This article is relevant to those RTOs who hold a VET Funding Contract with the Higher Education and Skills Group (HESG) for the Victorian Training Guarantee Program.
Ensuring ongoing compliance can be tricky but something you definitely want to make sure you’re on top of in order to ensure you are delivering good quality outcomes for students, the government and ensure you are able to retain your contract into the future. Here are some tips to help ensure you have nailed your compliance.
1. Update or check unit start and end dates and result codes after any training or assessment activity
Accuracy and timeliness is key. The Higher Education and Skills Group require results to be claimed within 120 days of activity taking place. If you don’t report the data within 120 days this will cause a Reject Code which is difficult to rectify and may lead to you not being paid for the unit.
This means having a policy that ensures you update your student management system within 7-14 days after any activity has occurred is a good one to have to avoid this issue. If you wait until assessment has occurred to enter your data, it means you’ll be delaying your payments, but also it risks losing the payment altogether if the unit runs close to or longer than 120 days.
Unit start dates should not be adjusted once a claim has been lodged for a unit unless absolutely necessary. Changing a unit start date after a claim will reverse the old claim (and cause a Reject Code) and create a new claim. If your new claim is then more than 120 days old, this will cause it to be rejected as per above.
Expected unit end dates can be adjusted as students’ progress through the course so as to reflect the real anticipated date a student will finish.
2. Keep accurate details of your eligibility checks
Ensure you have a form or other tool that staff use to check and confirm eligibility for each student. Simply having the standard eligibility declaration form signed by each student is not enough. We recommend having a form filled in by a staff member for each student to guide them through the eligibility check and demonstrate it has been completed correctly.
It should include checks and evidence (where applicable) against each of the four eligibility categories:
- Students age (if age affects eligibility)
- Students prior qualifications (if over 20 years of age)
- Students residential address
- Proof of residency or citizenship
- Concession entitlement (doesn’t affect eligibility but will affect tuition fees issued)
Although not a contract requirement we recommend retaining evidence of the documents that prove eligibility – collect certified copies of evidence or take a photo of originals. These days its so easy to take a photo on your smart phone and store the photo in the student file. This could include photos of medicare cards, birth certificate, driver’s license, health care card etc. This will ensure the processes you use are fool-proof and robust in an audit.
3. Make sure you have your business processes documents and your website up-to-date
The contract requires you to have your business processes documented clearly to ensure you can demonstrate how you systematically manage contract compliance.
Make sure you have your business processes documented accurately for determining eligibility, claiming, issuing of fees, retention of evidence etc. This will be crucial in an audit and is important in making sure your staff know how to keep your RTO compliant.
The contract also requires you to publish certain information in a prominent place on your website. By now you should have published your 2014 quality indicator data on your website and should have published your most recent audit reports and your 2015 fees amongst other things.
4. Upload your data regularly
Uploading your data (NAT files) more than once a month will make sure you catch any data entry or other validation issues before they get out of control and help get all of your claims through on time each month. Make sure someone in your RTO is responsible for uploading data at least twice a month and more if you have a high volume of students.
5. Log in to your SVTS portal daily
HESG issue regular Contract Notifications which affect implementation and compliance with the contract. These are only communicated through SVTS and it is your responsibility to ensure you remain up-to-date. It may be the responsibility of your compliance manager, upper management or CEO to login every day and check for changes but make sure someone is doing this. HESG / SVTS does not send out email notifications so keeping an eye out in your portal is vital to staying in the loop and making sure you are aware or resources, events and changes which may affect you.
Need help managing your RTO administration, claiming or compliance processes? Or maybe you need a quick health check to make sure you are compliant? Contact us to discuss your needs firstname.lastname@example.org