Non-compliance with Australian regulations can have serious consequences for RTOs, including closure, financial penalties, and damage to reputation. However, there is a way to get back in compliance and avoid these consequences: an Agreement to Rectify (ATR).
In this blog we will discuss about ATR and its relation to RTO non compliance. Let us begin.
What actions does ASQA take in case of RTO non compliance
If an RTO is found to be non-compliant, ASQA may take enforcement action, which could include:
- Issuing a warning
- Imposing a financial penalty
- Suspending or cancelling the RTO’s registration
What is an ATR or Agreement to Rectify?
An ATR is a legally binding agreement between an RTO and ASQA that sets out the steps that the Registered Training organisations will take to rectify non-compliance. The ATR is a voluntary process that can be used by RTOs to get back in compliance without having to go through a formal enforcement process.
How much time does RTOs get to rectify non compliance?
RTOs get up to 3 months to rectify non compliance of RTOs after the ATR agreement
Benefits of Using an ATR
There are several benefits to using an ATR, including:
- Avoiding closure: In 2021, ASQA entered into 121 ATRs with RTOs. The most common areas of non-compliance that led to an agreement to rectify in 2021 were: Of the 244 cases of non-compliance, we assessed it was not necessary or proportionate to use more directive regulatory powers or exercise sanctions in 121 cases and we provided an opportunity for these providers to address identified areas of non-compliance. These providers understood where they were falling short in meeting their regulatory obligations and had the capacity and commitment to return to compliance.
Of these 121 cases:
- 57 providers entered into an Agreement to Rectify. This measure encourages providers to address non‑compliance in a systemic and sustained way by providing a longer period for rectification (up to 3 months) and strengthens provider focus on self-assurance and systemic controls.
- 64 providers responded to issues of non-compliance identified by ASQA by providing additional evidence within 20 days from receiving the performance assessment report. An average of 50% of providers who were found to be non-compliant, returned to compliance during the period.
- Reducing financial penalties: If an RTO is found to be non-compliant, ASQA may impose financial penalties. However, if the RTO enters into an ATR, ASQA may reduce the amount of the financial penalties.
- Improving reputation: Non-compliance can damage the reputation of an RTO. However, if the RTO enters into an ATR and takes steps to rectify the non-compliance, it can improve its reputation.
Watch our latest webinar on ATR here.
How to Use an ATR
Identify the non-compliance
The first step is to identify the non-compliance. This can be done by reviewing ASQA’s standards and requirements, or by conducting an internal audit.
Develop a plan to rectify the non-compliance
Once the non-compliance has been identified, the RTO must develop a plan to rectify it. The plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. It should also include a timeline for implementation and a budget.
Submit the plan to ASQA for approval
The RTO must submit the plan to ASQA for approval. ASQA will review the plan to ensure that it is adequate to rectify the non-compliance.
Implement the plan and monitor its progress
Once the plan has been approved by ASQA, the RTO must implement it and monitor its progress. The RTO should keep ASQA updated on its progress.
Report to ASQA on its progress
The RTO must report to ASQA on its progress at regular intervals. ASQA will review the reports to ensure that the RTO is making satisfactory progress.
If the RTO does not comply with the ATR, ASQA may take enforcement action, which could lead to the closure of the RTO.
An ATR is a valuable tool that RTOs can use to get back in compliance with Australian regulations. If the RTO is non-compliant, then it is encouraged to consider using an ATR.
Are you an RTO looking for quality training resources then VET Resources is your partner. We also offer free consultation to RTOs. We have a YouTube channel with videos on matters related to RTOs. For more information contact us here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q.1. What if the RTO does not comply with the ATR?
A.1. If the RTO does not comply with the ATR, ASQA may take enforcement action, which could lead to the closure of the RTO.
Q.2. How long does it take to complete an ATR?
A.2. The length of time it takes to complete an ATR will vary depending on the nature and extent of the non-compliance. However, it is generally expected that an ATR will be completed within a reasonable timeframe.
Q.3. Where can I get more information about ATRs?
A.3. More information about ATRs can be found on the ASQA website.
Q.4. What is a rectification plan?
A.4. A rectification plan is a document that outlines the steps that a training provider will take to address non-compliance with ASQA standards. It should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Q.5. Where can I find an ATR template?
A.5. ASQA has an ATR template available on its website. You can also find templates from other training providers or consultants.
Q.6. How much time do I have to submit a rectification plan after an ASQA audit?
A.6. RTO will typically have 20 working days to submit a rectification plan after an ASQA audit. However, ASQA may grant an RTO more time depending on the circumstances.
Q.7. What evidence does RTO need to include in their rectification plan?
A.7. RTO should include comprehensive evidence to support their rectification plan. This could include things like training products, records management systems, and performance assessment reports.
Q.8. What happens if I don’t submit a rectification plan?
A.8. If the RTO doesn’t submit a rectification plan, ASQA may take regulatory action against the RTO. This could include issuing a warning, imposing a financial penalty, or suspending or cancelling your registration.
Q.9. How many RTOs have been taken to compliance by ASQA?
A.9. In 2021, ASQA took 121 RTOs to compliance. This means that these RTOs were found to be non-compliant with ASQA standards and were required to take steps to rectify the non-compliance.
Q.10. What additional evidence might ASQA request?
A.10. ASQA may request additional evidence if it is not satisfied with the evidence the RTO has provided. This could include things like interviews with staff, surveys of students, or audits of your records.
Q.11. What are the next steps after submitting a rectification plan?
A.11. ASQA will review your rectification plan and may ask you for additional information. Once ASQA is satisfied with RTO’s plan, it will issue a written direction outlining the steps the RTO need to take to come into compliance.
Q.12. What are some practical examples of rectification actions?
A.12. Some practical examples of rectification actions include:
- Providing additional training to staff
- Revising training products
- Improving records management
- Implementing a new compliance approach
Q.13. How can an RTO ensure that future learners are not affected by its non-compliance?
A.13. An RTO can ensure that future learners are not affected by its non-compliance by taking steps to rectify the non-compliance as soon as possible. The RTO should also communicate with its students and stakeholders about the non-compliance and the steps it is taking to address it.
Q.14. What is the difference between a performance assessment report and a performance report?
A.14. A performance assessment report is a document that assesses the performance of an individual or team against specific criteria. A performance report is a document that summarises the performance of an individual or team over a period of time.
Q.15. What is a compliance approach?
A.15. A compliance approach is a way of thinking about and managing compliance. It should be proactive and preventive, rather than reactive.
Q.16. What is an agreed time?
A.16. An agreed time is a date and time that has been agreed upon by two or more parties. In the context of a rectification plan, an agreed time is the date and time by which the training provider must take the necessary steps to come into compliance.
Q.17. What is a progress report?
A.17. A progress report is a document that summarises the progress that has been made on a particular task or project. In the context of a rectification plan, a progress report is a document that summarises the progress that has been made on the steps that have been taken to come into compliance.
Q.18. What are alternative actions?
A.18. Alternative actions are actions that can be taken instead of the actions that are outlined in a rectification plan. Alternative actions may be necessary if the actions that are outlined in the rectification plan are not feasible or practical.
Q.19. What is a notice of intent letter?
A.19. A notice of intent letter is a letter that is sent to a training provider by ASQA. The letter outlines the non-compliance that has been identified and the steps that the training provider must take to come into compliance.
Q. 20 What is a single response?
A.20. A single response is a response that addresses all of the issues that have been raised in an ASQA audit report. A single response is typically more efficient and effective than responding to each issue individually.
Q.21. What is a registration assessment?
A.21. A registration assessment is an assessment that is conducted by ASQA to determine whether a training provider meets the requirements for registration. The assessment will typically include an inspection of the training provider’s premises, an interview with the training provider’s management, and a review of the training provider’s documentation.
The information presented on the VET Resources blog is for general guidance only. While we strive for accuracy, we cannot guarantee the completeness or timeliness of the information. VET Resources is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Always consult a professional for advice tailored to your circumstances.