ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group Communiqué (March 2021)

The ASQA Stakeholder Liaison Group (SLG) held its first meeting for 2021 on 16 March 2021.

ASQA update

The SLG discussed the following updates:

Reform of organisational governance and structure

Since the SLG met in November 2020, ASQA has continued to enhance its governance arrangements and organisational structure to deliver on the Ministerial Statement of Expectations. This includes developing four-year strategic deliverables in support of ASQA’s strategic objective, the publication of a Risk Management Policy Statement, and the establishment of internal governance committees to provide strategic oversight.

Changes coming into effect on 6 April 2021

On 6 April 2021, ASQA will be undergoing a significant restructuring – with the Regulatory Operations teams splitting into Quality Assessment Teams and Compliance Teams. The ASQA performance assessment (audit) function will become a performance assessment function that will employ a more extensive range of strategies to assess performance. A separate compliance function is being established to determine the appropriate response to any areas of non-compliance.

ASQA regulatory reform

SLG members discussed the key components of ASQA’s regulatory approach commencing on 6 April 2021. To support the change to its operations, ASQA has developed an integrated suite of documents that detail its regulatory approach, namely:

  • Regulatory Risk Framework
  • Regulatory Operating Model
  • Approach to assessing performance
  • Compliance Policy, and
  • Internal Review Policy

SLG members were among the sector stakeholders whom ASQA consulted to help develop its regulatory approach, and their contribution was acknowledged with appreciation.

In the meeting, a number of additional suggestions were raised by SLG members for consideration by ASQA, including the need for clear guidance on the publication of decisions and clarity of the circumstances for notification to state entities or other agencies of provider non-compliance.

Members shared their insights of how self-assurance is undertaken in practice, noting the positive opportunity for the VET regulator, providers and consultants to work together over the long term to enhance quality outcomes through improved self-assurance.

ASQA encouraged SLG members to continue to provide real-time feedback as the regulatory reforms are implemented from 6 April, and undertook to consult members in the development of a post-implementation evaluation framework later in 2021.

Education and Guidance

Education and guidance program of work for 2021

SLG members discussed ASQA’s Education and Guidance plan for 2021, which focuses on supporting sector-wide compliance and quality by building an understanding of provider self-assurance, continuous improvement, and excellence through more comprehensive learning opportunities.

ASQA acknowledged SLG member feedback in the development of the 2021 plan, as well as member input into new education and guidance products such as the Spotlight On series, which looks at dedicated compliance topics chosen from industry feedback and questions raised by providers.

ASQA’s planned Education and Guidance program of work for 2021 will include two streams of external guidance information: essential compliance and quality information to support all providers; and a platform that will enhance provider access to further learning resources. SLG members will be consulted on the scoping of the development work for this product.

Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

As the national regulator, ASQA engages and partners with stakeholders constructively and with mutual respect.

ASQA will consult with the SLG in the development of a Stakeholder Engagement Strategy that will articulate ASQA’s priorities for engaging stakeholders over the next four years.

Moderation: Credit transfers – Informing ASQA’s advice

SLG members discussed their experience of how credit transfers are defined and approved, to inform ASQA’s communication of its position and help improve the consistency of education and guidance on the topic.

ASQA will update its guidance for providers on credit transfers once it has consulted further with VET experts and considered its position.

Strategic Projects

SLG members noted an update on two pieces of work arising from the ASQA Regulatory Strategy 2020–2022.

ASQA’s VET delivered to secondary school students (VETDSSS) scoping study is nearing completion, with the findings due to be finalised by the end of March 2021.

ASQA’s strategic review of online learning in the VET sector was launched in December 2020, and has included a webinar discussion led by a panel comprising ASQA and industry representatives, focused on building e-learning capability and the new TAE digital skill set. A follow-up webinar discussion was held to further explore questions and issues raised.

A survey is being conducted independently on behalf of ASQA and has been sent to registered providers.

All providers are encouraged to contribute their insights to the strategic review, which is scheduled for completion in August 2021.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the SLG will be held on 18 May 2021.

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