Many people will recall the findings in my last book regarding Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) access to Merits Review being compromised & that procedural fairness was NOT something easily afforded to the average RTO under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth)...Many might also remember the article that I wrote in relation to accreditation issues.
Education Issues Australia notified the most alarming of Tribunal Decisions to EVER affect the VET sector, if not, Australia's justice system!
Earlier this year, a Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal was forced to recuse himself after finding that they had failed to consider the evidence and submissions of an RTO.
Looking for that decision? Here it is... It's a short one of 5 pages.
Deputy Presidents are more senior and experienced legal officers than their Senior Member or Member counterparts. There have been more than 800 RTOs forcibly shut down by ASQA and left with their only avenue of appeal being the Administrative Appeal Tribunal, with (as at today's date - 15 March 2021) 45 RTO businesses in ongoing reviews before the AAT, and a further 17 considering that option.
This admission by an experienced and senior Deputy President of the Tribunal that they had failed to consider the evidence and submissions of an RTO undermines the already jeopardised confidence in the Australian VET Sector and the impartiality of its regulator. The same Deputy President has been a member of the AAT since 2017, in which time ASQA has forcibly shut down 100's of businesses, with the AAT the only avenue of appeal. It should be of great interest to the VET sector to identify who else was a member of the same Tribunal Registry during that timeframe. Some simple research ought to do it.
Many questions are now being asked at the highest levels of government and rightly so! At a time when the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is undertaking a review of ASQA, a review that many in the industry say does not go anywhere near as widely as it needs to, surely this information is critical to consider? The terms of reference have been cleverly drafted to ensure that all of those things that were asked for in the petition sought by the members of the #enoughisenough campaign are not asked and in all honesty, to get half of what SHOULD be submitted into the review will require some very clever drafting to fit the terms of reference! The response in relation to the petition from Senator Michaelia Cash was tokenistic at best.
As was rightly questioned by some earlier today, if evidence and submissions can be so easily dismissed or disregarded, how many more matters are there like this? How would an RTO who was potentially a victim of this even know? How would they even seek justice? What processes are in place to ensure that this doesn't happen again?
If these businesses (RTOs) cannot have confidence in their regulator ASQA or in the legal process established to afford natural justice and procedural fairness (the AAT), what possible confidence can clients of either the Australian VET Sector have in its leaders and proponents or worse still, the entire justice system?
#ASQA #proceduralfairness #AAT #apprehendedbias #howmanymore #CRICOS #vetreform #law #regulation
What’s your opinion on this issue?
RTO Doctor assists VET & international education providers around the country to ensure their compliance with their regulatory requirements; a critical issue for RTOs around the nation currently experiencing a very hostile and punitive regulatory environment.
Raelene Bartlett, Founding Director of RTO Doctor published the book CRICOS CPR: Top 5 Tips to Rescue Your RTO as a way of supporting providers in navigating this minefield. She has also published the number 1 international bestseller in 3 categories "Legal Decision-Making Under The National Vocational Education And Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth): An Investigation Into Access To Merits Review"
For all those who purchase a copy of the book, there are special codes that provide a range of discounts and bonus offers making this even more affordable. There's really no excuse not to get yourself a copy of MUST read books available on Amazon or a signed hard copy directly from me. For your signed copy, to book a risk management review or obtain advice in relation to our specialist AAT support services, get in touch today.
Raelene Bartlett is a legend in the education space. Her knowledge of the applicable law, The Standards and her experience in acting for many hundreds of providers is without parallel. Her dedication to her clients and her stubborn adherence to her vision of a broader, fairer and more open education space for providers sets her apart from other players in the space.
There is no ‘near enough is good enough’. Perfection is the only option. Her loyal following from her clients and has earned the fearful respect of the regulator."
“As an experienced lawyer working extensively with RTOs in their dealings with ASQA and in applications to the AAT, I have worked with Raelene helping many RTOs over many years. With Raelene, you know she’s in your corner, but at the same time she brings much-needed objectivity and a clear-sighted approach in advising RTOs. Her comprehensive knowledge of the VET sector, including the legislation and Standards which regulate it and the policy and approach adopted by ASQA in overseeing it, are invaluable to RTOs but also to me in formulating and implementing the right legal strategy for each client. Raelene is an excellent ally in ensuring success.”
“We approached Raelene when we got the cancellation notice from ASQA as we wanted someone who could combine the legal mind with compliance knowledge and help us with not only rectification but develop an overarching strategy to fight what was very obviously a wrong and out of proportion decision by ASQA. She also stuck with us as a client till the very end ,ensuring a positive outcome unlike some in the industry who tend to bail out when things get to the hairy end. Raelene remains one of very few people I have known with a zero error approach and capacity to do so.
We remain grateful to her for what she brought on the table for us and gave us not only hope but led the strategy and execution, freeing us to focus on ensuring that the wolves did not circle the RTO when under stress."
“Raelene changed the paradigm of how we deal with regulators. She forces them to play by the rules rather than letting them throw their weight around unchallenged. As a result, even after multiple attempts to sanction or cancel us they have never been successful. Also, Raelene has worked with our RTO to become as compliant and bullet-proof as possible.
Now regulatory interaction is an occasional annoyance, not an existential threat.”
“I’ve worked with Raelene over several years and seen first-hand her invaluable assistance in reforming RTOs to prepare for proceedings in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and helping me to prepare for hearings. Her knowledge, diligence and attention to detail are first-rate, and I would happily recommend her to any RTO.”
With our RTO facing a cancellation decision by ASQA at Tribunal and having already engaged and worked with 4 different compliance consultants, it was with great fortune we were referred to Raelene Bartlett Founding Director of RTO Doctor to assist us with our fight with ASQA.
Raelene has been instrumental in winning our case after 2 years with ASQA and we have no hesitation in recommending her and RTO Doctor .
I have worked with a number of consultants over the years but RTO Doctor has been by far the best. In my view the knowledge that she brings to the audit process is first class.
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for all of your loving support & guidance over the last week. Closing an RTO is one of the most stressful experiences I have been through in my ten years as a successful small business owner.
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