The Australian Skills Quality Authority’s (ASQA) Annual Report 2019-20 has been tabled in the Australian Parliament.
The report is a record of ASQA’s activities and performance for the previous financial year.
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.
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.
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 activities and achievements in 2019-20 included:
- supporting the rapid review of ASQA’s governance, regulatory practices and culture, resulting in 24 recommendations that were all accepted by government, and have already led to ASQA making strong progress in their implementation
- supporting providers and the broader sector following the bushfires and then COVID-19 by offering flexibility and reducing regulatory burden wherever possible
- providing extensive guidance and educative material to support providers to navigate the complexity of the bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic, while being transparent in relation to risk areas and their mitigation
- significantly expanding our engagement activities and developing a more comprehensive approach to how we communicate with stakeholders across the sector
- supporting the development of two legislative changes to the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, including amendments following the Braithwaite and Joyce reviews 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,” said Ms Rice.
During 2019-20, ASQA regulated 3735 providers and completed 1714 audits, of which 1128 were compliance monitoring audits. Only 5 per cent of the total regulated community (187 providers) were found to have serious/critical non-compliance issues. This 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.