Feature Article: Six steps for mastering compliance mapping for RTOs

Compliance mapping is the process of identifying and mapping regulatory requirements to internal policies and procedures and other risk controls. This can help RTOs ensure that they are meeting all necessary compliance requirements. Compliance mapping is a systematic approach to ensure alignment between position descriptions, work practices, and regulatory requirements. 

This is an important process because it enables RTOs to:

  • Ensure all responsibilities are clearly defined and communicated to staff
  • Identify gaps in controls that need to be addressed
  • Improve transparency, leading to greater accountability and performance.

Compliance mapping enables a visual representation of comfort (assurance) activities as they apply to a specific set of risks or compliance requirements. It can also identify new risks and their potential impact on your business. The mapping process helps RTOs identify areas where they need to improve their compliance practices. However, it can be daunting, given the multitude of standards, regulations, and guidelines that need to be considered. Here’s how to approach it:

Create mapping matrix: 

Finally, integrate all of the above information into a ‘mapping matrix.’ This matrix is a visual representation of your compliance mappiUnderstanding the requirements:

Start by conducting a comprehensive review of all relevant compliance requirements. This will involve detailed scrutiny of the Standards for RTOs (SRTOs) ASQA’s guidelines, among other regulatory frameworks and contractual obligations. Be sure to keep abreast of any changes or updates to these requirements. Create a documented summary of all the compliance obligations relevant to your RTO. It should be categorised by operational areas to make it easier to refer back to when you begin the mapping process.

Analyse position descriptions and work practices:

Conduct a thorough evaluation of each role within your organisation, as defined by their position descriptions. Take note of all the tasks, responsibilities, and skills associated with each role. It’s also crucial to understand the work practices in place. Speak with employees to get a clear understanding of their daily operations, beyond what’s written on paper. Collecting this information will help you create a detailed and accurate picture of how work is carried out in your RTO.

Identify points of alignment: 

The next step is to compare your operational practices with the compliance requirements. Identify where tasks and responsibilities listed in the position descriptions align with specific regulatory obligations. For instance, a standard might stipulate that RTOs must conduct annual internal audits. If this responsibility is already assigned to a role in your organisation, mark this as a point of alignment in your mapping process. Make sure you document all these instances of alignment comprehensively.

Pinpoint gaps: 

The information you’ve gathered and compared should enable you to perform a gap analysis. This involves identifying where your RTO’s current work practices and roles do not meet or address certain compliance requirements. These gaps can exist in several forms: it might be a task that no one is currently responsible for, a skill that’s missing from a role that requires it, or a compliance requirement that hasn’t been adequately addressed in your RTOs controls. Thoroughly document these gaps, as they’ll need to be referred to in your mapping matrix.

ng efforts. It outlines the regulatory requirements, links them to relevant controls, and indicates areas where gaps exist. The matrix should have columns for each operational area, rows for each regulatory requirement, and cells filled with corresponding controls. This format allows for an at-a-glance understanding of your RTO’s compliance status and offers a clear path for rectifying non-compliance issues.

Mapping tools: 

Several IT platforms and software solutions have been developed to aid organisations in compliance mapping offering their own unique features. These tools simplify the process and help maintain accurate and up-to-date compliance records.

Other feature articles:

A guide to business continuity and resilience for RTOs

7 signs there is something wrong with your RTOs self-assurance approach

How to create a culture of continuous improvement in your RTO