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What happens if non-compliances are found at an audit?

If ASQA identifies non-compliance, you may be given 20 working days to provide evidence that you have rectified that non-compliance.

ASQA will then consider this evidence

If you remain non-compliant with the required standards, ASQA will make a decision about what actions to take next. In making this decision, ASQA will consider your history of compliance and the risks associated with the non-compliance.

Actions might include:

  • applying a sanction or condition to your registration, and/or
  • rejecting your application.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 provides a range of sanctions of increasing severity—escalating from enforceable undertakings and additional conditions on registration through to suspending or cancelling the registration of an RTO.

As of 1 July 2018, the audit processes for initial registration and for changes to VET scope within the first two years of registration do not include an opportunity to correct and re-submit additional evidence if non-compliance is identified during the audit process.

How do I know what evidence to provide with my application?

A range of evidence must be included with your application. Evidence requirements are outlined in the Application guide—Application for initial registration (PDF) and you will be prompted to upload evidence when submitting the application in asqanet.

How long is a period of RTO registration?

As of 1 July 2018, the period of registration for a new RTO, in most cases, will be two years.

At the time of renewal of registration, ASQA may grant registration for a period of up to seven years.

In some cases, ASQA grants a shorter registration period. If you are granted a shorter registration period, ASQA will explain to you the reasons for this.

If our RTO did not deliver any training and assessment for the previous calendar year, who do we notify?

RTOs which conducted no training and assessment activity throughout 2017 are required to notify ASQA by submitting a statutory declaration to qidata [at] asqa.gov.au by 30 June 2018.

What type of providers are exempt from the AVETMISS reporting requirements?

There is are a range of Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) reporting exemption categories that may apply to registered training organisations (RTOs) or to the delivery of training products.

Please refer to the National VET Data Policy for detailed information.

What types of exemptions are available from the AVETMISS reporting requirements?

There are a range of AVETMISS reporting exemption categories that may apply for particular learner cohorts or to the delivery of training products.

Please refer to the National VET Data Policy for detailed information.

Where can I obtain further information regarding AVETMISS data requirements?

For further information, and a range of fact sheets about data collection and reporting, please see the:

Does our RTO still need to submit CCOS data if we have submitted AVETMISS data?

If your RTO submitted 2017 delivery activity data directly or through a state authority to the AVETMISS national collection, your RTO has met its competency completion reporting requirements and will not be able to access CCOS.

RTOs that had been granted exemptions from reporting 2017 data to the AVETMISS national collection must report their aggregated activity data through CCOS by 30 June 2018.

RTOs that conducted no delivery activity in 2017 MUST submit a statutory declaration to qidata [at] asqa.gov.au testifying to this fact by 30 June 2018, if they have not already done so.

All RTOs will receive an email in coming weeks informing them of their individual obligations.

Can I have a copy of my audit report?

Yes, you will receive a copy of the audit report or evidence analysis when ASQA notifies you of the outcome of the audit.

Can providers give feedback after an audit?

Providers are invited to provide feedback through ASQA's Audit Survey. The survey is carried out quarterly, through an online questionnaire.

You can also contact ASQA at any time to:

  • provide feedback
  • request more information, or
  • lodge a formal complaint.

To provide feedback please email feedback [at] asqa.gov.au.

To make an enquiry (for example, about your registration), contact the ASQA Info line at enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au or on 1300 701 801.

To make a formal complaint about ASQA, complete and submit a Complaint about ASQA form.

How do I appeal an ASQA decision about my audit?

If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by ASQA, you have a number of options:

  • consider the reasons for the decision, address the outstanding areas of non-compliance and submit a new application (where the audit relates to an application)
  • ask ASQA to reassess its position (applies to certain decisions only)
  • ask ASQA to review the decision (applies to certain decisions only)
  • apply to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

ASQA will inform you of your options when advising you of ASQA’s decision.

How does ASQA ensure consistency amongst its auditors?

ASQA constantly seeks to ensure consistency among its auditors and employs several formal processes to minimise the potential for audit variation, including:

  • Regulatory moderation workshops: these are focused on moderating issues that may lead to inconsistency in audit outcomes, and on sharing approaches to overcome these issues.
  • Auditor moderation log: a dynamic record of ASQA’s agreed position on compliance issues. Auditors refer to this log when making compliance recommendations.
  • Audit report guidance: to ensure consistency in audit report content, auditors refer to a guide, which focuses on reasons for non-compliance, action required, and analysis of additional evidence/response.
  • Other processes that contribute to audit consistency including an online auditor discussion board.

ASQA also promotes transparency and accountability in its audit program through undertaking quarterly audit surveys each year.

Are state or territory occupational regulators/licensing bodies involved in ASQA audits?

A representative of a state or territory occupational licensing body may be invited to be part of the audit team and contribute to an ASQA audit as a technical advisor.

The technical advisor may provide ASQA with evidence-based recommendations.

Can I change a scheduled audit date if my circumstances change?

Audit dates can be changed in certain circumstances such as serious illness, however, ASQA will not change a date because it no longer suits a provider.

If you wish to change the date of your audit, you will need to contact your assigned auditor. The auditor will try to organise a new date within a one-month timeframe.

Will ASQA assess my VET and CRICOS registration at the same audit?

In most cases, if you have submitted the applications simultaneously, ASQA will assess compliance with the requirements for both registered training organisation (RTO) and Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registration at the same audit. ASQA will audit according to the student-centred audit model and the five stages of the student journey and the relevant standards—Standards for RTOs 2015, the National Code 2018, and/or the ELICOS Standards 2018—for each stage.

Under ASQA’s student-centred audit approach, is my training provider still likely to have an audit when renewing registration?

When a training provider applies to renew registration, ASQA undertakes a risk assessment of the application. This includes reviewing the provider’s risk profile and a wide range of other sources of data and intelligence.

In some cases, the risk assessment may indicate that an audit is required. (The application may also be approved or rejected at the risk assessment stage—read more about renewal applications here.)

ASQA’s risk-based approach means that applications do not always trigger an audit. Rather, ASQA may audit a provider at any time if risk indicators raise concern about the provider.

How does the student-centred model apply to a training provider that does not exercise good practices, but enrols 'non-genuine' students who may not provide accurate information about these practices to ASQA?

ASQA’s intelligence sources, which inform regulatory action against RTOs with ‘non-genuine students’, will continue to include a wide range of sources, such as other government agencies and information and complaints from non-student sources.

While the focus of the audit model is the student experience, students are only one of many sources of data that informs ASQA’s audit process.

How does the audit approach work for students undertaking online training?

ASQA applies the same audit approach to providers where students undertake online training. The student survey is conducted online for all audits.

Can consultants to the provider participate at an audit?

Yes, consultants can participate in an audit.

Why can providers not share the survey report or results from the student survey?

Student surveys are used by ASQA to inform the scope of audits. Student surveys help ASQA to identify potential areas of concern that may need to be further looked into during the audit process.

Survey findings may also be used to identify appropriate students for further involvement (i.e. interviews) as well as to corroborate/support audit findings.

ASQA holds the copyright for student survey findings document and providers are not permitted to republish these survey results in any form, including on their websites. The survey results alone are not an indicator of a provider’s quality. As such, to publish them is potentially misleading and could inaccurately imply to students ASQA’s endorsement of an provider’s performance in a particular area.

How can ASQA assist me if my provider closes?

ASQA can provide a copy of your student records if your former training provider has transferred them to us.

We can also advise you on how to continue your training and, depending on your situation, direct you to organisations that can assist you.

Why did my provider close?

An RTO might close because it has:

  • Entered voluntary administration: When a business goes into voluntary administration it means the business is financially troubled. An administrator takes control of the organisation, evaluates the issues, and makes recommendations. Frequently the business is then sold or enters liquidation. A business can either continue to trade or cease trading during voluntary administration.
  • Entered liquidation: This means the business is no longer financially viable and is winding up its affairs. The owner has either voluntarily entered liquidation or a creditor has requested their liquidation due to unpaid debts. The control of the organisation is transferred to the liquidator. The business must cease trading once it enters liquidation.
  • Had its registration cancelled by ASQA: ASQA will only cancel an RTO’s registration after investigating them and establishing they have not been delivering training to the standard required. ASQA publishes information about our regulatory decisions, including cancellations of registration and other regulatory decisions made.
  • Voluntarily withdrawn from the sector: This means the provider has elected to cease delivering nationally recognised training, and this could be for a number of reasons.

How do I obtain recognition of prior learning RPL?

All nationally accredited training organisations are required to offer RPL when a student is accepted.

The process and cost vary between training providers.

You can find providers offering your course on the My Skills website. You can discuss your options and the RPL process with your new provider.

How does the student-centred audit approach work for new applicants with no enrolments?

ASQA will look at an applicant’s intended practices and behaviours in relation to each stage of the student journey.

Is there going to be a revised set of standards drafted to better align to the student experience?

ASQA regulates providers against the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 (as well as the National Code 2018 and the ELICOS Standards 2018 for some providers) but does not set these legislative requirements.

The Standards for RTOs 2015 are endorsed by The Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Industry and Skills Council (CISC).

The Council comprises the Australian, state and territory ministers with responsibility for industry and/or skills within their jurisdiction.

When future CISC reviews of the Standards are undertaken, ASQA will be likely to make submissions based on its regulatory experience, including its experience of developing and administering the student-centred audit approach.

What if students provide inaccurate responses to the student survey—what rights/opportunities do I have to reply?

The student survey collects information from students about their individual experiences.

An individual student’s survey response will not, on its own, result in a training provider being found non-compliant. Student survey responses are one of many inputs that inform the areas that ASQA uses to inform the audit process and identify areas of an provider’s operation that may be of concern.

If concerns with a particular area are identified through the student survey, ASQA will seek further evidence to support this information, including through student interviews in some cases.

The training provider has an opportunity to respond to findings and evidence outlined in the audit report.

Can an RTO provide ASQA with the results of its own student survey, or undertake the survey on ASQA’s behalf?

Auditors may look at any relevant internal survey results; however, whether or not a provider conducts internal surveys will not affect the requirement for ASQA to survey a provider’s students.

The student survey is administered by ASQA to ensure students are able to provide honest and accurate information about their journey to an organisation independent of the training provider.

Our students do not read emails—how will ASQA deal with this?

ASQA is seeking an average response rate of 10 per cent of students invited to the survey. If the response rate is not achieved, ASQA will seek to improve this rate through reminders, including text (SMS) reminders. ASQA may also ask the provider to encourage students to participate in the survey.

How will ASQA survey students with, for example, intellectual disability?

Where students have specific communication needs, ASQA will work with the provider to identify these and to determine the best way to seek information on these students’ experiences. ASQA may use alternative methods such as face to face or phone interviews.

Do the ASQA student surveys replace the learner questionnaire?

No, the requirement for providers to collect and submit data relating to learner engagement is a requirement of the VET Quality Framework/Data Provision Requirements 2012.

ASQA’s collection of data from students as part of the audit process is a separate procedure.