The report arising from the rapid review of the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) regulatory practices and processes has highlighted many of the regulator’s failings that have been identified by the membership of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA). The good news is that the report contains a solid set of recommendations that will, if implemented, set ASQA on the course to be a regulator that’s more focussed on helping training providers achieve quality outcomes.
Key Issues —
The rapid review into ASQA’s regulatory practices and processes followed sustained advocacy by ITECA and other stakeholders that highlighted some fundamental failings of the national vocational education and training regulator. Responding to the calls made by ITECA members, the Australian Government commissioned MP Consulting to undertake the review.
From the outset, ITECA was engaged in the review process and highlighted the concerns that our members had with the regulator. The report recognised that there is a substantial trust deficit between the Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and ASQA stemming from some significant failures of policy and regulatory failures, augmented by the bad behaviour of a small number of providers.
Key Themes In The Report —
- The need to strengthen engagement with providers and industry;
- The benefit of improving induction and training of ASQA auditors and internal quality assurances;
- Greater opportunity for providers to remedy non-compliance;
- An acknowledgement that ASQA audit reports are currently dense, contain significant templated text and do not always effectively describe the identified non-compliance in a meaningful way;
- Highlights needed changes to ASQA’s organisational structure and focus to strengthen strategic oversight and managerial capacity;
- The need to improve transparency of decision-making.
These themes reflect recommendations made by the ITECA membership and, if implemented, will set the regulator on the path towards being a more engaged regulator better positioned to work collaboratively with RTOs.
ITECA discussed the report briefly on 30 April 2020 during a meeting with, Sen. Hon. Michaelia Cash, the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. ITECA’s advice to the Minister was that it was working with the Australian Government to progress our shared goal of an effective regulator that’s trusted by the sector.
A meeting between senior ITECA staff and ASQA is to be held during the coming days to permit a full realisation of the opportunity that the report’s recommendations present to build a better regulator.
Over the coming weeks, the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Reference Committee will review the document in detail and, in concert with the broader membership, identify those recommendations that need to be expedited.
This report highlights one of the key benefits that comes with membership of the ITECA Vocational Education and Training Network, this being the opportunity support activities that positively influence the environment in which independent RTOs operate.
Member Engagement —
ITECA’s ability to play a lead role in matters associated with this issue rests on the advice and guidance of individuals serving on the ITECA Vocational Education Reference Committee.
Further Information —
For more information on this issue please send an email to email@example.com or telephone 1300 421 017. Stay up to date via Twitter @ITECAust or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ITECAust.
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