ASQA Provider Roundtable Communiqué (July 2021)

Date published

The ASQA Provider Roundtable held its third meeting for 2021 on 6 July.

ASQA update

Roundtable Members noted that:

  • 1 July 2021 marked 10 years since the establishment of ASQA. The Hon. Stuart Robert MP, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, and the Hon. Steven Joyce, former New Zealand Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment participated in an event that recognised the important progress ASQA is making to drive co-operative relationships between ASQA, providers and other stakeholders, to be more transparent in its approach to regulation, as well as our work to promote and facilitate a culture of effective self-assurance as an integral part of a provider’s routine operations.
  • ASQA’s 2021–22 Corporate Plan, to be published soon, reflects feedback from the Roundtable and other stakeholders on the Performance Framework.
  • ASQA has welcomed and will carefully consider the Auditor-General’s recommendations and opportunities to improve, as outlined in the recently tabled ANAO report on ASQA’s Effectiveness of Planning and Implementation of Reform.
  • ASQA is making progress towards procuring a dedicated learning and engagement platform for providers.

Update on ASQA cost recovery

Roundtable Members noted the government’s decision to transition to full cost recovery from 1 January 2022 and ASQA’s work in this area:

  • ASQA is currently working on a transitional phase to implement the current cost recovery implementation statement (CRIS) and commence transition to full cost recovery through modelling, engagement and consultation with the sector from 1 January 2022.
  • Consultation with the sector will enable ASQA to develop a CRIS to implement a new model for cost recovery from 1 July 2022, consistent with ASQA’s regulatory approach and intent.
  • Over forward years, this can be further developed to align cost recovery with a more differentiated model of provider performance in line with new outcomes-based standards and demonstrated levels of provider self-assurance.

Regulatory reforms

Review of Application processes

ASQA will hold a consultation workshop in late August with Roundtable Members on the features of a possible future model for provider applications.

Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements

Roundtable Members noted that the existing Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements (FVRARs) will be extended for up to 18 months. ASQA will conduct a review to identify if amendments are required to the FVRARs, the way they are applied, or to the FVRA tool. Roundtable Members and other key stakeholders will be consulted in the review, which will help ensure the FVRARs align with ASQA’s enhanced regulatory approach, including the focus on self-assurance.

Current and emerging risks: member engagement

ASQA communicated how it is collaborating to identify regulatory risks and designing regulatory approaches and strategies that are well informed and take account of the current and emerging environment. This means sharing information with stakeholders to better understand risk, and raising awareness and providing clear feedback and support for providers to self-assure and continuously improve.

Engaging strategically with stakeholders about risk is central to ASQA’s enhanced Regulatory Risk Framework and Operating Model, supporting ongoing environmental scanning and the continuous improvement of regulatory outcomes.

Roundtable Members discussed risks, their characterisation and associated treatments identified by ASQA this quarter. Treatment actions for these risks are the responsibility of several agencies and jurisdictions across the VET sector.

ASQA will seek regular input from the Provider Roundtable as part of its ongoing environmental scanning for provider and systemic risk in the sector.

Strategic review and evaluation

VET delivered to secondary school students (VETDSSS) scoping study

The Roundtable discussed ASQA’s progress on this scoping study, which drew on regulatory data and intelligence, stakeholder insights and feedback, NCVER participation data, reviews and reports relating to VETDSSS, and information about state and territory delivery models, to identify risks associated with VETDSSS.

Roundtable Members noted that the VETDSSS final report is expected to be published shortly. The report will propose actions and a recommendation to work with stakeholders across the skills and education portfolios to support providers to self-assure and continuously improve the quality of VETDSSS.

Strategic review of online learning in the VET sector

In December 2020, ASQA launched a strategic review in response to the substantial shift to online learning in Australia’s VET sector and international education sectors due to the
COVID-19 pandemic. Review activities have included interactive webinars, a provider survey, and focus groups with VET and English language students.

Roundtable Members noted that ASQA’s next steps in this review are to critically analyse the information it has gathered through external consultations, review regulatory and participation data, and conduct internal and external consultation.

Self-assurance research partnership

Roundtable Members discussed ASQA’s plan to establish a long-term, translational research partnership to support the co-design, with the sector, of a shared model of self-assurance, as well as establishing a community of practice, and the progressive development of information and resources to support and measure provider capability to self-assure.

Member updates

Members discussed current activity including the Australian ELICOS market quarterly review, a review by the Department of Home Affairs of the Adult Migrant Education Program, and a Community Colleges Australia survey of online learning delivery by adult and community education providers.

Next meeting

In recognition of the value of Roundtable Member engagement, Members agreed to meet formally at least four times a year, with the next meeting to be held in September 2021.

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