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Overview

The Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003 (the TaTE Act) establishes the ACT Accreditation and Registration Council. The Council provides advice to the Minister for Education and Training (the Minister) on tertiary education particularly the registration of tertiary education providers and accreditation of tertiary courses.

The Council ensures that national standards are met for:

* the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF) for vocational education and training delivery

* National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes for non self- accrediting higher education provision

* the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 and the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 for international education provision in the ACT.

The Council contributes to the provision of quality education in the ACT by:

* exercising its statutory authority for accreditation and registration and ensuring national standards are met

* measuring and reporting on provider compliance with the appropriate standards.

The Council contributed to national discussions in relation to the transition of registration and accreditation functions to national regulators during 2011. The Chair of the Council met with the Minister during the 2010-11 reporting period to convey the Council’s views concerning policy issues in the tertiary and vocational education sector especially on the transition to a nationally regulated environment for accreditation and registration.

Composition and appointments to the Council

The Minister appoints members to the Council. Staff of the ACT Education and Training Directorate (the Directorate) provide secretariat and related services.

As determined by section 12(1) of the TaTE Act, the Council comprised 11 members: a chairperson; four people with expertise in vocational education and training (VET); three people with expertise in higher education; one person representing interests of employers; one person representing interests of employees; and one person representing providers of industry training advice.

Three members resigned during the reporting period and recommendations have been made to the Minister for their replacements.

The Council met on four occasions between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011.

Table ARC 1: Council membership and meetings held for the reporting period

Member

Position and representation

Appointment expiry

Number of meetings attended

Professor John Richards

Chairperson

3 June 2013

4

Mr Vince Ball

VET expertise

30 June 2012

4

Professor Peter Camilleri

Higher education expertise

30 June 2012

4

Mr Vaughan Croucher

VET expertise

8 November 2010

1

Mr Mike Fitzgerald

Interests of employees

21 December 2012

3

A/Professor Ruth Foxwell

Higher education expertise

10 February 2011

2

Mrs Annie Gregg

Industry training advisory services

30 June 2012

2

Ms Louise Mayo

VET expertise

30 June 2012

3

Ms Karen Nicholas

VET expertise

21 December 2012

3

Ms Jill Owen

Higher education expertise

6 April 2011

Nil

Mr Chris Peters

Interests of employers

30 June 2012

4

Source: ACT Accreditation and Registration Council

Council members Details of the 11 members for the reporting period are as follows:

Professor John Richards AM (Chairperson)
Professor Richards was appointed as a Council member in September 2004, and appointed Chairperson since 1 January 2005. He is the Master of University House and Emeritus Professor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University (ANU).

Earlier in his career, Professor Richards held the positions of ANU Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice-President, Director of the Research School of Information Sciences and Engineering and Dean and Director of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the ANU. He holds degrees of Bachelor of Engineering with first class honours and Doctorate of Philosophy awarded by the University of New South Wales. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, New York.

Mr Vince Ball
Mr Ball is the Executive Director of the ACT Regional Building and Construction Industry Training Council. He has a range of VET experiences including industry training package development. He is a qualified workplace assessor and trainer, and an auditor of VET delivery. He received the University of Oxford (Delegacy of Local Examinations) Oxford Assessor Award. In 2003, his contribution to VET in the ACT and region was recognised with the prestigious Norm Fisher Award, and was later

acknowledged for his commitment to Australian apprenticeships as a finalist in the national 2008 Ministers Awards for Excellence. He received the prestigious Friend of CIT Award in 2008 from the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Professor Peter Camilleri
Professor Camilleri is a Professor of Social Work and previously the Rector at Canberra campus of Australia Catholic University for 10 years. He was appointed Deputy Chair of the University’s Public Policy Institute in July 2009. He was appointed to the Council in June 2005 and later that year appointed Chair of the Council’s Higher Education Committee. He has worked with several ACT Government agencies, on boards of nongovernment agencies and is also a member of the ACT Children’s Services Council.

Mr Vaughan Croucher
Mr Croucher was a Senior Academic Advisor at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). He holds a Master of Education from the University of Canberra (UC), as well as a Bachelor of Education, a Diploma of Teaching and a Certificate in Adult Literacy Teaching. His career in education included Dean of Learning Services at CIT and senior manager of an ACT Government training agency. From 2003 to 2009, he was a board member and national treasurer of Adult Learning Australia.

Mr Croucher resigned from Council on 8 November 2010 due to illness and sadly passed away on 6 December 2010.

Mr Mike Fitzgerald
Mr Fitzgerald holds a Bachelor in Agricultural Science, a Certificate in Adult Education and Training, a Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Development (Adult Education), a Diploma of Community Services (Welfare Studies) and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment. He is the ACT branch organiser of the Australian Education Union. His work history includes community development, agricultural and horticultural production/consultation and teaching/lecturing in the VET sector.

Associate Professor Ruth Foxwell
Associate Professor Foxwell works in Microbiology Department at the UC and is a member of the Executive of the Board for the Federation of Australian Science and Technological Societies. She chairs the National Qualifications Committee for the Australian Society for Microbiology. She has also served as a board member for the Cooperative Research Centre for Freshwater Ecology. She was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy from the UC in 1999, and has previously chaired the UC Academic Board. She has instigated strategic initiatives such as sports feasibility studies in the Bruce precinct and in health services with the ACT Government.

Associate Professor Foxwell resigned from the Council on 10 February 2011.

Ms Annie Gregg
Ms Gregg is a director of a training and consultancy company operating in the public and private sectors across Australia and overseas, covering management, communication and leadership across a variety of industries. Holding a degree in education and diplomas in training, business and property, she has been involved in

the VET sector for many years, contributing to the development of Property Services Training Packages and accredited training programs for a number of clients. She was chair of the ACT Business Industry Training Advisory Board. She was awarded the Real Estate Institute ACT President’s Award for industry excellence, and service and the John Scott Memorial Award for recognition of her contribution to VET training in the ACT.

Ms Louise MayoMs Mayo is an experienced lecturer, tutor and manager in post secondary and tertiary education with extensive knowledge in assessment and student administration. She designs, markets and delivers education programs in the post secondary sector. She has worked in the ACT VET sector for many years and led a team of educators in implementing and quality assuring academic programs across a number of industries at two sites in the ACT and NSW. She is studying for a Doctorate of Business Administration that seeks to address the gap between what educational institutions are providing, and what the requirements of industry are.

Ms Karen NicholasMs Nicholas is the owner/operator of a registered training organisation based in Canberra that provides nationally recognised training to the public and private sector, including small and micro business, and community sectors. She works closely with clients in developing learning and assessment programs, and has an ongoing interest in the professional development of trainers and assessors in the VET sector. Her experience in the VET community includes representing training providers’ interests as a past president of the Association of Providers of Training Services Inc. She has led the ACT Assessors Network and worked in the ACT Flexible Learning Advisory Group.

Ms Jill Owen
Ms Owen is a lecturer in project management at the School of Business in the University of NSW, at the Australian Defence Force Academy. She is currently undertaking her Doctorate of Philosophy within the Faculty of Information Technology on the role of knowledge based practices in effective project delivery. She has occupied senior management and leadership positions in several organisations that specialise in project and program management in business and information technology contexts. She has worked across a wide range of industries: financial services, airline, health, insurance and credit industries.

Ms Owen resigned from the Council on 6 April 2011.

Mr Christopher Peters AM OI JPMr Peters is the Chief Executive of the ACT and Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and represents business on over 20 ACT Government boards or committees, including three statutory authorities. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by UC in 2009 and made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2004. He holds positions in management structures of both public companies and community organisations, including: Deputy Chairman of the Board of Senior Secondary Studies, Deputy Chairman of Defence Joint Training Taskforce, Chief Executive Officer of the Retail Traders Association ACT and Region, Deputy Chairman of the Tourism Industry Council (ACT and Region), Managing Director of the Australian Industry and Defence Network

and a member of the General Council of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He was previously a member of the ACT Skills Commission, Chief Executive of the Printing Industries Association of Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Procedures and protocols for council operations

Financial arrangements and internal controls The Council has no financial functions under the TaTE Act. Consequently the Council does not receive or expend funds in its own right.

Audit and risk management The Directorate undertakes audit and risk management activities of the Council. The Directorate audit includes the Council secretariat and the regulatory activity it performs for the Council.

Quality indicators were developed for the National Quality Council (the advisory body to all Australian Government Ministers with responsibility for training) to assist it in compiling a national overview of registering body activity and broad comparison of performance against indicative measures including frequency and scope of audits. The five principles within the AQTF National Guidelines for a Registering Body and AQTF Standards for State and Territory Course Accrediting Bodies set the parameters for quality indicators: Consistency, Effectiveness, Proportionality and Responsiveness.

Maintenance of ethical standards and code of conduct Prior to appointment, council members are provided with the Bowen Code of Conduct as a guide for ethical standards of behaviour. All members sign a declaration stating that: * their professional and private interests will not impact on their involvement with the Council * they will disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest to the Chair of the Council.

Resources allocated for council activity Consistent with the TaTE Act (s17) the Council receives secretariat, research and advisory assistance in the context of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chair and the Chief Executive (now Director-General) of the ACT Department of Education and Training (now ACT Education and Training Directorate). ACT Government Solicitor’s advice is also available to the Council.

Remuneration arrangements for council members Council members are entitled to reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in the exercise of their functions (TaTE Act, s16). The Chair is provided with an annual payment to cover expenses related to the statutory responsibilities of the Council chairperson.

Corporate and operational plans The Council operated in the context of the ACT Accreditation and Registration Council Strategic Plan 2009-2011 and its operations were guided by the Council’s Operational Plan 2009-2010. Both elements were developed in the context of and with reference to other government strategic documents including the Directorate’s Strategic Plan 2010-2013.

Council operations

Strategic issues In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments announced the introduction of national regulation of both the VET and higher education sectors, enabled by referral of powers currently residing with the states and territories. This development and its implications for the Council were considered at several council meetings in the reporting period.

Legislation to establish a national VET regulator, which will operate as the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) was introduced in the Australian Parliament in November 2010. The legislation was passed by the Senate and by the House of Representatives in late March 2011 and received Royal Assent on 12 April 2011. On 1 July 2011, ASQA will become the national regulator for the VET sector in the ACT.

Legislation to establish the national higher education regulator, to operate as the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) is expected to be introduced in the Australian Parliament in the near future.

The Council will continue to exercise its responsibility under the TaTE Act for registration and accreditation of higher education providers and courses until at least 31 December 2011. To allow for possible delays to the transition, the ACT Government has arranged for the Council to continue its responsibilities until 30 June 2012. All current members whose terms expire prior to that date have had membership extended until then.

In 2010 the ACT Government formed an ACT Tertiary Taskforce to consult on the future of tertiary education, including VET and higher education in the ACT. The Taskforce brought together stakeholders from education providers, industry and government. The Council was represented by the Chair and Ms Louise Mayo giving it an opportunity to have its views considered. The report of the Taskforce was launched by the Minister in February 2011. In its response to the Taskforce report, the ACT Government established the ACT Learning Capital Council (LCC) to provide advice on tertiary education policy and planning including workforce issues. The LCC will absorb council functions to provide advice to the ACT Government and the Minister.

Vocational education and training As of 30 June 2011, there were 132 registered training organisations (RTOs) approved by the Council to deliver and assess nationally recognised training. All RTOs must continue to comply with the AQTF Essential Conditions and Standards for Continuing Registration to remain registered. The Council conducted initial registration and monitoring audits according to identified risks and cyclical schedules over each provider’s period of registration. Registered providers are recorded on the National Training Information Service (http://www.ntis.gov.au) which is a ministerially endorsed national register.

VET auditors are staff drawn from the Council secretariat and from recognised industry professionals. Auditors participated in audit moderation and professional development activities through the reporting period. The Council used a risk management approach for quality assurance of training providers using nationally agreed criteria within the AQTF. Supplementary risk indicators prescribed by the AQTF standards also determine audit activity, and include publicly funded delivery, the operations of providers approved to deliver to overseas students in Australia and formal concerns and grievances received by the Council secretariat.

Audit activity in 2010-11 The total number of ACT RTOs registered by the Council remained stable during the reporting period. The Council conducted 49 on-site audits and five desktop audits of training providers’ compliance with relevant national standards. All audit activity is scheduled after risk assessment as outlined in the AQTF National Guidelines for a Registering Body.

Australian Quality Training Framework All RTOs were required to collect and report on Quality Indicator data as part of the AQTF registration conditions. At the end of the reporting period RTOs will report 2010 and 2011 training activity and client satisfaction data through a national web portal managed by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and technical expertise provided by the Australian Council for Educational Research.

Providers received ongoing advice from the Council secretariat about the implementation of the revised AQTF standards including a session with the NCVER on Australian Vocational Education and Training Management Information Statistical Standard (AVETMISS) reporting requirements. Workshops were also conducted on ‘Enhancing the quality of assessment’ and ‘RPL - When is Enough Enough’.

International education The Council makes recommendations to the Australian Government regarding the approval of providers of training for overseas students, consistent with the provisions of the Australian Government Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000. When approved by the Australian Government, the training provider is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). As of 30 June 2011, there were 25 CRICOS providers registered in the ACT of which seven are private providers.

National concerns about student safety and quality delivery of education services to international students in 2009 led to revision of Australian Government legislation (the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000); and development of a national strategy by the Council of Australian Governments to ensure Australia’s reputation overseas and within country is enhanced.

All education and training providers registered on CRICOS had to apply to re-register under new, stronger criteria by 31 December 2010. There were three on-site audits conducted during the reporting period and all ACT providers were recommended to the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations for re-registration on 1 January 2011.

Ministerial directions to the Council Section 18 of the TaTE Act requires the Council to report action(s) it takes in response to Ministerial directions. There were no such directions during the reporting period.

Higher education The Council regulates and quality assures five non self-accrediting higher education providers, and their 25 courses, approved for delivery in the ACT. Two providers are ACT legal entities and three hold primary registration in other Australian states, recognised by the Council for delivery in the ACT.

The Higher Education Committee (HEC) provides advice to the Council on quality assurance in the higher education sector. The Committee operates according to terms of reference endorsed by the Council and has a limited set of decision-making functions delegated to it concerning course accreditation and provider registration. The Council was advised on higher education policy through Directorate officers’ attendance at national forums and committees.

Higher education stakeholders are consulted throughout the year, including formally at ACT Higher Education Forums. HEC also facilitated forums that provided information and exchange of ideas about emerging issues in higher education and tertiary education sector reforms including an update on the issues being raised by the ACT Tertiary Taskforce.

Table ARC 2: Membership of the committee

Name

Position

Professor Peter Camilleri

Chairperson (Council member)

Ms Jill Owen

Member (Council member until February 2011)

Mr Vaughan Croucher

Member (Council member until November 2010)

Associate Professor Ruth Foxwell

Member (Council member until January 2011)

Professor John Dearn

Member

Mr Stephen Darwin

Member

Ms Kaye O’Hara

Member (since February 2011)

Source: Accreditation and Registration Council

There was one vacant position in the Committee during the year.

In 2010, the Council participated in an audit project by the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) concerning quality assurance of higher education approvals. The project was designed by AUQA and the Joint Committee for Higher Education. The Council was previously audited by AUQA in late 2003 against existing national protocols for higher education approvals (now referred to as the Cycle 1 audit).

The audit project involved a self-assessment process by all Government Accreditation Authorities such as the Council. The outcomes of the collective assessment of all authorities in states and territories informed a national project report as well as the future operations of the TEQSA planned to subsume AUQA from 2011.

Through a council committee, the self-assessment process involved surveying stakeholders including education providers and assessment panel members. The report was accepted by AUQA in July 2010. The final national project report was released in late 2010 and commended the ACT on the quality of its professional development strategies in the sector.

For more information contact: The Secretariat ACT Accreditation and Registration Council GPO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601 (02) 6205 7091 http://www.arc.act.gov.au