The Growing Trend that Will Find Many Institutions Non-Compliant

Posted: 25/02/2021

by: Carly Boon

As we move into ‘COVID Normal’ for 2021, the pain and frustration of adjusting in 2020, seems almost like a distant memory. In compliance, we are starting to see the process that have been in place for some months being the norm and the shift to virtual services, with a mix of students back on campus, now a reality.

While TEQSA gave a three-year extension to many of the ‘low risk’ providers in 2020, we have seen a worrying trend of institutions treating this as a ‘free period’, as opposed to an opportunity to take a well-considered approach to their re-registrations.

Several providers breathed a huge sigh of relief when given their three-year extension. Many were within striking range of their due dates and not ready to submit a well-prepared response.

This ‘kicking the can down the road’ response – will surely see these providers under prepared and in the exact same scenario in two years’ time, but also with no documented COVID-19 responses and appropriate changes, rendering them non-compliant.

Add into the mix that there is well documented mass exodus from many institutions with the inevitable change programs and a loss of institutional knowledge – crucial knowledge that will be needed at the time of re-registration – and you can start to realise the worrying times ahead for some providers.

With these factors at play, it will be interesting to see what plays out in 2023 onward for those who have taken a relaxed approach to their compliance whether by choice, or by circumstance.

At DVE we work with a number of providers and have the opportunity of being part of best practice and sadly seeing the worst as providers try to navigate the aftermath. Some examples include:

  • A University taking a proactive approach to their re-registration, engaging us two years prior, amongst a major institutional change to ensure they know their gaps
  • A Higher Education Provider re-registration that was given a notice to de-register from TEQSA
  • Several institutions who have either tried or tried and failed to submit their initial submission with adverse outcomes.

Our big lessons from all of these projects are:

  • Engage independent TEQSA-specific expert advice early – It may be a small risk review but do it early! If you know your risks, you can manage them.
  • Have a plan – Measure against it, raise when its off track, and don’t put your head in the sand.
  • ‘Perfection Paralysis’ is a real thing – Use idea boards and continuous improvement registers to gather ‘future ideas’ and keep focused on being compliant, NOW.
  • You cannot over-resource – We’re yet to see an institution where we need to send people off to do other work when a registration is on the table.

Want to find out about best practice or need advice and ideas? Contact us today, you’ll find as many institutions have that we love compliance and even sometimes manage to make it fun!