Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

In late 2019 the Government commissioned a review of ASQA’s regulatory practices, governance and culture. The review found that changes were needed to improve ASQA’s engagement with the sector, ensure a risk-based and proportionate regulatory approach and that there was a shared understanding of ASQA’s role. Following the release of the April 2020 review report, ASQA committed to implement all recommendations within its remit. In close consultation with stakeholders it has begun implementing changes to align with best-practice regulation.

To build organisational capability and a positive risk culture, ASQA improved its internal and external governance arrangements including through new legislated arrangements to clarify the agency’s role, and internal mechanisms to drive, monitor and improve its accountability and risk management. ASQA defined its regulatory values to support a learning culture committed to consistency, collaboration and continuous improvement. Roles and structures were also established to better understand the impact and effectiveness of ASQA’s activities and regulatory design.

ASQA reviewed its regulatory operating model, including to ensure it was underpinned by data, information and intelligence. ASQA implemented changes to strengthen the role of education and engagement with VET providers as key regulatory tools. It adapted its audit methodology  to provide a better understanding of the performance of providers (including a focus on self-assurance and promoting consistency of audit outcomes), implemented a compliance management function to ensure appropriate and proportionate regulatory action when non-compliance is identified and promote provider focus on systemic and sustained improvement in addressing non-compliance, and applied new regulatory approaches during COVID-19 to tailor and coordinate its response to risk.

Implementation of the review recommendations is ongoing and ASQA acknowledges there is further work to be done. Implementation is being supported through a Stakeholder Liaison Group to engage with training providers, formalising engagement with peak provider associations through a Provider Roundtable, greater engagement with other regulators and state and territory governments, and by consulting on changes to ASQA’s compliance framework. ASQA is looking forward to working closely with the Advisory Council when established by Government later this year.

Prepared for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet by Nous Group.