ASQA Provider Roundtable Communiqué (November 2022)
The ASQA Provider Roundtable (the Roundtable) held its fourth meeting for 2022 on 8 November.
The Roundtable was chaired by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Christina Bolger.
ASQA Annual Report 2021-22
Members noted ASQA’s program of work in 2021-22 with a broad focus on five key areas:
- supporting the shift in regulatory approach toward provider self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes
- enhancing an educative approach and engagement with the sector
- maturing the approach to identify regulatory risk
- applying a mix of education, compliance and enforcement tools and approaches to prevent and manage risk - this is broadening ASQA’s regulatory reach through a range of risk-based regulatory practices to support and encourage continuous improvement and compel compliance
- building workforce capability and culture.
In 2021-22 ASQA continued to systematically implement planned reforms agreed to by Skills Ministers, in response to the Rapid Review of ASQA’s Regulatory Practices and Processes (Rapid Review) 2020. Fundamentally these reforms will shift the sector’s focus from inputs-based compliance to systemic monitoring and evaluation informed by feedback from stakeholders (trainer, assessors, students and industry and employers).
Training Package transition update
Members noted that the Australian Government decided (in consultation with states and territories) that the Training Package Assurance function will not transition to ASQA, as initially intended. The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) will instead establish an independent Training Package Assurance function for a limited time to ensure training products meet national standards. The Round Table members noted that ASQA is working closely with DEWR in relation to the Department’s transitional role in undertaking the training package assurance function.
Engagement with State Training Authorities
ASQA places a high value on engagement with states and territories. Members noted the various ways that this engagement supports a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities and effective interaction and two-way information exchange to understand risks and support quality assurance of VET.
The Round Table noted that ASQA will continue to ensure a high level of engagement and consultation in relation to any changes or updates to the cost recovery model. This strategy ensures that the CRIS remains a live document, aligned to best practice cost recovery principles.
The Round Table also received an update on Fee relief for ESOS providers who are only registered to deliver ELICOS courses (ELICOS-only providers) which will cease on 31 December 2022. The Annual Registration Charge was subject to the fee waiver and is not payable for 2022-23. All other applicable fees and charges will be resumed from 1 January 2023.
Approach to online requirements of National Code and ELICOS standards
On 19 October 2022, ASQA published a statement to advise providers delivering VET and ELICOS under the ESOS Framework that providers are expected to return to compliance with the National Code by 30 June 2023, where it is safe and practical to do so.
ASQA will work with the Department of Education to ensure consideration of the limits for online delivery reflect providers’ investment and the maturing of their approach and systems for multi-modal delivery during the pandemic, to enable providers who are doing this well to continue.
ASQA has proposed a Round Table working group to address risk and identify support required for providers’ return to compliance.
Opportunities for collaboration 2022-23
The Provider Round Table received an overview of planning for ASQA’s work in partnership with others in the coming year to prepare for implementation of new Standards.
The draft revised Standards for RTOs have been released for consultation.
Key information on the draft Standards
- DEWR is leading the development of the new Standards
- the new Standards will support ASQA in delivering on recommendations of the Rapid Review
- the new Standards will support self-assurance and are outcomes focused
- it is anticipated new Standards will come into effect in mid-2024
ASQA will be working through the details of our implementation planning with provider peak bodies, to ensure provider needs are considered and the development of our regulatory tools and processes to support the new Standards are informed by providers.
All members of the RoundTable have a part to play in supporting the shift in focus from inputs and compliance controls to systemic focus on outcomes intended by the standards and the actions of providers to monitor evaluate and continuously improve as well as manage risks to the achievement of outcomes described in the standards.
The Roundtable noted that during October 2022 ASQA conducted interviews with 7 ASQA regulatory teams, every state and territory government, the other VET regulators, Student Ombudsman, ITECA, TDA, Adult Learning Australia, NEAS, English Australia, and ERTOA. Currently interviews are being finalised, and ASQA is compiling and analysing the results to identify themes and review regulatory priorities. This process also includes linking regulatory data to verify ASQA’s understanding of the underlying compliance risks and trends. ASQA aims to make any necessary adjustments to refresh information relating to regulatory risk priorities early in the new year.
Members noted the work done to date and agreed to convene a workshop to contribute further to ASQA’s Regulatory Risk Priority for 2022-23 in relation to VET delivery to international students. This is an area of focus for ASQA as the nature and extent of VET delivered to international students, and its risk profile, is changing as the government and sector respond to initiatives to expand VET delivery to international students to support skilled migration, Australia’s economic recovery and improve the resilience of the international education sector.
Roundtable members will be contacted for further engagement in a workshop to identify and proactively treat risk in the International VET space.
Several other issues were raised by members including:
- interest in further engagement in return to compliance, especially for ELICOS providers
- the persistent shortages in the availability of trainers and assessors
- the need for a single narrative about changes to the VET sector – qualification reform, new Industry Clusters, etc
- amplifying messages to the sector around academic cheating and integrity
- improving the process for training package transitions.
These ideas will be further explored with the Roundtable to identify those that can be further understood or addressed through collaboration between ASQA, within its role as the National VET regulator and peak organisations.
The 2023 meetings of the Provider Roundtable will be finalised out of session.