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Australian National Audit Office performance audit

In 2019-20, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) undertook a performance audit of TEQSA’s regulation of higher education.

The objective of the performance audit was to assess the effectiveness of TEQSA’s regulation of higher education, and it included four criteria:

  1. Does TEQSA have an effective process to assign and maintain appropriate risk ratings to existing and prospective higher education providers?
  2. Does TEQSA have effective and timely approvals processes, including for registering higher education providers and accrediting courses?
  3. Does TEQSA have effective assurance, compliance and enforcement processes?
  4. Does TEQSA provide effective support to the higher education sector to address key sector-wide risks?

The performance audit report was tabled in parliament on 16 April 2020. The report found that TEQSA’s regulatory activities were effective or largely effective in all but one area (compliance and enforcement activities). The audit findings confirmed that TEQSA is meeting its purpose under the TEQSA Act to regulate higher education in alignment with the principles of regulatory necessity, risk and proportionality.

TEQSA accepted the five ANAO recommendations in relation to compliance and enforcement activities, and acknowledged other areas for improvement. Considerable work has been undertaken to address these areas, some of which was already planned or underway during the audit process.

This work includes strengthening the existing compliance monitoring framework, improvements to the planning of compliance assessments, and the timely assessment of material submitted by providers. Consistent processes to handle material change notifications and reporting of compliance activity have also been implemented. Details of these activities are presented in the relevant sections of this annual report.