The essential guide to setting up a QMS in your RTO

The essential guide to setting up a QMS in your RTO

A good Quality Management System provides a centralised mechanism for managing an organisations policies and procedures. These quality documents are a collection of processes that outline how you do business and meet your customers’ expectations. A core function of a QMS is to manage its document control functions.

Quality Management System Framework:

The most commonly known framework used is ISO 9001 but unless your RTO is ISO accredited there is no need to create a QMS that reflects the requirements of these standards.  At a minimum your QMS should meet what is required of the VET Quality Framework and any other legislative requirements or regulatory obligations you must adhere to. The main components of your system should incorporate your quality manual or policies and procedures; your organisational structure; your document control processes and your internal audit / continuous improvement processes.

Quality Documents:

In addition to policies and procedures your quality documents can consist of but are not limited to work instructions; guidelines; templates; plans and forms. Quality documents such as policies and procedures are usually approved by document owners who are typically in RTO management positions.  Other staff can contribute to the development of the documents and provide feedback on the content as it is important to ensure buy in by staff who are going to have to adhere to processes or use the tools.

Document Control Procedure: 

Your RTO should have a procedure that sets out the processes for managing your quality documents or your policy and procedure library. This includes how you categorize the documents; the naming conventions used and numbering systems assigned to documents. It should also provide instruction on version control and also detail how often the documents are reviewed and updated to ensure they are fit for purpose. Controlled documents are needed for regulatory compliance purposes and are critical in ensuring your RTOs meets all legislative requirements or regulatory obligations.

Setting up your QMS:

EDministrate can help your organisation design, create and implement a QMS and create an efficient and effective documentation system or help you update your existing QMS to ensure it is fit for purpose therefore ensuring your RTO delivers quality products /services to your customers. Our Compliance Plan and Compliance Plan Matrix Template provides a reference to critical quality documents in your business that you can use to map how your policies and procedures ensure you meet all RTO compliance obligations.

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Three planning resources every RTO manager should have in their toolkit

Planning essentials for RTOs

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Feature Article: Planning essentials for RTOs

Planning essentials for RTOs

Planning is critical to your businesses success. Your RTO needs a road map that clearly defines its business goals, future direction and, most importantly, sets out a clear pathway of the tactics and strategies that will get you there.

“Plans are worthless but planning is everything” Dwight Eisenhower

Planning Framework:

There are three major types of planning generally used in business which includes strategic, operational, and tactical planning. A fourth type of planning, known as contingency planning, is an alternative course of action, often developed to explore and prepare for any eventuality. Contingency planning should be developed in conjunction with an organisation’s business continuity plan.

Your RTOs planning framework should provide a system for aligning priorities, making decisions, allocating resources, and measuring its impact. Outcomes of this approach should result in absolute clarity about your RTO’s mission, purpose, and direction; significant revenue and customer increases; value-based performance reviews; and increased engagement and satisfaction among staff.

Planning systems principles

A framework suited to businesses such as training organisations or educational institutions is one aligned to Hoshin Kanri planning principles. Hoshin planning consists of a seven-step cycle, beginning with high-level strategic objectives and ending with local-level improvement targets:

  1. Establish organizational vision
  2. Develop 3-5-year strategic plan
  3. Develop annual objectives
  4. Deploy to departments to develop plans including targets and means
  5. Implementation
  6. Regular progress reviews monthly and quarterly
  7. Annual review

The principles of the PDCA continuous improvement cycle are heavily embedded into the Hoshin planning process.

Planning Documents:

There are different types of plans and planning tools commonly used in business that differentiate between an organisations long term, short term and operational objectives:

Strategic Plan

A strategic plan provides the framework to communicate your RTOs organisational goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals and includes a vision statement; a mission statement; and details on when the plan will be reviewed and updated. It is the CEO’s responsibility to make sure that changing conditions (both external and internal) are reflected in the RTOs long-term or strategic plan. The larger and more complex the RTO, the larger and more complex the strategic plan will be to include all of the individual departments and functions.

Operational Plans

An operational plan sets out the tasks that your RTO  needs to perform in order to reach a certain outcome. It is a blueprint of sorts, aligned with the objectives outlined in your RTOs strategic plan. Different managerial levels have responsibility for implementing different types of short-term or operational plans. Essential short-term plans for RTOs include validation plans, industry engagement plans or resource development plans as they define specific objectives critical to your business operations.

Team Plans

A team plan  identifies the contribution the team will achieve to your RTOs operational plan. By aligning the team plan to the operational plan, you can ensure their performance can be directed to ensuring they achieve the goals in the operational plan.

Individual Plans

An Individual plan links your RTOs objectives to those of the individual.

Project Management Planning: 

Many RTOs neglect implementing formal project management processes within their business. Project based management is a generic skill required of all managers. Projects are a temporary organisation where resources are assembled to do work and to deliver a result or asset. Documenting your goals, identified risks, roles, timeframes and deliverables in project plans allows project managers clear oversight of resources allocated. Failure to deliver the desired product or service occurs when businesses have inadequate systems in place for planning and executing of projects.