ASQA has published updated guidance on third-party arrangements that will come into effect from 1 September 2019 for new third-party arrangements and 1 November 2019 for existing arrangements’.
This updated guidance comprises:
- a new Fact sheet—third-party arrangements, which sets out the practical implications for providers seeking to deliver training and assessment
- a new General Direction—third-party arrangements for training and or assessment of VET courses, which provides clarity and guidance on third-party arrangements permitted under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (the NVR Act).
Why has ASQA revised its advice?
Registered training organisations (RTOs) have indicated that they are unclear of the extent to which they can use third parties for the delivery of training and assessment. ASQA has found some RTOs hold arrangements for delivery of training and assessment by third parties that do not meet the requirements of the NVR Act and, therefore, cannot be entered into.
ASQA holds concerns with third parties undertaking marketing and recruitment on behalf of RTOs that is not in line with the requirements of the NVR Act. ASQA’s guidance clarifies the existing requirement for VET courses to be marketed in the name of and on behalf of a registered training organisation that is registered to deliver that course only. This helps to ensure students know who will provide their course.
In addition, ASQA has identified a risk to the quality of VET through a number of RTOs entering into third-party arrangements for delivery of training products from the Training and Education (TAE) Training Package. TAE training products have been identified by ASQA as ‘VET courses of concern’.
The General Direction—third-party arrangements for training and or assessment of VET courses sets a requirement for RTOs to seek written agreement from ASQA prior to entering into a new third party arrangement for any VET course of concern as of 1 September 2019. The General Direction requires RTOs to seek written agreement from ASQA before 1 November 2019 to continue existing arrangements.
I have existing arrangements for delivery of training and assessment by a third party—how will I be affected?
ASQA has emailed all training providers that have previously notified the regulator that they hold third-party arrangements with information about the new requirements and the transition period. If you have not received this email, please contact the ASQA Info Line on enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au
Third-party arrangements for VET in schools
Schools that are also RTOs
Where a school is also an NVR Act RTO, then the school is the principal that enters into a third-party agreement with an external RTO and that agreement specifies the services and facilities that the school will provide and the activities that the third party will be responsible for.
Where the school RTO does not have the qualification on scope, then the third-party RTO will be responsible for enrolment, the outcomes of the training and assessment, and the issuing of the qualification to the student. The third-party RTO must have the qualification on its scope of registration at all times.
The school RTO is not required to have the qualification on scope to enter into a third-party agreement with an external RTO that has the qualification on scope.
Schools that are not RTOs
Where the school is not an NVR Act RTO, then the school procures the service from the external RTO and the RTO as principal enters into a third-party agreement with the school to cover the provision by the school of facilities, staff etc. to the extent that is part of the arrangement.
The RTO will be responsible for enrolment, training and assessment, and the issuing of the qualification to the student. The RTO must have the qualification on its scope of registration at all times.
We acknowledge that this in some cases differs from current practice where the school has acted as if the school was a separate entity from the school RTO which in some cases is not the case.
When does the revised advice come into effect?
You may not enter into any new arrangements that do not meet the requirements outlined in ASQA’s guidance from 1 September 2019.
All third-party arrangements, including existing arrangements, must meet the requirements outlined in ASQA’s General Direction from 1 November 2019. For more information on what this means for your RTO, please refer to the email advice ASQA has provided.