Self-assurance through quality Standards
In recent years, ASQA has been working closely with the sector to increase the focus on how RTOs monitor and evaluate, continuously improve and manage risk to quality training outcomes.
This transition began in 2020 following the Rapid Review of the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s Regulatory Practices and Processes (the Rapid Review). At the time, the move from input and compliance controls to a focus on self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes was identified as a long-term vision for ASQA.
To date, this transition has involved substantial changes to ASQA’s regulatory approach and practice, and continuing work with RTOs to build their capacity and commitment for taking responsibility for their ongoing compliance with the Standards. This includes:
- increasingly focusing on provider systems of self-assurance when assessing provider performance against the relevant Standards
- increasing communication with providers when assessing provider performance against the relevant Standards
- developing guidance and support for providers to assist them in understanding regulatory requirements
- clarifying our expectations around systemic monitoring, evaluation and continuous improvement against the Standards
- engaging with providers about areas of risk and sharing our regulatory insights with the sector to support providers in critically reviewing their own performance
- clearly communicating with non-compliant providers, so they can understand where they have not met requirements and where they need to improve their performance
- when we identify non-compliance, responding with a range of regulatory tools that reflect consideration of both the nature and seriousness of the non-compliance and whether the provider demonstrates an understanding of the non-compliance and a willingness to rectify and has systems in place to monitor its own compliance.
We also undertook extensive engagement with the sector through a co-design process to define self-assurance and identify the practices RTOs undertake to assure the quality of training they deliver. This co-design process was a valuable conversation with the sector about the practices providers need to implement to assure quality and how RTOs can tailor a range of assurance activities proportionate to the risk of their operations.
The collaborative work between ASQA and the sector culminated in a working model of self-assurance which unpacks the practices encompassed within the concept of self-assurance. It points to practices that providers can develop and implement to assure themselves of the quality of training outcomes they achieve. It means RTOs have their own systems and practices to systematically monitor, evaluate and continually improve their training outcomes and performance across quality areas of student engagement and support, ongoing industry and community engagement, staff capability and ongoing development and leadership and governance.
Following feedback on the working model of self-assurance released at the end of Phase 2 of the co-design process, monitoring and evaluation and continuous improvement of effective training and assessment practices was also recognised as integral to how providers self-assure the quality of training outcomes. While implicit in previous versions of our understanding of self-assurance, identifying training and assessment practices explicitly helped to communicate the ultimate intention of self-assurance.
Preliminary results of ASQA’s annual provider survey in 2023, show that since 2022, providers are more likely to have undertaken the following self-assurance activities to support leadership and governance:
- Monitored and evaluated training and assessment practices, systems and processes
- Used the outcomes of evaluations to continually improve training assessment strategies and practices
- Undertook risk management activities.