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Clauses 2.3, 2.4 and 8.3—Recording, monitoring and reporting third‑party arrangements

Clause 2.3

The RTO ensures that where services are provided on its behalf by a third party the provision of those services is the subject of a written agreement.

Clause 2.4

The RTO has sufficient strategies and resources to systematically monitor any services delivered on its behalf, and uses these to ensure that the services delivered comply with these Standards at all times.

Clause 8.3

The RTO notifies the Regulator:

  • a) of any written agreement entered into under clause 2.3 for the delivery of services on its behalf within 30 calendar days of that agreement being entered into or prior to the obligations under the agreement taking effect, whichever occurs first, and
  • b) within 30 calendar days of the agreement coming to an end.

What clauses 2.3, 2.4 and 8.3 mean for your RTO

RTOs are responsible for:

  • monitoring independent third parties (clauses 2.3 and 2.4)
  • reporting on any third-party arrangements entered into or concluding (clause 8.3).

If you do not use other organisations to provide any RTO-related services, you do not need to take any action relating to these requirements.

What third-party arrangements can an RTO have?

ASQA has developed additional guidance for RTOs on third-party arrangements.

You should read and understand the:

Your RTO is responsible for all services delivered under its registration, regardless of where these are conducted, including in other countries. This responsibility applies to all your obligations as an RTO, including:

  • providing data
  • cooperating with ASQA
  • complying with advertising and marketing standards
  • informing prospective students
  • dealing with complaints and appeals
  • collecting fees
  • record-keeping.

Third-party arrangements must be documented and transparent to assist you in managing the quality of services and in effectively identifying and managing the risks.

You must have a written agreement with any third party that delivers services on behalf of your RTO, including services such as:

  • training and/or assessment
  • providing educational and support services
  • recruiting prospective students.

Refer to the Fact sheet—third-party arrangements for more information.

The requirement for a written agreement does not apply when:

  • you hire trainers and/or assessors as contractors
  • you make arrangements for advertising your services
  • a workplace supervisor contributes to evidence collection or training.

Guidance for VET Student Loans-approved providers

VET Student Loans-approved providers are prohibited from using any third party in recruiting students or providing information about VET Student Loans.

Working with third parties: What RTOs need to know

YES

An RTO can engage another RTO under a third party arrangement to deliver training and/or conduct assessment on their behalf as long as:

  • the third party RTO has the relevant course on scope (refer to Sections 93 and 94 of the NVR Act).

YES

An RTO can engage a non-RTO (either a natural person or legal entity) under a third party arrangement to deliver training and/or conduct assessment on their behalf as long as:
  • this is done entirely in the RTO’s name and on the RTO’s behalf (refer to Sections 116 and 117 of the NVR Act).

YES

Trainers and/or assessors engaged by an RTO as an employee or contractor can deliver training and assessment for the RTO without being subject to the requirements in the Standards for RTOs that govern third party arrangements.

YES

Services other than the delivery of training and conduct of assessment can be delivered using third party arrangements, providing these comply with the requirements of the NVR Act and the Standards for RTOs.

NO

An RTO cannot engage a non-RTO third party to provide training and/or assessment for ‘VET courses of concern’ without prior written approval from ASQA.

NO

An RTO cannot use a third party arrangement to avoid responsibility for compliance with the NVR Act or the Standards for RTOs and is wholly responsible for all services provided on its behalf.

NO

An RTO cannot engage another RTO to deliver a VET course on its behalf, unless the third party RTO has that course on scope.

NO

A non-RTO third party cannot offer to provide or provide a VET course under its own name. That is, a third party cannot:
  • advertise, offer to provide or provide a VET course in its own name
  • issue qualifications or statements of attainment in its own name or with its logo included.

For more information on third-party arrangements, refer to:

Case study—Third-party arrangements with an employment agency

The ABP Workfind employment agency has been appointed by a government agency to identify if their clients are in the target group for a funded training program place. ABP Workfind refers its clients to one of several RTOs under this arrangement. ABP Workfind does not receive a fee for this referral and is not considered to be a third party as it is operating on behalf of the state government.

However, ABP Workfind also has an agreement in place with a specific RTO—Quality Training—which specifies that ABP Workfind will utilise Quality Training for training and assessment to be provided to its clients. Quality Training may or may not pay ABP Workfind a fee in exchange for the enrolment of clients into a training product delivered by Quality Training. This arrangement would be considered a third-party arrangement.

Activities related to the recruitment of prospective learners (students) may only be undertaken by a third party where these activities are subject to a written agreement. The third party may only recruit as an agent of your RTO, using the name of your RTO. They may not undertake recruitment using the name of their business.

If a third party is directly engaging in two-way communication with individual prospective students about undertaking training and/or assessment at your RTO, they are undertaking activities related to the recruitment of prospective students.

To help each party understand its obligations, your written agreement should explain what is expected from each party in detail. For example, as your RTO is responsible for all marketing of your RTO’s services, details of how marketing undertaken by the third party will be approved by your RTO should be included in the written agreement.

The written agreement must require that any third party delivering services cooperate with ASQA by providing information at any time it is requested and during audits and other monitoring activities.

A guide to compliance

Before entering into a third-party agreement, ensure that you have read and understood ASQA’s guidance on third-party arrangements:

RTOs only need to retain evidence relating to these clauses if they have arrangements with third parties in place.

Your RTO must retain evidence of current written agreements for all third-party arrangements. While you can determine the format these agreements, any agreements should clearly describe the obligations of each party.

Your RTO must also retain evidence that you have developed and implemented strategies to systematically monitor services provided under third-party agreements to ensure that these services comply with the Standards. The evidence required to demonstrate compliance will depend on the extent of these arrangements. For example:

  • If your RTO has multiple arrangements, or arrangements for delivery outside Australia, a scheduled monitoring program may be required to make sure the monitoring is systematic and that enough resources are available.
  • If your RTO has a single, tightly controlled arrangement, less formality may be needed.

Evidence could include schedules of reviews conducted and reports on these reviews. If a review identifies non-compliance, your RTO needs to retain evidence that this has been corrected and that the RTO is now compliant.

Your RTO must notify ASQA whenever it starts or ends a third-party agreement. Third-party arrangements may increase risk to the quality of your services; as such, any third-party arrangements will be considered as part of your provider risk profile.

You must notify ASQA of third-party arrangements using the online form on the ASQA website.

ASQA’s fact sheet on third-party arrangements includes additional guidance on meeting your obligations in relation to any such arrangements.

You should be aware that ASQA may interview third parties to verify how your arrangements are being implemented and monitored in practice and how practices align with your written agreements.

Tips on developing a written agreement

The written agreement with a third party should include:

  • the names of the RTO and the third party
  • the start and end date of the agreement
  • clauses detailing both parties’ obligations under the agreement, for example, making clear that:
    • any training and/or assessment is provided in the name of the RTO, not the third party
    • the third party cannot advertise any VET courses in its own name 
    • students are enrolled as students of the RTO, not the third party
    • qualifications and/or statements of attainment are issued in the name of the RTO, not the third party
  • clauses detailing the obligations of the third party (that is, setting out which party will provide training and assessment materials, resources and facilities)
  • the mechanisms through which the RTO will systematically monitor the third party (for example, if the third party is providing the training and assessment materials, resources and facilities), set out:
    • how these will be reviewed prior to use across all delivery sites 
    • how the RTO will ensure that trainers and/or assessors provided by the third party meet the requirements of the Standards for RTOs
  • record-keeping procedures for enrolment information and completed assessments 
  • details of which party will validate completed student assessments
  • any obligations (of the RTO or third party) relating to government subsidies or other financial support
  • clauses requiring the third party to cooperate with ASQA and provide accurate responses to requests about delivery of services.

A written agreement with a third party providing recruitment services on your behalf might include:

  • the name of your RTO and the third party
  • the start and end date of the agreement
  • clauses detailing both parties’ obligations under the agreement, for example, making clear that:
    • the third party cannot advertise any VET courses in its own name 
    • students are enrolled as students of the RTO, not the third party
    • qualifications and/or statements of attainment are issued in the name of the RTO, not the third party
  • clauses detailing your RTO’s obligations under the agreement—for example, you might stipulate that your RTO will:
    • review all marketing initiatives
    • provide current and accurate pre-enrolment information
    • ensure that all information provided to a student meets the requirements specified in clauses 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 of the Standards
    • arrange translation of all materials in languages other than English.
  • clauses detailing the obligations of the third party—for example, you might stipulate that the third party will:
    • provide your RTO with all marketing material before publishing
    • provide student enrolment information and student fees to the RTO
    • train their staff to assist with training package and enrolment enquiries.
    • any of your RTO’s obligations, or the third party’s obligations, relating to VET Student Loans, government-funded subsidies or other financial support
    • detail of arrangements for commission or fees to be retained by the third party
    • the mechanisms through which your RTO will systematically monitor the third party
  • clauses requiring the third party to cooperate with ASQA and to provide accurate responses to requests about provision of services.

Guidance for applicants for initial registration

If you are intending to use any third-party arrangements, you must have written agreements in place.

You must be able to show how you intend to monitor such arrangements.