Experiences from the front line

August 21, 2019

 

We believe the purpose of a regulatory body is to promote and protect the education and training system. Australia has a world-class education and training system that other countries envy, but the real-life stories below also raise questions. 

 

RTO One’s Experience: 

 

This is a very common scenario in a number of stories we have received: 

 

Letter from an ex-RTO owner: 

 

I used to run a one-man, private RTO, teaching only first aid.  I have been teaching first aid for 25 years. I recently got my CPR audited, and failed. 

 

When querying the auditor, I found some of his questions, regarding content, theory questions and scenarios, a bit odd. I asked just how long ago was it since he had updated his first aid.

 

He replied, and I have it in his email “I have never gotten a First Aid Certificate, it is on my list of things to do.” 

 

To discover that the auditor, making comments about CONTENT, was not himself qualified to put on bandaids, was a surprise. Unfortunately, the finding was that if I wished to proceed, I should approach the AAT. 

 

Being a one-man deliverer, and not having bags of money or free time, I withdrew my registration.

 

Currently sailing with my wife, working casually as a charter skipper, and loving not having to do paperwork any more. Should have done it earlier. I am one of the lucky ones – I own my own home and boat, and have no staff or debts.

 

The whole “UN-QUALIFIED AUDITOR” thing has me worried. It would be like a person auditing a driving school, who has never driven a car.

 

Questions that arise from this situation are: 

 

  1. How is an auditor who is not an expert in a particular industry allowed to audit and provide an outcome in that area? 

  2. Why was the learning and assessment material not checked through a subject matter expert when the auditor found it insufficient? 

  3. Why was an expert with 25 years of experience deemed non-compliant by an auditor who has no industry experience?

  4. Why was an opportunity for rectification not given? 

 

RTO Two’s experience: 

 

An existing  RTO lodged their CRICOS application before the changes of June 2018. The RTO was audited after 10 months and the RTO owners had to carry the cost of a 9B compliant building over this substantial amount of time. 

 

When ASQA audited the RTO they found a few rectifications and sent the audit report with the intention to cancel the RTO and the CRICOS registrations. The RTO then provided updated copies of the CRICOS documents requested and it was deemed 100% compliant. 

 

The RTO was still refused a CRICOS registration and treated as though the application had been lodged after the June 2018 changes. 

 

Questions that arise from this situation are: 

  1. Why would the June 2018 changes being applied to RTOs that lodged their application prior to that date? 

  2. Why are organisations having to wait 10 months or longer for ASQA audits? 

  3. Why were the CRICOS and ESOS documents were requested if ASQA had already made up their minds to refuse the application? 

  4. How will this help the Australian education and training sector? 

 

RTO Three’s experience: 

 

Disclaimer: Before you read this case study, please note, we strongly recommend all our clients and newsletter readers to follow regulatory guidelines and lodge your RTO and/or CRICOS application/s according to the guidelines of your regulatory body. 

 

In mid 2018 the CEO of a CRICOS RTO fell ill, therefore, the RTO was unable to lodge their CRICOS renewal application before the suggested 90 days prior to expiry . The RTO informed the regulatory body of the compelling and compassionate grounds, but ASQA did not consider the request and cancelled the CRICOS registration. 

When this was brought to our attention, we looked into the following areas and this is our observations: 

 

Criteria 1: Legislative and regulatory guidelines  

 

ASQA in exceptional circumstances has the ability to extend a registration. Please see the information below from the legislation:  

 

 

 

The exceptional circumstances could include mitigating factors such as health. 

One would wonder why the RTO was not provided with an extension to lodge application when the CEO was indeed going through the health issues? 

 

Criteria 2: The guidelines and instructions from ASQA 

 

We then looked into the ASQA instructions and guidelines and found that: 

 

The legislative instrument to have a mandatory requirement to apply for renewal of a CRICOS registration 90 days prior only came into effect on 16 July 2019 

 

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2019L00993.

 

It was published on ASQA's website 22 July 2019  

 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/legislative-requirement-cricos-providers-submit-renewal-applications-least-90 

 

The original draft was only released on 15 February 2019

 

https://www.asqa.gov.au/news-publications/news/asqa-formalise-90-day-period-esos-renewal-applications. 

 

Questions that arise from this situation are:

 

  1. How is the regulatory body making its decisions? 

  2. How are they deciding who is and isn’t receiving registrations?  <