There are a number of actions a corporation can take to prepare for an audit against the National Standards for Group Training Organisations (PDF, 64KB).
Understand what the auditor will look for
Organisations need to establish appropriate systems under the National Standards, including written procedures to support group training operations.
A corporation must comply with each of the National Standards. The evidence required for each standard has been defined in a way that balances the need to be clear about what is expected, with sufficient flexibility in the way evidence can be presented to acknowledge the diversity of group training organisations (GTOs). For example, two organisations may provide different examples of evidence to demonstrate compliance with the same sub clause of a standard.
The Evidence Guide to support the National Standards for Group Training Organisations (PDF, 116KB) on the Australian Apprenticeships website, contains a number of suggested examples of where and how evidence might be provided. The examples are designed to assist organisations and auditors to decide what might be appropriate evidence for a corporation to demonstrate compliance. The examples are not exhaustive, nor are they prescriptive, but they may prove useful as a guide.
Conduct a self-assessment audit
Under the National Standards, GTOs are required to conduct an annual self-assessment audit against the standards. These self-assessment audits will enable GTOs to identify issues and implement improvements to ensure continuous compliance with the National Standards.
A GTO is required to undertake the self-assessment process by 31 December each year and to submit a self-assessment report to the department by 31 January of the following year.
Organisations conducting initial compliance audits must also conduct a self-assessment audit against the National Standards prior to engaging an independent auditor for certification.
Prior to the site audit, the organisation must provide the auditor with all self-assessment audit reports, together with any other material that may be relevant.
The auditor will conduct a desk evaluation to evaluate whether or not systems and processes conform to the National Standards, as documented in the self-assessment report.
Gather sufficient evidence
The auditor wants to know what the corporation does, and how it does it, in relation to each standard. Documentation needs to be produced to demonstrate application of systems and processes.
The evidence required for each standard has been defined in a way that balances the need to be clear about what is expected, with sufficient flexibility in the way evidence can be presented. If the auditor identifies areas in which evidence is lacking, this determination can be used as an opportunity to improve business practices.
Pre audit hints
The department has prepared the following hints to help with a compliance audit:
- Complete an annual self-assessment audit. The auditor will request these reports in order to undertake audit activities.
- Make sure the appointment time for the site audit allows enough uninterrupted time for the opening and closing meetings (approximately one hour each) and for the review of all evidence.
- Identify a place for the audit interview where documentation and records are accessible and there are few distractions.
- Identify key people to coordinate the audit process. Ensure they are familiar with all systems, responsibilities, practices and records, as they will be the closest link to the auditor.
- Ensure staff with specific responsibilities are available during the audit.
- Be prepared to find documents. Records of host employers, apprentices or trainees may be tracked and sampled to establish confidence that the systems and processes operate appropriately.