Claire Field backs a way to bring ASQA up to speed

By CLAIRE FIELD

The new Rapid Review is “an excellent piece of work”

When the  Rapid Review of ASQA was announced, I was sceptical of “yet another review”.

This was especially so, after the excellent Braithwaite  and Joyce reviews identified consistent problems in the Australian Skills Quality Agency’s approach. I thought action was needed to implement their recommendations, not another review.

I was wrong.

This review is an excellent piece of work which puts flesh on the bones of Braithwaite’s and Joyce’s recommendations. It is a “how to” for ASQA to address their earlier recommendations.

And it is going to be a huge challenge.

There are 24 recommendations in the Rapid Review (all have been accepted by the government). They span the following aspects of ASQA’s work:

* moving from input and compliance controls to a focus on self-assurance and excellence in training outcomes

* clarifying and modernising ASQA’s role and regulatory culture

* aligning governance arrangements with ASQA’s renewed focus

* strengthening engagement and education

* using intelligence to effectively monitor strategic risk and provider performance

* aligning audit practice to focus on self-assurance

* appropriate and proportionate regulatory action where non-compliance is identified

* meaningful reporting on provider performance

* supporting ASQA staff to deliver the outcomes

The most noticeable differences for providers are likely to come in three areas:

(i) more education being offered by ASQA

(ii) better and more consistent audits, and

(iii) more proportionate actions being taken off the back of much more informative audit reports.

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is mentioned a number of times in the Rapid Review. The NZQA’s regulatory approach exemplifies a number of the changes ASQA will need to make.

There’s a summary of the Rapid Review available on my website, including an explanation of key aspects of the NZQA’s approach if you want to gain some sense of what ASQA’s new approach might entail.

Claire Field advises on VET, international education and private higher education.