Thursday, March 11, 2010

Regulation: A New National Regulator?

Having attended the VRQA & DEEWR `Consultation forum' on the creation of a new national regulator for the VET sector today, I came away with the impression that the majority of the RTO's represented at that forum hold the same concerns as I do regarding the cost of regulation and the failure of regulation to properly ensure quality of training delivery and of RTO's business operations in Australia.
I was heartened to hear others expressing concerns regarding the issues of cost and the application of governance. One engaging speaker clearly voiced her concerns over the lack of a standard approach by auditors citing a case where an RTO had an AQTF audit with a compliant outcome, then 6 weeks later had an audit by the funding body which found them non-compliant.
In general the comments from the meeting called for:
1) A `No Financial Disadvantage Clause' if the States persist in refusing to align with the National Regulator and RTO's are obligated to hold both State and National Registration.
2) National standards for auditors to be established
3) A mutual recognition of audit outcomes. When an audit has been performed by one authority, should there be the need for an audit by another authority, the findings of the first audit be taken as part of the second audit and that those areas are not re-audited.
4) Clarification around how complaints from students will be handled. Which body will be the authority, State or National, and how will the authority be enacted?
The level of concern for RTO's was indicated by the fact that the meeting was well attended, with all seats taken and many extra seats brought in.
I'm sure we will all be watching keenly to see how long it takes to get a workable model established, and whether any of our comments are taken on board.