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How does ASQA deal with non-compliance?

If ASQA identifies non-compliance, you will 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 a registered training organisation (RTO).

How does ASQA determine what level of sanction applies for non-compliance?

The NVR and ESOS Acts provide for sanctions of increasing severity—starting from written directions and additional conditions on registration through to suspending or cancelling a provider’s registration. ASQA applies these powers and sanctions with proportion, rigour, fairness and consistency.

In making these determinations, ASQA considers a range of factors related to the provider, the outcome of the specific activity and systemic risk issues that are relevant to the provider (for example, specific courses of concern). These factors are considered together when determining an appropriate response.

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.

How does ASQA make sure people who have been involved in serious non-compliance do not re-enter the market?

The VET Quality framework’s Fit and Proper Person Requirements allow ASQA to consider applicants’ prior involvement in RTO management when making decisions to grant registration or reregistration, or amend registration.

Later in 2019, ASQA will implement strengthened measures regarding change of ownership of providers, with a view to address the risk of people who have been involved with providers subject to serious sanctions re-entering the market by aligning with an existing provider.

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.

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.

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 long does the course accreditation process take?

If you develop and complete the course document and course accreditation submission in accordance with the Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012, ASQA may accredit your course within six months. However, this is an indicative timeframe only. Timeframes for course accreditation vary depending on a range of factors, including the quality of the submission.

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.

How long must CRICOS student assessment items be kept for?

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 requires Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers to keep student assessment records for a minimum of two years.

In addition, an registered training organisation (RTO) is required to securely retain, and be able to produce in full at audit if requested to do so, all completed student assessment items for each student for a period of six months from the date on which the judgement of competence for the student has been made.

Completed student assessment items include the actual piece(s) of work completed by a student or evidence of that work, including evidence collected for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. An assessor’s completed marking guide, criteria, and observation checklist for each student may be sufficient where it is not possible to retain the student’s actual work. However, the retained evidence must have enough detail to demonstrate the assessor’s judgement of the student’s performance against the standard required.

Qualifications, courses or units of competency that lead to regulated/licensed outcomes may also impose specific records retention requirements. RTOs should refer to specific regulatory requirements relating to that delivery.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

ASQA will finalise initial registration applications within six months of accepting a properly completed and fully compliant application. ‘Finalise’ means that ASQA has made a decision and advised the applicant (not that any review process has been completed).

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

ASQA completes the majority of Applications to renew RTO registration within six months.

How long will it take to process my request for delivery of VET courses of concern?

Providing the request is complete, ASQA aims to consider and respond to any request within 5 working days.

How long will my complaint about ASQA take to be considered?

In most cases, ASQA will undertake and finalise the investigation of a complaint within a six-week period.

How much will an overseas audit cost?

Overseas audits are charged as follows:

  • base rate of $1000, and
  • $250 per hour after the first four hours, and
  • any ASQA official travel costs, and
  • any additional reasonable expenses incurred by ASQA relating to the overseas part of the audit.

How much will my compliance audit cost?

Please refer to the Guide to ASQA’s fees and charges 2018–19 (PDF) for information about all audit charges.

How will ASQA survey students who are studying English (i.e. students who may have very limited English capacity)?

The survey questions have undergone cognitive testing to ensure that they are easy to complete for most students, including students who speak languages other than English.

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

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.

I am a former student who has completed a qualification, and now my RTO is approaching me and asking me to complete gap training. Do I have to complete the gap assessments?

Students who have already graduated may be asked to undertake ‘gap training’ or ‘gap assessment’ by their former RTO.

This means the RTO has identified a ‘gap’ in the student’s training and/or assessment and the RTO is seeking to help the student remedy that gap. RTOs may need to offer this training and/or assessment to current students or students who have graduated in the past six months.

Students are not obligated to undertake gap training offered by an RTO if they are no longer enrolled. However, in accordance with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), RTOs must have controls in place to ensure qualifications, statements of attainment and records of results are not issued unless the learner has completed all requirements. This means in some cases, an RTO may seek to revoke a qualification where a learner has not completed all the requirements.

Students should also consider that their original training may not have provided them with all the skills and knowledge that they need. Gap training and assessment can provide students with the opportunity to supplement or improve the skills and knowledge they developed when undertaking their qualification.

Students should not be charged a fee for gap training or assessment provided by an RTO beyond the original enrolment fee.

I am a student and my training provider has asked me to complete gap training as the result of an ASQA audit. What does this mean?

When ASQA audits a training provider, we look at the quality of the training and assessment that the provider is currently delivering and has delivered to former students.

In some cases, ASQA will find that the provider has not delivered training and assessment properly for a particular qualification or for some students.

When this happens, ASQA may ask the provider to undertake remedial action to make sure that their current and former students have received the quality of training and assessment that they are entitled to.

In some cases, a training provider may offer students ‘gap training’ or the chance to undertake ‘gap assessments’ to allow the students to develop the skills and knowledge they need. This gap training helps students to make sure that they have the required skills and knowledge expected for their qualification.

Training providers may offer gap training to current students, or students who have graduated in the past six months.

To ensure credibility of qualifications from the VET sector, training providers must meet the requirements of the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy, which states that issued qualifications and statements of attainment can be revoked under the terms of the issuing organisation’s policy.

Training providers must have controls in place to ensure qualifications, statements of attainment and records of results are not issued unless the learner has completed all requirements. This means in some cases, a training provider may seek to revoke a qualification where a learner has not completed all the requirements.

I am part way through study and I cannot get in contact with my provider. What should I do?

Contact ASQA on 1300 701 801 or email via enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au ASQA can tell you the most up-to-date information we have received about the provider or investigate further.

I can’t access the administration account to update details for my RTO, what do I need to do?

All RTO Chief Executives and Principal Executive officers were allocated a new log in and password when asqanet launched on 27 September 2016. If you are an RTO Chief Executive or CRICOS provider Principal Executive Officer and did not receive a new log in or password, please review the below.

If your contact information on training.gov.au was up-to-date at the time of asqanet launch

  1. Please check your junk mail/spam folder for the contact email address you have registered with training.gov.au for an email from noreply [at] asqanet.asqa.gov.au
  2. This email will include a temporary password which needs to be used to log in to the RTO administration account for the first time.
    • Please click on the link in this initial email to verify the portal administration account in the asqanet system
    • Enter the temporary password for the first time
    • Create a new password for future use.
  3. If you are unable to locate the email, please enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au (email the ASQA Info Line).

If your contact information was not fully up date at the time of the asqanet launch

If you are unable to locate the email from ASQA, this may be because your RTO had previously changed its CEO, or you had previously changed your email address, without updating your registered contact on training.gov.au.

If this is the case, please contact the Info Line on 1300 701 801.

I completed study several years ago, my provider is closed and I need a copy of my student records. What should I do?

ASQA may be able to provide you with copies of your student records, if your RTO transferred them to us. Contact ASQA to find out if we hold your records on 1300 701 801 or email via studentenquiries [at] asqa.gov.au. You will then need to complete an application for a copy of student records form.

I didn't enrol any students last year, do I still need to report to ASQA

If you provided any nationally recognised training or assessment services throughout the calendar year you need to provide a statutory declaration to ASQA.

I don’t know which third-party arrangements my RTO has notified ASQA of—how can I get this information?

The Standards for RTOs require an RTO to notify ASQA of any third party written agreement within 30 calendar days of that agreement being entered into or prior to the obligations under the agreement taking effect, whichever occurs first. Your RTO should have already notified ASQA of any current third-party arrangements that it has.

From mid-September 2019, RTOs will be able to access, add and cease all third-party arrangements via asqanet.

Prior to this service being available, RTOs are encouraged to ensure their written agreements are current and meet all requirements. RTOs will be informed when third-party arrangements are available to be viewed and recorded within asqanet. After this, RTOs can update their own records for accuracy and currency.

I have a unit of competency relating to a licensed outcome on my scope of registration. Does this mean I can issue licenses? Will a student who completes a unit of competency relating to a licensed outcome be eligible for a license from a licensing body?

No—it is the licensing body that will issue a license. The licensing body may set additional requirements for obtaining a license.

As a registered training organisation, you may issue a statement of attainment to students that have met the requirements of a unit of competency. However, this alone does not indicate eligibility for a licence.

Students and providers can find more information on the requirements for obtaining licenses from the relevant licensing bodies.

I have heard rumours my provider might close, what should I do?

If you hear rumours about your provider closing, contact ASQA on 1300 701 801 or email via enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au and we can tell you the most up-to-date information we have received, or we can investigate further.

I have submitted an application to become an RTO. What do I do if I forgot something or made a mistake?

Please send an email explaining the details of the change to enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au. ASQA will contact you about what happens next.

I provide training under a third party arrangement with an RTO and have had my agreement cancelled by the RTO. What happens to the students I have been delivering to?

At all times the RTO is ultimately responsible for any student enrolled under its RTO banner. This includes where a student has been enrolled, and is being delivered to, by a third party.

Prior to enrolment, a student must have been informed of this third party arrangement and the student must clearly understand who the RTO is that they are enrolled with.

The RTO must ensure that, prior to 1 January 2020, any currently enrolled student is only studying with the RTO or with a third party that fulfils the requirements.

I want to commence a new third party arrangement