Your RTO audit can be very daunting
You have done the hard work and applied many hours preparing your RTO and arrangements to prevent potential non-compliances. Great work! Your audit is approaching and it is now time to showcase your RTO to the regulator. So now you need to know how the audit process works. It doesn’t matter if you are setting up an RTO, or adding to scope, the butterflies come and that could lead to panic, and not ebing able to answer the questions they ask. So now is the time to prepare.
When you make an initial application, the auditors will contact you with a potential date and site location for the audit. Audits may also occur at other times to confirm your organisation’s ongoing compliance with the Standards, or when you seek to extend your scope of registration (i.e. add qualifications or courses to those it is already approved to deliver). Many extensions to scope applications are assessed through a desktop audit.
A good guide is the regulator website,
as they have useful information relating to audits.
Audits may also occur at other times such as monitoring or strategic audits, following a complaint, and on a risk basis during the registration period informed by the risk profiles that are developed for RTOs based on both the internal and external operating environment of an RTO.
The key messages are:
- engagement with industry,
- RTOs working systematically toward quality outcomes,
- continuous improvement,
- identifying, collecting and analysing data from its stakeholders.
The focus of an audit, therefore, is on the outcomes achieved by the RTO. Make your RTO possible.
Preparation is key
Having all the information at your fingertips so when you do go blank you can access it easily.
The preparation you can do for an impending audit will also assist with streamlining the audit itself. The auditors will want to go through all the Standards, and therefore everything you have developed for your RTO operations could be reviewed.
Some practical steps you can take are:
Space / resources
- First impressions count – so make it look and sound like you know what you are doing
- Prepare a space for you and the auditor and any staff – preferably a table so you can sit around it.
- Decide which staff will be suitable to assist, and ensure they will be available on the day. Sometimes it is best to have one person answering questions, and others retrieving information.
- Consider who is going to guide the auditor(s) during the visit and act as a liaison. This could be you or someone else. Make sure whoever you appoint is available at planned times
- Have the evidence readily available
- You can print out everything (please consider the environment)
- You can have a folder on your desktop ready for the auditor to review
- either way is OK
- Prepare your team let them know it is OK and an audit can be a positive, value-add experience for the RTO.
Questions / recording
- Prepare your overview of your client groups, student numbers, methods of instruction, plans for the immediate future.
- When responding to questions, don’t think that you need to have every single detail in your mind. You can refer to policies and procedures – that makes it way easier.
- Take notes. Generally, the notes are on the questions that the auditor asks and their response to the evidence you present. Particularly note issues that arise where the auditor may consider something non-compliant or request additional evidence. If there are non-compliances, then these notes will be critical for you to commence your rectification work directly following the audit.
Feel free to ring the auditor with any questions you might have to help you prepare for audit day.
An audit can take a couple of hours or a couple of days depending on its scope and complexity therefore it is difficult to be specific about timeframes. For most audits, you should set aside a full day to avoid being rushed. An early finish will be a bonus!