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What's changing?

The student-centred audit approach builds on and improves ASQA'S previous audit practices.

Essentially, this approach will see ASQA focus on the practices and behaviours of registered training organisations (RTOs), as well as checking on the compliance of RTOs’ systems and processes. The new model also supports more timely and effective regulatory processes.

The model reflects ASQA's risk-based approach to regulation, which targets regulatory resources towards providers that are identified as posing the greatest risk to the quality of Australia's vocational education and training and international education sectors.

What are the key changes?

Under the new approach:

  • audits will be organised around five key phases of the student experience—marketing and recruitment; enrolment; support and progression; training and assessment; and completion
  • the depth and scope of audits will be customised for each RTO and informed by improved risk intelligence and increased input by students
  • providers that demonstrate a higher risk profile, a poor compliance history and/or poor student outcomes will be targeted through deeper-level audits, and
  • there will be a greater emphasis on requiring RTOs to redress harm to students caused by non-compliances.

Which audits will the changes apply to?

The changes outlined above will become a consistent part of all post-initial, renewal, change of scope and compliance audits.

What are the key features and benefits of the student-centred audit approach?

Current approach Student-centred audit approach Benefits
1. Applications trigger the majority of audits (‘reactive regulation’) Greater use of risk analysis and intelligence to trigger audits (‘proactive regulation’) ASQA is able to direct its resources to the most significant sector-wide risks and providers of greatest concern
2. Focus on the RTO’s compliance against systems and processes Greater focus on the student experience and the RTO’s practices and behaviours Audits are more effective in correcting practices and behaviours that lead to poor-quality student outcomes
3. Standard notification period for audits Options for longer, standard or early notice periods Notification periods customised and fit for purpose
4. Scope of audit set and RTO notified of scope in advance Scope of audit is flexible, based on intelligence and provider profile Approach to audit more customised and effective in targeting poor practices and behaviours
5. Information collected prior to audit limited to standard information requested from RTO Information used to inform audit drawn from a wider range of sources including intelligence from other government agencies Wider range of evidence and intelligence-sharing avoids duplication and enables better targeting and testing of RTO practice during audit
6. Limited student input to audit intelligence Greater student input—through interviews, surveys and focus groups—to inform evidence base Evidence base strengthened for verifying RTO practice and behaviours and informing regulatory decisions
7. Limited trainer and assessor input, including from third parties More consistent use of trainer and assessor and third-party input to inform evidence base Evidence base strengthened for verifying RTO practice and behaviours and informing regulatory decisions
8. Multiple rectification opportunities (often beyond legal procedural fairness requirements) prior to regulatory actions Opportunities for RTOs to respond to ASQA’s findings of serious concern limited to legal procedural fairness requirements The audit process concluded in a more timely manner and more timely and effective regulatory actions
9. RTOs have multiple opportunities to submit revised systems, policies and procedures A greater emphasis on requiring RTOs to redress harm to students caused by non-compliances RTOs more accountable for correcting poor practices and ensuring they will not recur (‘prospective compliance’)
10. Audit outcomes reported against clauses of the Standards for RTOs 2015 Audit outcomes reported against the phases of student experience (‘the student journey’) and referenced to the relevant Standards for RTOs 2015 The new audit report more clearly reflects student experiences and RTO practices.