ASQA releases Annual Report, noting 95 per cent compliance rate among VET providers
The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) have released their Annual Report for 2019–20, which has been tabled to Australian Parliament.
The report is a record of ASQA’s activities and performance for the previous financial year, and found that in 2019–20 ASQA “continued to provide nationally consistent, risk-based regulation of vocational education and training (VET) to contribute to informed, quality VET outcomes that meet Australia’s needs.”
Many of the findings in the report noted that ASQA’s work has been guided by the VET sector reviews undertaken by Professor Valerie Braithwaite (June 2018) and the Hon. Steven Joyce (April 2019), and the Australian Government’s subsequent rapid review of ASQA’s regulatory practices, governance and culture.
Commenting on the report ASQA Chief Commissioner and CEO Saxon Rice said “ASQA’s commitment to delivering on the rapid review recommendations has strengthened our approach to working together with the sector for better regulation and quality VET outcomes. We made significant progress in relation to improvements to our audit practices while beginning the process of developing a shared understanding of self-assurance across the sector.”
Key achievements and activities noted in the 2019-20 report included:
- 24 recommendations, spurred on by the rapid review of ASQA’s governance, regulatory practices and culture, were all accepted by government, and have already led to ASQA making strong progress in their implementation.
- Flexibility and reduced regulatory burdens were a feature of 2019-20 given the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Providers were given extensive guidance and educative material to support them to navigate the complexity of the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, while being transparent in relation to risk areas and their mitigation.
- Engagement activities were expanded, and a more comprehensive approach was taken in terms of communicating and connecting with the broader sector.
- Supporting the development of two legislative changes to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, and changes to ASQA’s governance, which also included implementing the first stage of a significant internal restructure that took effect from 1 July 2020.
“Over the last financial year, ASQA has responded to feedback and broadened its stakeholder engagement and educative function, supporting a responsive, dynamic and trusted vocational education and training sector, in line with the vision for VET set out in the Heads of Agreement for Skills Reform,” Ms Rice said.
Throughout 2019-20, ASQA regulated 3,735 providers, and completed 1,714 audits, 1,128 of which were compliance monitoring audits.
Of those audits, only 5 per cent of the total regulated community – 187 providers – were found to have serious/critical non-compliance issues.
This, ASQA said, indicates that the vast majority of providers have not presented identified risks requiring regulatory scrutiny, or have been found to be compliant when audited. The report details ASQA’s risk management strategies to identify and treat the most significant risks facing the VET and international education sectors.