On 9 August 2019, ASQA released a new fact sheet on ASQA’s General Direction on third-party arrangements. This article outlines what this new direction means for you.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:
For new third-party arrangements, this General Direction will come into effect on 1 September 2019.
For existing third-party arrangements, this will come into effect on 1 November 2019.
What happens on these dates?
1. Non-RTO third-party providers cannot, on their own behalf or in their own name:
❌ advertise or offer all or part of a VET course
❌ provide training and/or assessment for all or part of a VET course
❌ issue a qualification or statement of attainment for a VET course
2. RTO third-party providers cannot:
❌ provide all or part of a VET course; IF
❌ the VET course, or part of the VET course, is not within the organisation’s scope of registration.
This is in accordance with Sections 93 and 116 of the NVR Act.
What does this mean?
If you are an RTO engaging with a non-RTO entity who “offers” to deliver all or part of a VET course on your behalf, you must:
- (1) terminate your arrangement by 1 November 2019, and either
- (2) deliver all components of the course internally, OR
- (3) find a new third-party provider who is:
a) an RTO, and
b) has the course on their scope of registration
- (4) make sure any new third-party arrangements to be entered into meet the new requirements
If you are an RTO engaging with another RTO who “offers” to deliver all or part of a VET course on your behalf, you must make sure the RTO has on its scope of registration the course it is delivering on your behalf. Otherwise, you must follow items (1) to (4) listed above.
Are there any exemptions?
According to ASQA’s release on their website, RTOs may engage non-RTO third parties to deliver all or part of a VET course.
Also, according to a phone call I had with ASQA, this is possible as long as the course is clearly offered under the Principal RTO’s name. In addition, ASQA’s fact sheet also implies that arrangements between an RTO and a non-RTO third party that exhibit the features of a principal/agent relationship are not in breach of Section 116 of the NVR Act.
If this is accurate, you may still continue your third-party arrangements with a non-RTO entity, or an RTO who does not have the course it is delivering on your behalf on its scope of registration, provided it meets the following requirements:
- the third-party provider is NOT advertising the course on their own behalf or in their own name
- the third-party provider is not providing training and/or assessment for all or part of a VET course on their own behalf or in their own name
- the third-party provider is not issuing a qualification or statement of attainment for a VET course on their own behalf or in their own name
However, I would proceed with caution as if you read the relevant provisions as stated in the legislation:
Division 1—Offences and civil penalty provisions
Subdivision A—Conduct by NVR registered training organisations
93 Offence—providing all or part of VET course outside scope of registration
An NVR registered training organisation commits an offence if:
- the organisation provides all or part of a VET course; and
- the VET course, or part of the VET course, is not within the organisation’s scope of registration.
Subdivision B—Conduct that is prohibited if not an NVR registered training organisation
116 Offence—providing, or offering to provide, all or part of a VET course without registration
A person commits an offence if:
- the person provides, or offers to provide, all or part of a VET course in a referring State or a Territory; and
- the person is not an NVR registered training organisation.
It seems clear to me that:
Clause 93 means that RTOs cannot deliver all or part of training and assessment even in a third-party provider’s capacity if it does not have the course on its scope of registration, and
Clause 116 means that non-RTOs cannot deliver all or part of training and assessment even in a third-party provider’s capacity because they are not RTOs.
If you wish to proceed with your existing third-party arrangements, my advice would be to get clarification from ASQA in writing to make sure you are not violating any regulatory requirements.
At the very least, if your third-party arrangements are still found non-compliant despite just following the advice you’ve been given, ASQA may give you some consideration to rectify it if you have proof of your communication with ASQA.
What does this mean for non-RTO providers?
If you are a non-RTO entity and want to continue selling courses under another RTO’s registration, I’m afraid this will no longer be viable starting 1 November 2019.
If you want to continue selling a VET course under your own brand, then you may want to consider registering your own RTO business. For more information on how to start your own RTO, click here.
Otherwise, if you are happy to sell and deliver courses under the name of your RTO partner, and your RTO partner is happy to proceed with this arrangement, all things considered, then you should be alright!
What does this mean for RTO third-party providers?
If you are delivering on behalf of another RTO a VET course that is in your scope of registration, then you are all good.
However, if you are delivering a course that is not in your scope of registration under a third-party arrangement, this will have to stop by 1 November 2019.
If you want to continue delivering this course, you may want to consider just adding it to your scope of registration. You can find more information on how to add new training products on your scope of registration here and here.
Are you delivering any of the following courses under third-party arrangements?
- TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
- TAE50216 Diploma of Training Design and Development
- TAE50116 Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
- TAESS00013 Enterprise Trainer—Mentoring Skill Set
- TAESS00015 Enterprise Trainer and Assessor Skill Set
- TAESS00014 Enterprise Trainer—Presenting Skill Set
- TAESS00011 Assessor Skill Set.
These courses are identified by ASQA as ‘VET courses of concern’. As such, if you are delivering any of these courses under any third-party arrangements, you must obtain prior approval in writing from ASQA. This includes providing the following services on behalf of the RTO:
- advertise or offer a VET course of concern
- deliver training and/or assessment in a VET course of concern
- issue a VET qualification or statement of attainment for a VET course of concern
Click here to download the ASQA request form.
Should you have any questions or concerns about third-party arrangements, or if you have any topics you would like us to cover in our next blog, please let us know!