An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining evidence to determine whether the activities and related outcomes of an education/ training provider comply or continues to comply, with the required standards, legislation or codes. A provider or applicant is required to demonstrate it can meet the requirements of the Tasmanian Qualifications Act 2003 and the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework, including the National Code of Practice.
An audit is necessary for the registering body to confirm the provider is meeting the requirements of registration.
Types of audit
|Initial audit:||Audit conducted prior to initial registration|
|12 month audit:||Audit conducted within 12 months of initial registration|
|Compliance audit/s:||Audit/s conducted during the remaining period of registration|
|Renewal audit:||Audit conducted prior to renewal of registration|
|Complaint||An audit may be carried out following a complaint about the organisation|
|Strategic audit/s||The registering authority may initiate strategic audits of specific qualifications or sectors of education, targeted on the basis of identified risks relating to that qualification or sector.|
Notification of the auditA TASC officer will notify an audit date. We will generally allow four weeks notice unless a shorter lead time is requested by the provider and that can be accommodated. We will write to confirm audit details including members of the audit team conducting the audit. The audit team may include TASC officers and personnel from relevant state or Commonwealth government agencies. The applicant may request that any team member is replaced if it considers there is a conflict of interest.
Preparation for auditWe recommend that organisations conduct a self assessment prior to audit. It is expected that the following arrangements will be in place for the actual audit:
- a person who can accompany the audit team
- availability of the Principal Executive Officer
- ready access to documents and records which relate to the requirements of the Tasmanian Qualifications Act 2003 and the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework, including the National Code of Practice.
- access to staff who have key duties related to meeting the above requirements
- access to a sample of learners (if an existing provider)
The audit process
TASC officers will lead the audit. At audit, the applicant or provider can provide evidence of the systems, processes and practices they have in place to demonstrate how they believe they are meeting the outcomes specified. Auditors use an audit checklist to record notes throughout the audit. The checklist lists all regulatory requirements and auditors will make notes against these requirements. The audit will commence with an opening meeting and conclude with a closing meeting. These should be attended by a representative (who has knowledge of how the provider meets the requirements for registration) and the Principal Executive Officer of the organisation (if it is not the same person).
The opening meeting explains the purpose and scope of the audit and confirms logistics while the closing meeting reports on the findings of the audit.
Throughout the actual audit the auditors will gather evidence of compliance by a variety of means including:
- examination of documents and records
- discussions with teachers or trainers, learners and staff
- observation of practice
- examination of resources and facilities.
The auditors will discuss their findings with the provider representative and make notes of their observations. Findings will be verbally reported at the closing meeting. Details of non compliances verbally presented to the provider at the closing meeting will be detailed in writing in the audit report which will be sent to the auditee following the audit.
Confidentiality of information
Information that is your intellectual property and commercial-in-confidence and personal information about students and staff members may be recorded and used as evidence of compliance. Personal information is not disclosed in any subsequent documentation. Details of your organisations audit outcome, risk rating and registration status are managed securely. All members of the audit team are bound by confidentiality arrangements not to disclose, outside the purpose of the audit, any information gained during the audit.
Findings will be classified by the audit team as:
Compliant - meaning the organisation meets the legislative requirements and standards detailed in the National Code.
Non-compliant - means that there is a discrepancy which could arise in the situations where:
- insufficient evidence of the organisation meeting the requirements
- a breakdown of procedure, or a procedure that does not meet requirements
- a situation which is likely to result in a hazard to clients;
- an accumulation of minor lapses which, added together, amount to a total breakdown of systems or procedures.
Opportunity for Improvement - The audit team may identify gaps in otherwise compliant processes that the organisation may choose to act upon. These may be reported either orally or in writing.
An audit report will be forwarded to the provider.
Clearance of findings
All findings must be cleared for the prospective provider to demonstrate they can meet the regulatory requirements. This needs to occur before the Executive Officer will consider approving an application.
Prospective providers have 20 working days to clear audit findings. Strategies to clear any findings will be determined by the organisation and sufficient evidence must be provided to clear the findings within 20 working days. The provider is advised to contact the lead auditor to discuss how they intend to clear the findings. It is the responsibility of the provider to initiate actions to clear non-compliances. Evidence of clearance will be checked by TASC auditors, whether by submission of documents or by visiting the provider again within the specified timeframe.
If not cleared within 20 working days, the Executive Officer will be advised. If the TASC does not approve an application, the provider will be advised and has the right to appeal the decision or re-submit their application.
For existing providers
Existing providers also have 20 working days to clear findings (non-compliances). Strategies to clear findings will be determined by the organisation and sufficient evidence must be provided to clear the findings within 20 working days. The provider is advised to contact the lead auditor to discuss how they intend to clear the findings. It is the responsibility of the provider to initiate actions to clear the non-compliances. Evidence of clearance will be checked by TASC auditors, whether by submission of documents or by visiting the provider again within the specified timeframe.
Failure to clear a non-compliance in 20 working days will result in the Executive Officer being informed and sanctions may be imposed. If, according to the nature of the finding, it is determined unreasonable to effectively clear within 20 working days, an action plan may be negotiated and performance of the tasks in the action plan monitored.
Until outstanding non-compliances are cleared, the provider may not extend its scope (courses).