In line with the Australian Government’s commitment to reducing the regulatory burden on business, in 2014 ASQA began rolling out a package of regulatory reform initiatives which included:
- enhanced information and guidance for training providers to assist them in complying with the required national standards
- reduced regulatory scrutiny on providers with a track record of compliance, and
- a sharper regulatory focus on providers who remain seriously non-compliant with the required standards.
As part of this reform package, ASQA provided high-performing RTOs with the ability to manage their own scope of registration. This means that these are RTOs are able to add new training products to their registration without applying to ASQA and paying an application fee.
ASQA support for delegates
ASQA will work with delegates to ensure they have the information and support that they need to manage their own scope of registration.
During the implementation period, ASQA is running information sessions and webinars to answer questions and hear feedback from delegates. ASQA has also created a delegations information line, 1300 404 504, to provide advice and assistance to delegates.
Accepting a delegation is a decision for each RTO to make after considering the associated business and compliance implications. An ASQA delegation may not be suitable for all RTOs and therefore the list of ASQA delegates should not be considered a comprehensive indicator of the best RTOs in the VET sector. Additionally the granting of a delegation by ASQA does not indicate or imply that the listed RTOs are of a higher standard or of a lower risk than other RTOs.
Implementing the delegations policy
ASQA is implementing this initiative in three stages. Stages one and two are now complete.
Stage 1 (October 2014)
RTOs met the following criteria to be eligible for a delegation of regulatory responsibility:
- the RTO had been registered for at least five years
- the RTO had been renewed by ASQA without audit, or have been renewed with no non-compliances identified at audit, and
- there were no outstanding regulatory concerns or regulatory actions being taken against the RTO.
Stage 2 (July 2015)
Some RTOs who had been registered for at least five years were invited to fast-track their opportunity to demonstrate eligibility for a delegation of regulatory responsibility, via a limited compliance audit focused on Standards One, Two, Four and Five. RTOs that demonstrated full compliance with these standards and who met the other eligibility requirements were invited to apply for a delegation.
Stage 3 (May 2016)
ASQA will review RTOs that have previously been ineligible for an ASQA delegation—due to non-compliance identified at a renewal audit and later rectified.
This comprehensive review will be conducted in accordance with ASQA’s updated risk model, which will consider a broad range of factors including the RTO’s compliance history, governance, website and marketing information.
Consideration will be given to enrolment numbers and RTO size to ensure that larger providers with a positive compliance posture are not disadvantaged.
Following these reviews:
- RTOs that are considered suitable will be invited to accept an ASQA delegation.
- In addition, some RTOs will be determined as ‘provisionally eligible’—if they wish to pursue a delegation, these RTOs will be required to undergo a further assessment of their eligibility through a limited compliance audit—at their own expense—focused on Standards One, Two, Four and Five. Following the limited compliance audit, the RTOs may be invited to accept and ASQA delegation.
- RTOs that are not considered suitable will not be invited to accept an ASQA delegation; these RTOs will be assessed again when their registration is due for renewal.
Eligibility for a delegation with ASQA
Following completion of the implementation stage in mid-2016, ASQA will implement an ongoing policy for determining which RTOs are eligible for a delegation.
From late 2016, ASQA will assess the suitability of each RTO for a delegation at the completion of that RTO’s renewal of registration application process. The comprehensive review will be conducted in accordance with ASQA’s risk model and will consider a broad range of factors including the RTO’s compliance history, governance, website and marketing information. Consideration will be given to enrolment numbers and RTO size to ensure that larger providers with a positive compliance posture are not disadvantaged.
At the conclusion of this review, the RTO will be either:
- Eligible for a delegation based on the fact that their renewal of registration application was approved at the risk assessment stage or at audit with either no or minor noncompliance identified. ASQA will also have identified no other regulatory concerns regarding these RTOs through a comprehensive due diligence check.
- Provisionally eligible. RTOs whose renewal of registration application was approved at audit after rectifying multiple areas of noncompliance will be invited to express their interest in becoming an ASQA delegate. These RTOs will be required to undergo a limited compliance audit – at their own expense – focused on Standards One, Two, Four and Five. ASQA will also have identified no other regulatory concerns regarding these RTOs through a comprehensive due diligence check.
- Not eligible. RTOs who have had significant noncompliance identified at audit or who ASQA harbours regulatory concern about will not be eligible for a delegation. These RTOs will need to demonstrate a positive compliance posture through consistent compliance with the Standards and will be reconsidered at their next renewal of registration.
Process for delegating regulatory responsibility
If ASQA finds your organisation eligible for a delegation of responsibility, you will receive an invitation to apply via email.
Organisations that decide to accept the invitation will receive a Delegation Agreement which sets out the required conditions associated with being an ASQA Delegate. These requirements include:
- agreeing to provide data to ASQA when exercising the delegation so that your RTO’s scope of registration can be amended on training.gov.au
- having a documented quality assurance system in place to manage VET regulatory functions and operations
- agreeing to be audited—at your own cost—by an ASQA-approved external panel auditor if and when this is required by ASQA (the audit will be conducted against the requirements set out in the Delegations Agreement)
- remaining compliant with the national VET Quality Framework throughout the period of the Delegations Agreement, and
- nominating a representative of the RTO as the delegate contact.
You will need to consider the implications of the delegation on your RTO’s business processes and compare the costs to the benefits of accepting the responsibility of amending your own scope of registration prior to signing and returning the Delegation Agreement.
Once you have signed and returned the Delegation Agreement, ASQA will issue a Delegation Instrument which formally grants the RTO the regulatory power to amend their own scope of registration.
Change of Ownership to an RTO with a Delegation
A change of ownership to an RTO with a Delegation requires the RTO to notify ASQA of the change via the submission of a Notification of Material Change or Event (via asqanet). ASQA reserves the right to revoke a delegation if it has concerns over the new owners of the RTO.
All Delegates that change ownership will be required to undergo a delegation audit (at their expense) 12 months after the change of ownership has occurred to ensure the quality management system requirements are being met.