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ASQA by the numbers

11 June 2015

update

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At a recent ACPET forum (9 June), ASQA chief commissioner Chris Robinson provided details of the agency’s regulatory activities since it commenced operations in July 2011.

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ASQA now covers the activities 3898 Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), 85.2 % of all RTOs.   Some 357 RTOs (7.8% ) remain under the jurisdiction of the   Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority (the Victorian government is considering options to transfer regulatory responsibility to ASQA, although the numbers covered by the VRQA have declined from 583 in 2011 to 357 at the end of 2014) and 318 RTOs (7%) remain with the WA Training Accreditation Council.

According to Robinson,  to the end of 2014, ASQA had approved about 600 new RTOs but the overall number of RTOs in its jurisdiction had declined by about 400, meaning that, for one reason or another, 1000 existing  RTOs in 2011 had folded by 2014 (this is not actually shown in his presentation).  This includes 83 RTOs whose registration ASQA cancelled and 134 RTOs whose re-registration was refused.

ASQA had received 24159 applications to the end of 2014, 20093 (83%) of which were for change of scope of registration (add or remove qualifications), 2418 (10%) for renewal of registration,  1075 (4.4%%) for initial registration and 573 (2.37%0 to withdraw registration as an RTO.  ASQA had completed 23,575 (96.7%) of these applications.

ASQA has refused 669 of these applications (about 2.7%) – 142 initial applications, 134 renewal applications and 393 change of scope applications. ASQA says this means 6.1% of renewal applications were refused, 15.1% initial registration applications (although on the above figures, it seems about half that) and about 2% of change of scope applications.

Robinson said that ASQA continues to be disappointed that, during re-registration audits, most RTOs fail to comply with standards relating to their “core business – training and, in particular assessment.  Only 32% meet the general requirement on training and assessment, although this rises to 85% compliance following a 20 day “rectification” period.   Nearly 72% of RTOs audited are found to be non-compliant with one or another standard. However, compliance seems to have improved considerably over the period, with 93% of RTOs audited in the period 1 July – 31 December 2014 showing compliance with the general standard, rising to 99% following rectification (see slide 9 of the presentation).

ASQA compliance

A consistent finding of audits is that many RTOs are offering courses that are too short to allow adequate delivery and assessment. Robinson cited as an example the Certificate III in Aged Care.  AQF guidelines indicate 12-24 months duration for the volume of learning in the course.  However, only 30% of RTOs delivering the course meet this guideline while over on-third of RTOs offered the course over 15 weeks or less.

Recent reforms will focus ASQA’s regulatory scrutiny on providers who do not provide quality training while allowing those providers who offer high quality training and assessment to undertake these activities without unnecessary regulatory burden.  According to Robinson, the reforms :

  • lower regulatory burden and cost on high quality, fully compliant RTOs through an earned autonomy strategy
  • provide more support to RTOs who are trying to comply but have some difficulties in fully meeting the standards through education and information
  • apply even more rigorous regulation of seriously non-compliant, poor quality providers
  • further implement a modern risk-based regulatory approach moving the VET regulatory trigger from the submission of an application by an RTO to better identifying and managing risk.

A key feature of the ASQA VET reform package is offering high-performing RTOs the ability to manage their own scope of registration. Delegates will be able to add new VET qualifications or units of competency to their scope of registration without having to submit an application and paying a fee to ASQA each time they make a change.

In October last year ASQA invited 555 RTOs with a strong history of compliance to apply for a delegation of regulatory responsibility. Some 120 RTOs have had this delegation approved to date

The program will be extended to other groups of RTOs using a phased approach, over a two-year period.

As the forum was held in Melbourne, Robinson’s presentation covered the performance of Victorian RTOs as against the overall national picture.  In terms of complaince and identified risk factors, Victorian RTOs are lagging somewhat.

ASQA risk ratings

Download
Chris Robinson presentation on ASQA regulatory activity
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