Fact sheet—ASQA audits

Fact sheet banner image

As the national regulator of the vocational education and training (VET) sector, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) aims for students, employers and governments to have full confidence in the quality of education and training provided by registered training organisations (RTOs) and providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

ASQA identifies, analyses and evaluates key risks to assure quality in accordance with the VET Quality Framework, the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (the National Code) and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act)

ASQA is empowered by the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 and the ESOS Act to use a range of regulatory tools—including conducting audits—to gather data about the operations of applicant organisations and registered training organisations.

RTOs that consistently meet the standards for registration can expect a lower level of regulatory intervention, while higher risk RTOs can expect increased scrutiny from ASQA. 

What types of audits does ASQA undertake?

ASQA undertakes two distinct types of audits—registration audits and compliance audits.

What is a registration audit?

ASQA may conduct a registration audit to assess whether you are compliant with the relevant standards if you apply for:

  • initial RTO or CRICOS registration
  • renewal of RTO or CRICOS registration, and
  • change to scope of RTO or CRICOS registration.

The cost of a registration audit is included in the relevant application assessment fee.

What is a compliance audit?

A compliance audit is conducted proactively by ASQA to assess an RTO’s ongoing compliance with the standards required for registration. Compliance audits are scheduled at ASQA’s discretion with the authority of a Commissioner or nominated delegate.

ASQA has the authority to undertake compliance audits of RTOs outside Australia.

The cost of ASQA undertaking a compliance audit is chargeable to your RTO. Compliance audits are also conducted of CRICOS providers; however, no charges currently apply.

Further information on ASQA audits

The following table outlines when audits are conducted and the purpose and focus of each type of audit.

REGISTRATION AUDITS

COMPLIANCE AUDITS

Initial registration

Renewal of registration

Change scope of registration

Post-initial audit

Compliance audit

When is the audit conducted?

When the application has been assessed as meeting financial viability and Fit and Proper Person Requirements.

If the application is assessed as meeting Fit and Proper Person Requirements and a risk assessment indicates that an audit should be conducted. Some of the factors reviewed in the risk assessment include:

  • whether the qualifications/units in the application lead to industry licences
  • the RTO’s risk rating, and
  • the length of time since a full scope audit was conducted.

Only when a risk assessment of the following factors (among others) indicates an audit should be conducted:

  • the RTO’s risk rating
  • whether ASQA has a current agreement with another government authority which commits it to conduct an audit, and
  • whether the RTO has also applied for CRICOS registration for the qualification(s).

Within 2 years of initial registration.

When an assessment has determined there is a risk of the RTO failing to comply with the relevant standards for registration.

The initial assessment may be triggered by:

  • the receipt of one or more serious complaints against the RTO, and/or
  • a recommendation by a Manager, Regulatory Operations, for example based on the outcome of a finalised registration audit.

What is the purpose of the audit?

To inform a recommendation about the organisation’s compliance with the application requirements, i.e.:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, and/or
  • the ESOS Act and National Code.

To inform a recommendation about the organisation’s ongoing compliance with the application requirements, i.e.:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 and/or
  • the ESOS Act and National Code.

To inform a recommendation about the organisation’s compliance with the application requirements, i.e.:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, and/or
  • the ESOS Act and National Code.

To inform a recommendation about the organisation’s ongoing compliance with the relevant standards, i.e.:

  • the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015, and/or
  • the ESOS Act and National Code.

REGISTRATION AUDITS

COMPLIANCE AUDITS

Initial registration

Renewal of registration

Change scope of registration

Post-initial audit

Compliance audit

What is the focus of the audit?

Evidence of the preparedness of the applicant organisation to operate as an RTO and/or to deliver training to international students studying in Australia.

The audit involves a review of evidence provided by the applicant to inform a recommendation about, among other things:

  • the appropriateness of management systems, delivery strategies and other resources
  • whether proposed implementation of delivery strategies meets training package and/or accredited course requirements
  • the suitability and sufficiency of facilities and equipment, and
  • the competence of nominated delivery personnel.

Evidence of the ongoing effective deployment of systems for the delivery of quality training and assessment.

The audit will review evidence provided by the applicant to inform a recommendation about, among other things:

  • the ongoing appropriateness of management systems, delivery strategies and other resources
  • whether ongoing implementation of delivery strategies meets training package and/or accredited course requirements
  • the ongoing suitability and sufficiency of facilities and equipment, and
  • the ongoing competence of nominated delivery personnel.

Evidence of the preparedness of the organisation to deliver the units/qualifications/courses contained within the application.

The audit will review evidence provided by the organisation to inform a recommendation about, among other things:

  • the appropriateness of management systems, delivery strategies and other resources
  • whether proposed implementation of delivery strategies meets training package and/or accredited course requirements
  • the suitability and sufficiency of facilities and equipment, and
  • the competence of nominated delivery personnel.

Evidence of the ongoing effective deployment of systems that ensure the RTO’s ability to deliver the units/qualifications/courses on their scope of registration.

The audit will review evidence provided by the organisation to inform a recommendation about, among other things:

  • the appropriateness of management systems, delivery strategies and other resources
  • whether ongoing implementation of delivery strategies meets training package and/or accredited course requirements
  • the suitability and sufficiency of facilities and equipment, and
  • the competence of nominated delivery personnel.

What is the audit process?

Planning the audit

Once ASQA conducts a risk assessment and determines an audit is required, the lead auditor will usually inform you of the audit and set an audit date. The audit date could be up to several months away; however, ASQA does have the authority to conduct an audit of an RTO with little or no notice.

The scope and complexity of an audit will vary according to the purpose of the audit and your RTO’s risk.

Most audits are conducted on site, although ASQA also occasionally conducts desk-based audits of evidence. The audit may include a visit to your local, interstate and international delivery sites, including the delivery sites of any third parties.

When planning the audit, ASQA may source information your organisation, your students, a third-party provider, industry organisations, ASQA’s own compliance systems (such as the complaints register), and other risk analysis systems.

Approximately 10-20 days before the audit date, the lead auditor will contact you to:

  • confirm the audit date/s and commencement time
  • provide the names of other auditors in the audit team and/or technical advisers (if relevant)
  • notify you of the scope of the audit—the qualifications and/or courses to be sampled and sites to be visited, and
  • request the submission of pre-audit evidence/information.

Conducting the audit

The audit usually involves a visit by an auditor (or team of auditors) usually to your head office, as well as to one or more delivery sites/proposed delivery sites.

The site visit will commence with an opening meeting to confirm the reason, scope and process for the audit.

An audit is an evidence-based process and may include interviews with key staff, students and third parties. The audit will also include a review of documented evidence. You must provide evidence of how your organisation is:

  • providing quality training and assessment
  • meeting its obligations to learners and clients
  • ensuring effective governance and administration arrangements, and
  • complying with the requirements of the Standards.

The site visit concludes with an exit meeting. The auditor or audit team will explain their key findings, and any gaps in compliance. They will also confirm the next steps in the audit process.

The auditor then prepares an audit report. If non-compliance has been identified, the RTO will be given one opportunity to provide further evidence of compliance. That evidence will be considered in the formulation of a recommendation about the applicant or registered training organisation’s initial or ongoing compliance.

Decision

ASQA will then make a decision about compliance with the relevant standards and determine the outcome of the application, if relevant.

ASQA will notify you of the decision in writing. If an application for initial or renewal of registration has been granted, you will be issued with a Certificate of Registration.

How can an RTO prepare for a site audit?

Some practical preparations for a site audit include:

  • ensuring that senior management is available on the day(s) of audit
  • allocating a staff member to liaise with the audit team
  • ensuring that auditors will have access to staff, students and any third-parties
  • ensuring that auditors will have ready access to relevant staff and student files (including completed assessment materials)
  • providing a work space with adequate power points, lighting and desk space, in which the audit team can work, and
  • having the information requested readily available. 

More information and questions about ASQA’s audit process

Further information about ASQA’s audit process including fact sheets, frequently asked questions and videos are available by visiting ASQA’s website.

If you have further questions about the audit process, email enquiries@asqa.gov.au, or call the ASQA Info line on 1300 701 801.


Download the Fact sheet—ASQA Audits (PDF 275kb)

Rate this page—was the information useful to you?