A Code of Ethics for RTO’s Compliance Professionals

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Compliance programs serve a critical role in helping to prevent and detect misconduct at and by RTOs and to promote a self-assurance environment. The development and rigorous implementation of effective compliance programs for registered training organisations (RTOs), protect students, employers, government investments, and the broader community.

The services of compliance professionals require the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence.

A Code of Ethics for RTO’s compliance professionals could provide Principles and Rules of Conduct and support consistency across RTOs. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is promoting a culture of self-assurance within the regulated community, and a code that prescribe the minimum level of professional conduct can guide RTO’s compliance professionals will support such initiative.

A common Code of Ethics should include three critical areas:

  1. Obligations to the public
  2. Obligations to the RTO
  3. Obligations to the profession

Obligations to the Public. RTO compliance professionals must take actions to prevent misconduct. The duty of a compliance professional goes beyond a duty to the employing RTO. The compliance professional should exhaust all internal means available to deter

his/her employing RTO, its employees, and agents from engaging in misconduct. Misconduct and non-compliances should be escalated to the RTO CEO. The compliance professional should consider resignation only as a last resort since he/she may be the only remaining barrier to misconduct. A letter of resignation should set forth to senior management and the CEO of the RTO in full detail of the conditions that necessitate his/her action.

Obligations to the RTO. Compliance professionals should serve their RTO with the highest sense of integrity, exercise unprejudiced and unbiased judgment on their behalf, and promote effective compliance and ethics programs.

Compliance professionals are not expected to be experts in every field of knowledge that may contribute to an effective RTO compliance program. However, compliance professionals venturing into areas that require additional expertise (i.e. compliance with ESOS Act, or specific government funding contracts) shall obtain that expertise by additional education, training or through working with others with such expertise. Compliance professionals shall have current and general knowledge of all relevant fields of knowledge that reasonably might be expected of a compliance professional and will take steps to ensure that they remain current by pursuing opportunities for professional development.

Obligations to the Profession. Compliance professionals should strive, through their actions, to uphold the integrity and dignity of the profession, to advance the effectiveness of RTO’s compliance programs and to promote professionalism in compliance and ethics.

Compliance professionals will not disclose without consent or compulsory legal process confidential information about the business affairs or technical processes of any present or former RTO. Such disclosure could erode trust in the profession or impair the ability of compliance professionals to obtain such information from others in the future.

The vocational education and training sector must continue its evolution, and another milestone for the VET reform should be the creation of a common Code of Ethics for RTO’s Compliance Professionals.

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