ASQA Provider Roundtable Communiqué (November 2021)
The ASQA Provider Roundtable held its fifth meeting for 2021 on 9 November.
VET sector developments
Members discussed updates from the Chair on VET sector developments relating to the new qualifications development framework, and the DESE review of the Standards for RTOs.
Qualifications development framework: Industry Clusters
Members discussed the recently announced Industry Clusters, which will replace Industry Reference Committees and Skills Service Organisations by 2023. Members expressed interest for further information related to the qualifications development framework, the structure and scope of the Industry Clusters, and the timeframes and governance arrangements. ASQA will provide this feedback to DESE.
DESE review of the Standards for RTOs
Members were keen to understand the status of the DESE review of the Standards for RTOs, and next steps. ASQA will provide this feedback to DESE.
Members noted a project ASQA has underway to examine and identify improvements to its process for managing complaints made against training providers.
Members noted ASQA’s plans to consult with the Roundtable on the Annual Declaration on Compliance, including its future use in promoting provider self-assurance, and on the development of the ASQA Engagement and Education Management System. ASQA will continue to engage with the Roundtable on the development of a future model for provider registrations.
Members discussed regulatory activity data published in the recently tabled ASQA Annual Report 2020–21, regarding the number of applications completed, percentage of applications approved, percentage of applications rejected or withdrawn, outcomes of course accreditation applications, number of audits completed by type, and regulatory decisions.
ASQA cost recovery
Members were presented with a summary of ASQA’s proposed plan to work with stakeholders on the implementation of full cost recovery. ASQA will establish a Provider Roundtable Working Group on ASQA Cost Recovery and arrange its first meeting in December 2021.
Members reiterated comments about the need for clear communications, the impact on dual sector providers, and ensuring the sector can undertake forward planning around budgets.
Strategic regulatory priorities: Provider self-assurance, and online learning
Provider self-assurance, and online learning, are two of ASQA’s 2021–22 Regulatory Risk Priorities. Members received an update on both priorities and on next steps in engagement.
ASQA has engaged ORIMA Research to lead, in partnership, the co-design of the model for self-assurance with the VET sector. Members were introduced to the ORIMA Research representatives who will co-lead the multi-year project, and noted a proposed four-phase plan for engaging the sector and developing the model.
ASQA noted that consultation on all aspects of the project was just commencing and encouraged Members to raise any concerns directly and at the first consultation session with ORIMA Research, scheduled for the third week of November.
Members received an update on ASQA’s strategic review of online learning and its recent publication of two Insights Papers, the second of which reported on student experiences of the shift online in response to COVID-19. The third and fourth Insights Papers are being developed, and ASQA is soon hosting a webinar for providers, offering insights and practical suggestions for delivering quality VET from the regulator’s perspective.
ASQA will continue to engage with key stakeholders, including by gaining early feedback on draft Insights Papers from the SLG subgroup on online learning. At the conclusion of the strategic review, ASQA will publish a summative report with findings, actions and recommendations.
ASQA Digital Roadmap
Members were presented with a summary of ASQA’s four-year plan for digital business and customer experience transformation, which envisages better, easier interactions that lead providers quickly to their desired outcomes.
ASQA’s focus for 2022 will be to design and build new digital services for provider registration. Roundtable Members will preview and provide feedback on the initial set of solutions.
Members noted the importance of engaging providers as early as possible in the design, including dual-sector providers who interact with both ASQA and TEQSA.
Provider Roundtable and SLG
Members of the ASQA SLG are this month considering a review of the SLG’s Terms of Reference. Such a review was provided for at the group’s foundation in July 2020. In September 2021 the Provider Roundtable agreed to the need to increase alignment and interface between the two consultative groups, and at the November 2021 meeting, Roundtable Members were encouraged to submit amendments to the Roundtable Terms of Reference in this context.
ASQA will publish the resulting endorsed Terms of Reference for both groups.
Roundtable Member updates
Feedback for ASQA’s direct knowledge and attention, as noted above, were:
- ASQA cost recovery
- Annual Declaration on Compliance
- Regulatory settings for online learning.
Other Member updates related to:
- A reported shortage of trainers, especially but not only for Certificate III Individual Support and Foundation Skills.
- Continued shortage of work placements, particularly in those states most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Return-to-training challenges for students of adult and community education, especially among cohorts of vulnerable and disadvantaged learners in New South Wales and Victoria.
- The continued need for clarity around vaccines and mandates for certain students in certain industries, and associated compliance by providers.
The next meeting of the Provider Roundtable will be held on 9 February 2022.