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.
ADJUSTMENTS IN RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The COVID-19 pandemic presented many challenges to the agency in relation to working safely and effectively. TEQSA implemented a number of approaches to support staff, including:
- enabling of remote working from home arrangements for all staff
- roll-out of new technology platforms for communicating with providers and colleagues
- recruitment and on-boarding of new staff remotely
- support for flexible arrangements for staff with increased carer responsibilities and home schooling needs
- provision of a range of health, safety and wellbeing resources, with a particular focus on mental health.
As at 30 June 2020, TEQSA employed 56 APS and 33 executive-level staff, including one SES officer and four Office Holders.
From March 2020, the Chief Commissioner was appointed as the Acting CEO of TEQSA, following the departure of the previous CEO, Mr Anthony McClaran, who has taken up the position of Vice-Chancellor at St Mary's University, UK.
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. The agreement offers competitive terms and conditions of employment, including financial assistance for relevant professional development.
TEQSA's 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 under-performance.
The Learning Committee is driven by a network of staff, focusing on information sharing and capability development by enhancing understanding and knowledge of strategic and emerging issues in the higher education sector.
In 2019-20, TEQSA’s Learning Committee facilitated 13 interactive sessions for staff with presenters from peak bodies, international agencies and TEQSA experts.
TEQSA recognises the value of a capable and high performing workforce and provides staff with learning and development opportunities to develop skills and knowledge for current and future roles and responsibilities.
In 2019-20, TEQSA provided staff with the following professional development:
- executive coaching
- diversity and inclusion awareness workshops
- health and wellbeing workshops
- case management skills
- targeted management and leadership skills development
- higher duties and secondments
- external conferences and seminars.
TEQSA’s enterprise agreement also provided access for all staff to an annual reimbursement of up to $3 000 for the cost of relevant professional development, including fees associated with an approved course of study.
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.
TEQSA uses a range of external experts across discipline, pedagogical and specialised higher education policy and governance areas in undertaking its regulatory activities. The agency actively maintains a Register of Experts that staff use to select relevant experts, primarily for course accreditation or renewal of accreditation applications. The advice from experts informs the assessment of applications by TEQSA staff and their development of recommendations for decision makers.
In 2019-20, TEQSA completed its review of the Register of Experts and approach to engagement with experts. Key outcomes of the review included:
- the establishment of an Experts Advisory Board, to provide independent advice and assist with sector engagement
- the deployment of an enhanced database, with improved demographic reporting and more in-depth information on expertise to better inform staff on expert selection for assignments
- the implementation of programs and support to foster a community of best-practice for TEQSA experts, including an inaugural experts annual forum, held in conjunction with the annual TEQSA conference.
In 2019-20, a total of 89 experts were engaged by TEQSA.
Table 18: Work assignments completed by experts
Completed work assignments