The terms and conditions of employment for non-Senior Executive Service (SES) TEQSA employees are set out in the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Enterprise Agreement 2018-2021. This enterprise agreement was voted up by staff in December 2017, approved by the Fair Work Commission, and came into effect on 18 May 2018.
TEQSA maintains a shared-services arrangement with the Productivity Commission for information and communications technology, and payroll services. The arrangement is beneficial for both agencies and for TEQSA’s service delivery, significantly reducing costs.
As at 30 June 2019, TEQSA employed 53 APS and 30 executive-level staff, including one SES officer and five Office Holders. All were based in Victoria.
More information on TEQSA’s staffing profile is included at Appendix C: Staffing Profile.
REMUNERATION AND OTHER TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The conditions of employment for APS and executive-level employees are set out in the enterprise agreement. It offers competitive terms and conditions of employment, including financial assistance for relevant professional development.
TEQSA Commissioners, including the Chief Commissioner, are appointed by the Minister pursuant to section 138 of the TEQSA Act and are paid the remuneration determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. The CEO of TEQSA is also appointed by the Minister and the CEO’s remuneration is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.
Non-salary benefits provided by the agency to employees include superannuation, home‑based computer access, professional development and studies assistance, and flexible working arrangements.
TEQSA’s enterprise agreement does not include provision for performance pay.
TEQSA has a formal performance management system in place for staff. This assists in:
- clarifying individual employee work tasks, responsibilities and performance
- setting performance expectations and providing feedback
- improving communication between managers and their staff (through performance appraisals)
- providing a basis for determining salary advancement within classifications, identifying learning and professional development needs and opportunities, and identifying and managing underperformance.
The Learning Committee is driven by a community of staff, focusing on information sharing by enhancing understanding and knowledge of strategic and emerging issues in the higher education sector. In 2018-19, TEQSA’s Learning Committee facilitated 15 interactive sessions for staff with presenters from peak bodies, international agencies and internal experts of TEQSA.
TEQSA recognises the value of a well-educated workforce and provides staff with learning and development opportunities to develop skills and knowledge for current and future roles and responsibilities. In 2018-19, TEQSA provided staff with the following professional development:
- health and wellbeing workshops
- targeted management and leadership skills development
TEQSA’s enterprise agreement also provided access for all staff to an annual reimbursement of up to $3000 for the cost of relevant professional development, including fees associated with an approved course of study.
STAFF INDUCTION, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
In 2018, TEQSA commenced an extensive program of recruitment and training for 42 new or existing staff. The program consisted of internal subject matter experts delivering 30 modules over four months that included core induction information as well as case management fundamentals. Feedback from participants was very positive and the content of the program was made available to all staff through the agency intranet.
WORKPLACE CONSULTATIVE ARRANGEMENTS
The agency consulted regularly with staff through a number of fora. Regular all-staff meetings provided staff with updates on a range of management and operational issues. Each group within the agency held regular meetings to raise issues and put forward ideas for improving the work environment. In addition, staff were able to provide comment and feedback through the TEQSA Staff Consultative Committee.
In undertaking regulatory assessments, TEQSA uses external experts in a range of discipline areas and in specialised higher education learning and teaching methodologies. The agency maintains a Register of Experts that staff use to identify relevant experts. These engagements are primarily for course accreditation or renewal of accreditation applications and the advice of the experts informs the assessment of applications and the development of recommendations for decision makers.
In 2017-18, TEQSA commenced a review of the management of its Register of Experts and approach to engagement with TEQSA experts. As part of this review, in 2018-19 the agency completed a review of the selection and management of TEQSA experts to ensure a diversity of experts in relevant fields. TEQSA also commenced the following aspects of the project:
- development of an enhanced database and a review program for the Register of Experts to better support TEQSA's assessment processes
- establishment and support of a community of practice to update TEQSA experts on assessment requirements and share best-practice approaches.
Table 13: Work assignments completed by experts
In 2018-19, a total of 121 experts were engaged by TEQSA.