ROI Institute Australia - Blog

Avoiding Complacency as an RTO Compliance Manager

In the RTO world, often experienced managers are becoming too comfortable with their current programs, processes and procedures, to a point where they run the risk of compliance gaps by failing to audit and update accordingly. But as compliance managers, we can also become complacent as it relates to our team. We get accustomed to individual team members being there, day in and day out, doing their jobs. A sense of trust and dependence on your team is important, but we often forget that people get bored, burnt out, or simply dissatisfied with their day-to-day roles.

An organisation that I work for was recently audited by ASQA (performance assessment they call it now) and that audit highlighted some areas where the organisation became complacent, and some concerns were established.

After some meetings with the RTO team and further analysis of the audit, I identified the following priorities:

Continuously challenge your team. Provide team members with training, projects and opportunities that are outside their comfort zone. Help them to develop a new skill or expose them to an area of practice that differs from their routine activities. 

Be proactive in their career development. Opportunities for promotions are limited within our sector, and RTO organisational structures are rather rigid, but we must offer new growth opportunities and more visibility within the RTO, based on career development programs that allow managers to delegate some of the compliance tasks effectively.

In this new normal of remote and hybrid work, communication with team members is a challenge. Maintaining regular communication is critical, you must chat to the team daily, even if there’s nothing of substance to talk about! You may be thinking: “They’re doing a great job; no need to bother them,” while they may be thinking, “Why hasn’t my manager talked to me in a week?”

The continuous improvement cycle is the area where our RTO business is exposed to more complacency. We convince ourselves of a relative continuous improvement that may or may not be connected to quality or compliance objectives. For example, we may think we are improving training delivery by introducing online learning options because we receive positive feedback from learners, but we may be opening gaps relating to delivery obligations under clauses 1.1-1.4, or within assessment obligations under clause 1.8.

My final two points.

We must maintain the discipline of keeping accurate records of all significant plans and systems, records of performance (enrolment, delivery, assessment, certification), records of evaluations and reviews (validations, internal audits, feedback received), and records of improvements adopted.

When we create a compliance program, we define the compliance objectives (meeting RTO Standards, RTO contractual obligations, RTO internal ethical commitments) and they need to be reviewed as external and internal compliance factors evolve and change with time. But it is critical that these (up-to-date) objectives are always the guide and benchmark for our compliance activities, and as RTO managers we need to ensure a leadership consistent with these objectives.


Avoid complacency in RTO compliance.

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