ANAO Audit Of Higher Education Regulator Welcomed By Independent Providers

The review of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) undertaken by the Australian National
Audit Office (ANAO) has been endorsed by the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak
body representing independent providers in the higher education, vocational education, training and skills sectors.

“On balance.

independent higher education providers are comfortable with the work of TEQSA. As a regulator.

ther e is no doubt that it ac ts fairly and impartially; however, the ANAO audit has highlighted opportunities to
improve TEQSA’s complianc e activity and ITECA welcomes this,” said Mr Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive.

TEQS A received around $17.5 million in public funding during FY2019-20 and regulates a sector with around 1.6
million students, o f which 10% of these are with independent higher education providers. The ANAO audit of the
higher education regulator is significant in this context.

“T he ANAO audit identified the shared experience o f ITECA members, that TEQSA’s approvals processes were
effective but no t al ways timely, particularl y with re-registration an d re-accreditation. That TEQSA has
acknowledged th e areas in which regulatory approvals process es can be improved is an important first step in
better meeting th e expectations of ITECA members, ” Mr Williams said.

Of concern was that as at D ecember 2019, TEQSA’s compliance and enforcement policy was not support ed by
implemented operational plans or procedures. The ANAO noted that TEQSA has not undertaken annual or oth er
periodic complianc e reporting, with complianc e assessments largely taken in respons e to advers e media coverage
o f providers advising TEQS A of issues relating to compliance.

“ITECA is concer ned that the absence of operational plans and procedures may giv e ris e to inconsistent compliance
activity and its apparent reliance on advers e media reporting is disconcerting; however, that these issues are now
actively being addressed by TEQSA is encouraging,” Mr Williams said.

ITECA noted that TEQSA has yet to take actio n to respond to cyb er security risks, an issue that the independent
sector looks forwar d to working with th e regulator to address.

“Cyber security is a growing concern for both independent providers and pu blic universities and given TEQSA’s
reputatio n for first-rate stakeholder consultation, ITE CA is confident that an approach to cyber security will reflect
the shared experience and risk of our members,” Mr Williams said.

On balance, ITECA believes TEQSA to be a good regulator and one that is positively engaged with the independent
higher education sector.

“ITECA members are larg ely comfortabl e wit h the approach o f TEQS A to its co mpliance activity and ther e is a shared
be lief that it’s th e best of th e four regulators in th e tertiary education sector across Australia,” Mr Williams

ITECA has formally written to ANAO requesting an audit o f the Australian Skills Quality Authorit y (ASQA), the
nation’s vocational education and training sector regulator. Ends.

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