As the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to make its impact on our way of life, training providers are increasingly looking at ways they can continue to provide training and assessment services to their learners, but still being mindful that they must maintain the minimum standards.
As we’re all dealing with the disruption to our regular way of life, people are increasingly working from home and self-isolating. As such, training and learning is taking place away from traditional campuses and workplaces and now being delivered into people’s homes.
Registered Training Organisations, Higher Education Providers and schools now need to adapt their training and assessment strategies to continue providing learning opportunities for their students.
As businesses pivot their existing strategies and practices to adapt to these changes it is vitally important to continue to maintain the minimum standards with respect to the competency standards and curriculum. We must ensure that the adjustments made to the way we teach and assess does not compromise the integrity of the units of competency or curriculum.
In order to make these immediate changes, education providers need to ensure they are quick to apply these changes and maintain the minimum standards.
Audit Express provides the following tips for pivoting your business to adapt to the current crisis:
- Plan, not only for the worst-case but also for the unthinkable.
- What existing systems do you have that can be used for the current situation.
- Use the free tools available on the market.
- Don’t waste money on things you don’t need.
- Innovate for what you don’t have
- Maintain compliance – rapid changes shouldn’t mean you lower your standards.
- Be agile – use your time wisely
- Make fast and decisive decisions – but always be considered.
- Learn and teach how to work from home effectively
- Be safe and sanitise
As we make our agile, fast and decisive changes, we also need to ensure we keep records of what we do and why we did it. At this time, you should ensure you keep good records of what you’ve done to adjust your training and assessment strategies and practices and how you’ve ensured you support your learners during this time.
To make fast and decisive decisions, re-writing your training and assessment strategies seems like an unnecessary burden to quickly pivot your business to support your learners. Likewise, you’ll need to ensure you effectively communicate these changes to our trainers, assessors and education managers.
Audit Express has designed an example form and repository for you to use and amend and implement in your organisation to maintain records of the changes you’ve made to your training and assessment strategies and practices.
The vocational education and training regulators have also indicated that they are willing to work with registered training organisations to get through this difficult time. I encourage you to visit your respective regulator’s website for more information on how they can assist and to communicate your changes with them:
WA TAC: https://www.tac.wa.gov.au/newsandevent/Pages/Special-Bulletin—COVID-19-impact-on-the-VET-sector-and-RTOs.aspx
This is an example of an online form you could use and adapt in your organisation to record the changes to your delivery and assessment strategies and practices. We highly recommend you amend and contextualise this document to meet the requirements of your organisation.
If you would like to get a copy of this online form, please email: email@example.com
We are all in this together, and only together can we get through this incredibly difficult time. If you need any assistance, the team at Audit Express are available.
Recently ASQA has announced a series of changes to its audit model and audit processes. Are you Audit Ready?
Don’t put your head in the sand!
For your convenience we have summarised the changes to ASQAs Audit Model for you. [emaillocker id=6291]
- ASQA will now publish its regulatory decisions
From 1 July 2016 ASQA will publish information on its websites about decisions on RTOs shortly after decisions are made. If you fail at audit, this will now be published and publicly available.
Click here to view the list of ASQA regulatory decisions
- ASQA has changed its decision making processes
From 1 August 2016, if ASQA finds ‘highly concerning’ non-compliances at audit, the Commissioners of ASQA can now make a joint decision on the outcome of an audit and any sanctions, penalties or fines that may be applied. It is important to understand that if the ASQA Commissioners make a joint decision, you cannot appeal and respond directly to ASQA anymore. This decision can only be reviewed by an external authority (typically the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) ). In this instance, the RTO cannot apply for an internal ASQA reconsideration of the decision.This is a real game changer. If your RTO does not get it right at audit, ASQA can essentially throw the book at you on the spot and you will have less opportunity to rectify your non-compliances directly with the regulator. If your audit is significantly non-compliant you risk needing to appeal ASQA’s decision directly with the AAT.
- ASQA has changed its audit process
When ASQA is conducting audits based on identified risk, including audits conducted as a result of complaints. ASQA will provide the RTO with a compliance audit report, and if non-compliance is identified ASQA can either:
- issue the RTO with a written direction, requiring you to take a certain action
- issue the RTO with a ‘Notice of intent to impose administrative sanction’, or
- in exceptional circumstances, impose one or more sanctions on the RTO without prior notice.
If ASQA identifies highly concerning non-compliances at audit the RTO can now be issued with a ‘Notice of intent to impose administrative sanction’. RTOs will then have up to 20 working days to respond to the notice and submit any supporting evidence before a decision is made.
This is also a real game changer. The current process allows an RTO the chance to respond to non-compliances and provide evidence of compliance after an audit. At that stage if ASQA was still not satisfied they would then issue the RTO with a ‘Notice of intent to impose administrative sanction’ allowing the RTO an additional 20 days. RTOs will now have significantly less time to rectify their non-compliances following a non-compliant audit outcome. Instead of having in some cases a few months to rectify non-compliances RTOs may now only have a few weeks at best.
It is not all doom and gloom though. If ASQA identifies non-compliances at audit that are deemed to be not of a serious nature, ASQA may now issue the RTO with a written direction to address the non-compliances within a specified period and to maintain evidence of doing so. Is such cases RTOs will not be required to respond or provide evidence of rectification to ASQA. This is a good step towards less red tape and regulation.
- ASQA is developing a new audit model [WATCH THIS SPACE]
ASQA has announced that it is currently in the process of reviewing its approach to auditing RTOs and is developing a more risk-based approach that will focus more on student experience and the actual practices and behaviours of RTOs. We also suspect that the quality and sufficiency of both learning and assessment material will be a focus for the regulator moving forward. The team at Audit Express have called on this for quite some time now and we welcome the regulators efforts to take a more risk-based approach to its regulation of RTOs.Keep your eyes out over the next month as more information regarding the new audit model will be published and ASQA will start to implement their new model later this year, with full implementation by early 2017.
For more information on changes to the ASQA Audit Process you might like to check out the latest ASQA Update.
The best way to make sure your RTO is Audit Ready and that it meets the requirement for RTOs to submit an annual declaration of compliance with the Standards for RTOs is to undertake an annual internal audit of your RTO with the support of a reputable independent internal auditor.
It is crucial that you are fully aware of your RTOs strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement. Most importantly you should be fully aware of the quality of the training products across your full scope of registration.
If you need help to make sure your RTO is compliant and Audit Ready get in touch with the team at Audit Express. [/emaillocker]
Prime Minister The Hon Malcolm Turnbull has formed government and announced his new ministry, which includes a number of new “Assistant Minister” roles (formerly known as Parliamentary Secretaries). [emaillocker id=6291]
The Hon Karen Andrews MP has been named as the new Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.
The team at Audit Express congratulate Karen Andrews MP on her promotion as Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills. We look forward to working with the new Assistant Minister and her team on improving the quality of Vocational Education and Training in Australia.
Extension of training package transition period for RTOs
As many of you will know too well, there has been a surge in the number of training packages effected by the transition to the Standards for Training Packages. As a result many training packages have been endorsed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). This has resulted in a massive workload for many RTOs across Australia. To support RTOs to manage the transition and implement the revised training packages, the Australian Government, the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills and state and territory Skills Ministers have agreed to temporarily increase the period allowed to transition students to the updated training package qualifications under Standard 1.26 (a) of the Standards for RTOs 2015. [emaillocker id=6291]
RTOs will now have 18 months for transition, instead of the usual 12 months from the date the superseding training product was released to transition existing students to the updated training package qualifications, or to allow students to complete their studies and issue the appropriate qualification or statement of attainment.
It is important to note that this provision only applies for training products endorsed by the AISC from September 2015 until March 2016. You can review the full list of relevant qualifications by clicking on this link.
For more information on transitioning arrangements for superseded qualifications visit the Departments website or contact AuditExpress