by: Carly Boon
While re-registration can be a massive undertaking, there is no denying that the initial registration to become a Higher Education provider is the most overwhelming, mostly because the process is new and it can be hard to know where to start.
To help those thinking about registering for the first time, we thought we’d outline the process we take to get Higher Education providers organised and share some useful tips to make sure you’re in the best position of putting forward a high-quality submission.
Develop a list of evidence
When planning for your registration, it’s important to start by compiling a list of the evidence that TEQSA requires from you, from a provider and course perspective. This is essential for task delegation to ensure nothing gets missed through the process.
If you’d like a copy of the evidence requirements to help with your planning, email us and we’ll send a list through for you.
Set up basic templates
If there is one thing TEQSA likes it’s consistency. That’s why at the start of the process you should set up document templates to ensure you have a consistent application from the get-go. At this time we’d also recommend that you set up standard naming conventions for everything to make it easier for assessors and again demonstrate consistency.
Establish the timeframe
Good planning requires you to start with the end in mind. That is why it is wise to establish the timeframe you have to complete the submission and build the plan around this to ensure tasks and activities are completed on time.
Now, let’s be frank for a moment. Registration is not a quick process. We recommend allowing a minimum of a year to complete your submission as there is a lot of work to be done. You also need to allow anywhere from 18-24 months after the submission before you commence as TEQSA can take a significant amount of time in reviewing your submission.
Distribute the tasks
There are a wide range of activities that need to be addressed through the submission. These cover a range of areas, including:
- Operational – These include strategic documents, site related information, financials, FTE calculations, budgets and forecasts and marketing (including the website)
- Academic – These include your academic governance, board of directors and course set up
- Policies and Procedures – You will require a lot of policies and procedures. If you would like a list all of the policies and procedures you should include in your submission email us for a copy of these
INSIDER TIP: While it can be tempting to include multiple courses in your initial submission, we recommend doing only one and getting this right first.
The submission itself contains a whole lot of tasks that need to be organised. These include:
- Overviews – We always recommending starting these first
- Evidence Tables – These are crucial to link everything together
- Body of Evidence – General organisation of the documentation
These tasks are then delegated to team members according to the following roles:
- Operations documentation coordinator – They are responsible for organising the operational information and distributing information to the right people.
- Policy writer – If you don’t have a designated and experienced policy writer in-house, this is one of the first tasks you need to outsource. A good policy writer is essential for your submission.
- Evidence coordinator – With over 100 pieces of evidence needed for the submission, you need someone in charge of organising, storing, naming and tracking the evidence required for the submission.
- Academics – These crucial team members are responsible for the development of the course/s.
- Subject Matter Experts – As the initial registration submission has so many niche areas, it’s impossible to engage one specialist to manage it all, you need multiple experts to put forward a strong submission.
Next, you need to set up accountability meetings, expert advisory sessions and working groups at key milestones to keep the submission on track. At this stage you will also want to determine the board and senior leadership that you need to report to. This will ensure decisions are made promptly and important matters like risks are escalated and addressed quickly throughout the process.
As part of the plan, it is recommended that you also build in time for a mock assessment. This is a low-cost way to get expert feedback on your submission before you send it to TEQSA and it helps to identify any gaps to ensure you put forward the best submission.
Once finalised, you then upload it to the portal and submit. After a period of time (normally a few months) TEQSA will come back with an approved, conditionally approved or unapproved notice.
As a result of this thorough and strategic approach to registrations and re-registrations, all submissions we have managed have come back approved by TEQSA.
We recently took the Adelaide Institute of Higher Education (AIHE) through this registration process and here’s what Don Chen, Director of AIHE, had to say about it.
“Our institution was seeking initial provider registration and course accreditation with TEQSA. I was referred to DVE Business Solutions (DVE), and their approach to effectively project manage the complete process from end to end.
Given the high cost, importance and level of resources required to submit an initial submission, we committed to this additional expertise and support. Through early planning and project set up by a dedicated DVE Project Team, combined with expert ‘DVE SME’ sessions regularly throughout the project, our internal team was well supported and received direction on how to develop our submission to the highest standards.
With DVE’s project management, subject matter expertise and collaborative approach with our team, we achieved an outstanding result: 7 years unconditional registration! The AIHE team is thrilled with the results, and we have our first intake of students studying this year.”
Supporting providers to be compliant and embedding knowledge and learning so that future compliance efforts can be seamless and well-planned is incredibly rewarding. What’s more, we have been finding this combination of experts and project management along with a transfer of knowledge approach is seeing great success in the sector.
Need help managing your compliance requirements? Our team of experts are highly experienced in managing initial registrations and re-registrations and are always happy to have a chat about your institution and compliance. Contact Carly on 0430 090 550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.