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The words ‘compliance’ and ‘risk’ can evoke powerful emotions in people. You may be someone who looks forward to the challenge of managing compliance and risk and if you are, these tasks probably don’t cause you stress.
If, on the other hand, you are one of the many who find compliance management to be something to be feared then this email may provide you with some headache free compliance solutions.
Lets start by summarising the compliance requirements for your RTO. If you are under the jurisdiction of Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) you must:
- comply at all times with the VET Quality Framework, which comprises:
- the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations
- the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF)
- the Data Provision Requirements
- the Fit and Proper Person Requirements
- the Financial Viability Risk Assessment Requirements
- notify ASQA of any material changes to your RTO
- give ASQA information that is lawfully requested
- cooperate with ASQA
- comply with ASQA’s general directions (e.g. student assessment, quality indicators, transition and teach out)
- comply with any other conditions that ASQA may impose.
RTOs who are not under the jurisdiction of ASQA must comply with the requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).
You also have to comply with relevant Commonwealth, state or territory legislation and regulatory requirements.
Ok so that looks like a scary list. But we want to encourage you to think about it in another way. If instead of these requirements you think of compliance through the lens of what is good for your business, then things may start to take a different shape.
Engaging People in Compliance
When people are going through the motions of compliance because the rules say that they have to then you often see a reactive, just in time approach. There is begrudging or little buy in from staff and senior management. Compliance activities are not given priority and they easily slip off the to do list because business as usual gets in the way. Even when people are actually engaged in compliance activities they don’t always keep records of how they are ensuring these best practices are occurring.
It is more likely that there will be areas of non compliances in some areas of the operations simply because there is a lack of integration and an ad hoc approach to monitoring. At best an RTO that is managing compliance and governance from a ‘have to’ mind set will achieve compliance with the standards but may not experience the benefits to the business that come from a fully integrated approach.
Whereas, when an RTO has completely embedded compliance into the way they do business, people are engaged and it becomes a proactive process rather than a response to non compliances. When compliance activities become part of the normal way a business operates they enhance functioning and enable quality information on performance which enhances decision making across the whole business.
It requires a focus on 2 key areas: your systems and your people.
Your business systems must be:
- systematic and scheduled
- Include a focus on all parts of your business and
- be underpinned with comprehensive policies and procedures.
You also need to have a focus on people that includes:
- hiring the right people for your team,
- clearly defining roles and responsibilities and
- providing the support they need to do their jobs well.
So instead of focusing on that big list of compliance requirements you can focus on 2 key areas. Ensure you have comprehensive systems in place and empowered people in your team and your headaches will be greatly reduced.
Six steps to maintain compliance and improve your RTO’s results
The following 6 steps will help to ensure that your comprehensive systems actually lead to improved results.
1. Ensure you have the right people in the right jobs.
Start with the recruitment process. Clearly identify what skills and experience you need and choose the applicant that best fits the requirements. Don’t put someone in the job if they don’t fit. You should also consider how tasks are distributed among your team. Is there a good alignment between what people like to do and the things they are doing? If not, is there some shuffling you can do to get a better fit?
2. Embed compliance activities into everyone’s daily jobs.
Compliance is not an add on, it should be an intricate part of everyone’s job. Review your position descriptions and include relevant compliance responsibilities.
3. Share information across the team
This will help to break down silos and empower people to do their jobs well. Make this information public. Some RTOs use visual displays so that everyone can see how the business is tracking against key performance indicators.
4. Include all levels of staff and management
This will ensure buy-in across the organisation. Compliance is everyone’s concern, so actively engage people through clear communication & cross functional projects where people from different parts of the RTO work together on key tasks.
5. Implement a regular and systematic approach to monitoring and reviewing all aspects of business operations.
Dont wait for non compliances to occur, get proactive and systematic.
6. Follow up
It is important to address all areas of noncompliance or system improvement to build accountability and a culture of continuous improvement.
We hope you have found this article helpful in managing compliance in your RTO. We know this can be a real pain, but hang in there. It does get easier as you build the culture of compliance across the organisation.
If you would like help managing your compliance, please contact Karen and Gillian on email@example.com
We also have a library of helpful resources on our online store. You can take a look and buy our resources here.
The Essential Guide to RTO Compliance – Coming Soon.
We are very excited that our new book on RTO Compliance is just about ready to be printed. In fact it’s at the publisher as we write. It’s called The Essential Guide to RTO Compliance and it will help you get rid of your compliance headaches and grow your business. The book should be available in August in print and ebook format through Amazon.