ASQA Provider Roundtable Communiqué (February 2022)
The ASQA Provider Roundtable held its first meeting for 2022 on 9 February.
Priorities and planned engagement
The Roundtable, at its 9 February 2022 meeting, heard the Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) priorities for the remainder of the 2021-22 financial year, which include:
- continue to progress the co-design of a model of self-assurance with and for the VET sector
- develop an evaluation framework and evaluate the first phase of ASQA’s reforms
- conduct Customer Experience (CX) research as part of ASQA’s four-year Digital Roadmap, seeking stakeholder views on key connection points between ASQA and providers and ways in which interactions might be improved to support more efficient and effective regulation and reduce regulatory burden for providers
- continue to implement (in consultation with State and Territory Governments) the actions and recommendations of the Vocational Education and Training Delivered to Secondary School Students (VETDSSS) study
- implement a model of full cost recovery from 1 July 2022.
Members agreed the priorities are broadly aligned to the needs of the sector, and also suggested a number of particular focus areas within these priorities that ASQA could consider in the coming months, including, for example, intersections between a self-assurance model and fit-for-purpose approaches to regulating alternative modes of training delivery, and how the model self-assurance could best be used to support dual-sector providers in meeting their regulatory obligations.
Members noted a schedule of planned engagements is being developed to guide expectations for ASQA’s engagement with the Roundtable and the sector more broadly, to be made available on ASQA’s website once finalised.
COVID-19 response – quality and safety
The Roundtable discussed the key risks and challenges continuing or forecast to be experienced by the sector as a result of the ongoing pandemic, and particularly with the return of international students.
Members advised ASQA that some of the key challenges include (but are not limited to):
- compliance with the various Public Health Orders and rules in place both across and within jurisdictions
- challenges associated with requirements of government agencies at all levels of government, particularly for dual-sector providers
- a backlog of work placements, particularly in relation to those seeking placement in the aged and disability care sectors
- availability of trainers and assessors, particularly in critical shortage areas such as aged care
- the overall nature of training package reforms and administrative reporting requirements.
ASQA is focused on continuing to partner with the sector to understand risks to quality outcomes and be responsive to these risks, including ensuring education and guidance is current, engaging with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) on policy matters with regulatory implications, and taking regulatory action if and when required.
The Roundtable discussed the recent cost recovery working group meetings with members, the outputs of which informed the development of the draft Cost Recovery Implementation Statement. Members acknowledged that ASQA has engaged with the sector in an open and transparent way on the transition to full cost recovery – listening to and actioning issues and helping to support a shift in understanding for providers about why the change is occurring and encouraging providers to continue to engage constructively with ASQA.
Members discussed the importance of ensuring that providers have a clear understanding of how costs will be calculated, what ASQA is doing to ensure efficiencies, and their own accountabilities for providing ASQA with accurate information to avoid additional fees and charges.
Priorities of joint interest
The Roundtable discussed English Australia’s Future of English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) interim report including in relation to shared risk and the valuable work undertaken to date to determine the extent of potential non-compliance in the ELICOS sector.
Members discussed the opportunity the paper provides to identify risk and instigate conversations about the risks and opportunities associated with different delivery methods for English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) (i.e. online, virtual, face-to-face, simulator, robotics etc) and how to influence the next steps for policy and fit-for-purpose regulation. Members also noted the potential benefits of visibility of non-compliance so that ASQA can partner with the sector to address any areas of non-compliance in the delivery of ELICOS and support the return to compliance of providers in the most effective and proportionate manner.
The next meeting of the Provider Roundtable will be held on 4 May 2022.