In the national training system, the state training authority is responsible for audits to ensure that each group training organisation (GTO) is compliant with the National Standards for Group Training Organisations (PDF, 64KB). In Queensland, this is the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training.
There are five steps in the audit process.
Step 1: notification
This step is required for existing GTOs only.
A GTO should have quality processes in place to ensure that it can arrange for an external (compliance) audit against the National Standards for GTOs to be undertaken prior to the date that its registration under the National Standards expires.
The department may provide notice to GTOs where their registration under the National Standards is going to expire.
The department must give a minimum of seven days notice for other audits against the National Standards.
Step 2: select and engage an auditor
The organisation selects an approved auditor and arranges a time for the audit. The organisation will need to advise the auditor of the names of staff who will assist and provide copies of all self-assessment audit reports conducted, together with any other material that may be relevant.
The approved auditor conducts two types of audit activities: the desk evaluation and the site visit.
Step 3: the desk evaluation
Prior to the site audit, the organisation provides the auditor with copies of all self-assessment audit reports, together with any material that may be relevant to the audit.
The auditor will conduct a desk based audit to evaluate the conformity of the systems and processes, as documented in the self-assessment report, with the National Standards.
A desk evaluation can take between half a day and one full day, depending on the adequacy and completeness of information provided by the GTO in its self-assessment.
Step 4: site visit
On completion of the desk evaluation, a site visit is conducted. At the commencement of the site visit, there is an opening meeting with the chief executive officer and/or delegated officers to agree on the agenda for the site visit and to answer any questions from either party.
During the site visit, auditors will seek examples of evidence from delegates that illustrate sound everyday business operations and continuous improvement.
The evidence the organisation presents will lead to a judgement about the extent of a GTO's compliance with the standards, and its ability to maintain compliance in the future.
Delegated officers will be asked questions relating to the evidence, and may need to produce documents and other forms of evidence for the auditor.
Interviews of management, staff, host employers, and apprentices and trainees which the auditor or government observer conducts may occur to ensure confidence in the GTO's systems and processes being audited. These interviews may be conducted by telephone, survey or in person. Any interviews must be in the presence of a GTO representative. In situations where the auditor is sampling host employers, apprentices and/or trainees, the auditor will invite the government observer to participate.
The auditor is to prepare the quality audit report detailing the findings of the audit. The report will be based on the information obtained during the audit and recorded in the quality audit workbook. The quality audit workbook will be made available to the department upon request.
An exit meeting is held at the conclusion of the site visit with the chief executive officer and/or delegated officers to discuss findings and observations. An audit outcome may not be determined at the conclusion of the site visit.
To provide an opportunity for continuous improvement of the audit process, the auditor is required to provide the GTO representative with an audit evaluation form at the exit meeting.
The site visit to assess compliance with the National Standards usually takes between one and two days.
Step 5: audit findings
At the completion of a site visit, the auditor gives the GTO verbal feedback on the audit findings and observations at the exit meeting.
If the organisation complies with the National Standards, the auditor will explain the finalisation processes.
If there are any areas of non-compliance uncovered during the audit, preventative action is negotiated. A system improvement plan must be prepared at the closing meeting.
The auditor is to prepare the Quality audit report detailing the findings of the audit. The report will be based on the information obtained during the audit and recorded in the Quality audit workbook. The Quality audit workbook will be made available to the department upon request.
Prior to forwarding the Quality audit report to the department, the chief executive officer will need to sight and sign the report.
Step 6: after the audit
The department will notify organisations of their compliance status within 10 working days of receiving the audit report and outcome from the auditor.
Where a GTO is compliant with the National Standards, its details will be entered on the group training register.
The department will evaluate annual self-assessment reports from GTOs and auditor Quality audit reports to establish if professional development is needed to assist with maintaining systems and processes as required by the National Standards.
When the GTO's next audit is due, the GTO will ensure that its Queensland operations are included in the audit.
The audit and evaluation program will be subject to continuous improvement.
Interstate group training organisations seeking recognition in Queensland
Where the department recognises an interstate GTO as a GTO in Queensland, the interstate GTO will be deemed compliant against the National Standards based on it being compliant in its home state, with the dates of its next audit falling due by its interstate registration end date on the Group Training National Register.
The department will advise the organisation of the result, in writing, within 14 days of the decision being made.