Feature Article: The role of internal audit in RTO self-assurance

Self-assurance is the process of RTOs accepting responsibility and accountability for their on-going performance and quality student outcomes. It includes the management of risks in your organisation. ASQA have been clear in advising RTOs that self-assurance is not self-regulation.  ASQA continues to ensure that RTOs meet their regulatory obligations and adhere to legislative requirements. The role of internal audit is to provide that independent assurance of your organisation’s risk management framework. Your internal audit processes should ensure management has oversight of the effectiveness your RTOs self-assurance systems and processes.

Audit Programme:

By implementing an internal audit programme in your RTO you will obtain valuable data that identifies risks in your products and services. Scheduling regular monitoring of your operations provides RTO management with assurance of the RTOs risk management, internal controls and governance processes in place. This process is also a driver of continuous improvement within an organisation and creates accountability for meeting regulatory obligations and legislative requirements. Internal audits also identify whether the right processes are in place and where efficiencies or innovations need to be made.

Audit Process:

Your audit plan should identify risks and priority areas that need regular reviewing within your RTO. Your audit calendar will determine the frequency of your internal audit activity based on the risks identified and levels of severity. The value in your internal audit processes comes from the audit activity data you obtain and how effectively you document the audit outcomes. Communicate internal audit outcomes effectively with staff to promote the relationship between risk management and self-assurance. Effective resolution of rectifications and systemic issues identified is dependent on how well the audit report is written. The internal audit report should provide a clear summary of identified issues, risks, and recommendations to your staff.

Audit Staff: 

Having the capability to carry out your internal audits is important. Whether you have dedicated internal auditors on staff or you outsource RTO consultants such as EDministrate when required it is critical that you have the necessary expertise to self-assure your operations. There are severe consequences for your RTO if you do not manage risks associated with breaches of regulatory obligations and legislative or contractual requirements that can lead to financial, legal and reputational impacts on your business. The role of the internal auditor is essential in ensuring your RTO is protected from compliance risks and potential regulatory action. 

Other feature articles:

Benefits of having your internal audits conducted by an RTO consultant

Beginners guide to internal auditing in your RTO

Quick guide to managing your RTOs scope of registration

Critical things for RTOs to do before an external audit

Implementing systems for self-assurance

How to risk assess your RTO’s scope of registration