per legal requirements.

That FCHSI develop a comprehensive policy and procedure regarding the use of
motor vehicles ensuring it addresses the following (but not limited to):
 a booking system
 mileage, servicing and insurances
 storage and home garaging (if relevant) and associated issues of FBT and salary
   sacrificing
 reimbursement of mileage when own vehicles used for work purposes (if
   relevant).

Recruiting, selecting and appointing staff

That FCHSI review and further develop the recruitment and selection policy and
procedures and ensure that they have clearly articulated each step in the recruitment
process and who is involved.

Supervision, training and development of staff

That FCHSI supports and resources the General Manager to seek and receive
formal external supervision from a relevant and professional body.

Employment systems

That FCHSI develop a system for measuring staff satisfaction with the employment
practices of the organisation, for example implement an annual staff satisfaction
survey.

Occupational health and safety

That FCHSI select an appropriate staff and seek training for them to attend
Workplace Health and Safety requirements, rights and responsibilities. This
information could then be used as a base for the ongoing in-house training of staff.

That FCHSI complete the review of the Workplace Health and Safety Policy and
Procedures and ensure it covers the following criteria:
 annual Workplace Health and Safety site audits
 staff training
 addressing work hazards
 risk management and assessment
 measuring and monitoring the organisations success in providing a safe and
   healthy work environment for staff, clients, visitors and management committee.


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That a Fire Safety Register be implemented at the front counter to ensure all people,
including clients and staff, sign in and out of the building.

Background information about the organisation

History, location and community served

The organisation was formed more than 20 years ago and its original name was
Housing Action Group, Maryborough and District Inc. The organisation was a
community-based organisation developed from an identified housing need in the
area. The organisation was administered by a local Management Committee and a
small number of staff. In the early 1990s the organisation undertook some
development work, and this was the period during which much of the housing stock
was acquired.

The Boarding House (now Community-managed Housing – Studio Units) known as
WILES and a 10 unit facility known as SWARNA were built using Long Term
Community Housing Program funds on land endowed to the organisation by the
Maryborough City Council. A men’s shelter COOLOOLI was also one of the major
funded programs, and was the only supported accommodation men’s shelter in the
Fraser Coast region. Other funded programs included the Family Accommodation
Service which provided Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP)
accommodation for families (11 department-owned Crisis Accommodation Program
(CAP) properties and one head leased CAP property). Other programs at this time
included the Community Rent Scheme (CRS) and Same House Different Landlord
(SHDL). The organisation enjoyed a strong period of growth and valuable service to
the community under strong and committed leadership of CEO, John Tudman. Upon
his death the organisation struggled to regain its former leadership and floundered
for quite some time.

After a robust review by the Department of Communities in 2006 the organisation
reinvigorated itself. A new Management Committee was elected, a new General
Manager appointed and an action plan for organisational change was agreed with
the Department of Communities. In 2007, a Strategic Plan was developed in order to
carefully map the way forward and to ensure that the organisation achieved
alignment with community need and the new regulatory environment.

In early 2008 the name of the organisation was changed to Fraser Coast Housing
Services Inc to reflect the true geographic area of need that the organisation now
services. The first two Hervey Bay properties were acquired in late 2007, and in
March 2008 the organisation took on the management of the CRS properties
formerly managed by a Fraser Coast CRS organisation.

Other major events in 2008 included being successful in receiving the management
rights of a new Community-managed Housing – Studio Units complex in Alice Street,
Maryborough, a serious fire at the COOLOOLI men’s shelter and the subsequent
building and completion of the GOOD HOPE Men’s Shelter in Maryborough.




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The last two years has been a time of organisational review and capacity building in
order to position FCHSI to grow and to enable the organisation to engage in a wide
range of opportunities that now exist for social housing providers.

Services provided by the organisation

FCHSI works directly with the homeless and people who are at risk of homelessness
in the Maryborough and surrounding environs through a number of housing
programs. People and families are assisted in the supported accommodation
programs using support plans and a case management approach to facilitate their
return to better circumstances and stable housing. FCHSI works collaboratively with
a wide range of other service providers to assist client access the services and
support they need. FCHSI also receives funding to provide an Emergency Relief
service to eligible clients.

Number of staff employed listing job titles and identifying the hours allocated
to these positions

1 x General Manager (full-time)
     Oversees the provision of the strategic and operational direction of the
       organisation.
1 x Client Services Coordinator (full-time)
     Manages all client intake and assessment processes, manages all SAAP
       funded homelessness programs including case management and emergency
       relief funding responsibilities.
1 x Client Services Assistant (full-time)
     First point of contact and supports Client Services Coordinator with
       administrative tasks.
4 x Shelter Workers (3 x full-time, 1 x part-time - .5 FTE)
     Provide 24 hour service at the GOOD HOPE Men’s Shelter.
1 x Property Services Coordinator (full-time)
     Oversees all property management and tenancy management.
1 x Property Services Officer (full-time)
     Undertakes property and tenancy management.
1 x Accountant (part-time - .5 FTE)
     Financial controller for the organisation.
1 x Administrative Assistant (Finance – full-time)
     Responsible for accounts payable, Centrepay, account reconciliation and
       cash handling.
1 x Administrative Assistant (Admin and Personnel – full-time)
     Personnel management, payroll and general administrative duties.

Property portfolio and number of tenancies managed

Long Term Community Housing Program (Maryborough)
 14 units of accommodation for families
 10 units of accommodation for single men.

Community-managed Housing – Studio Units (Maryborough)
 13 units of accommodation (WILES) for single men



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   24 units of accommodation (GRACE) for single women

Community Rent Scheme (Maryborough and Hervey Bay)
 65 units of accommodation for families

Crisis Accommodation Program (Maryborough)
 12 units of accommodation for families

Crisis Accommodation Program Homeless Men’s Refuge (Maryborough)
 16 units of accommodation for single men

Same House Different Landlord (Maryborough)
 6 units of accommodation for families

Target group/s

   Single people and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
   Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
   people with a disability (learning impairment, physical impairment, mental health);
   the frail and the aged
   young people
   people escaping domestic violence.

Income sources

FaHCSIA:
 Emergency Relief Funding

Queensland Department of Communities:
 Emergency Relief Funding
 Supported Accommodation Assistance Program services
 Community Rent Scheme, Long Term Community Housing Program, Community
  –managed Housing – Studio Units, Same House Different Landlord.

Management/governance structure

FCHSI is an incorporated association under the Queensland Associations
Incorporation Act 1981 (Incorporation Number – IA01446) and is governed by a local
community based Management Committee. The Management Committee is made
up of up to nine members, including a President, Vice President, Secretary,
Treasurer (this is a vacant position at present) and general committee members.


Key issues over the past 12 – 24 months

The key issues for FCHSI over the past 12 – 24 months have been:
 A structured process of organisational and systems review and development
   including the establishment and implementation of a quality improvement system
   to assist the capacity of the organisation to better respond to the property and




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    tenancy management requirements and to growth opportunities.

   A systems and hardware upgrade to ensure that property is managed in the most
    effective and efficient way.

   Development of the human resources to ensure that the new system capacities
    can be fully utilised to achieve maximum potential.

   Completion of a self-assessment report against the Queensland Department of
    Communities Community Service Standards.

   Preparation for accreditation under the National Community Housing Standards
    (self assessment and gathering evidence).

   Completion of a response to RFO for provision of a HACC funded homelessness
    referral program.

   Submission for application of capital grants under the Nation Building Stage 2
    Social Housing Initiative (June 2009).

   Submission for additional tenancy management – social housing under the
    Nation Building Stage 2 Social Housing Initiative (July 2009).

Key Goals for next 12 months

The key goals for FCHSI over the next 12 months are as follows:

   Working towards achieving the organisational objectives in six key areas from the
    FCHSI Strategic Plan (Goal 1 – Organisational Capacity, Goal 2 – Business
    Directives, Goal 3 – Corporate Governance, Goal 4 – Strategic Partnerships,
    Goal 5 – Sensing our Environment, Goal 6 – Breaking New Ground).

   Consolidation of structure, systems and staffing arrangements.




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The Evaluation Team

Coordinator:             Karol Battams

Peer Evaluator:          Tracey Jones

Methodology

Prior to the accreditation evaluation the service used the Self-Evaluation Workbook
to evaluate its own performance. The Evaluation Team then conducted a desk-top
assessment of information and documentation provided by the organisation. This
was followed by an on-site evaluation.

The external evaluation process involved gathering and assessing an extensive
amount of information and documentation and included:

   reviewing the organisation report and other documentation and evidence of
    various kinds

   conducting a range of interviews with management members and staff

   inspecting office facilities and equipment

   assessing policies and procedures

   reviewing the tenancy and property record audit reports

   interviewing and/or surveying tenants

   reviewing reports on the results of surveys of tenants and other organisations
    undertaken by the organisation

   interviewing or seeking feedback from key community agencies and the funding
    body.




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