A risk-based approach
Successful organisations are those that have the ability to identify and manage risks, before those risks become destructive realities that impair the organisation’s reputation and its ability to operate.
Risk-based internal auditing aims to deliver increased value through effective and relevant internal auditing. An RTO can achieve this through a combination of approaches to set the scope and focus of internal audits on areas of highest risk to learners, industry, RTO governance and the regulatory environment. This powerful approach ensures the internal audit activity stays effective and relevant.
An internal audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for obtaining objective evidence, and evaluating it fairly to determine the extent to which the audit criteria are fulfilled (ISO 19011:2018). For RTOs, internal auditing is an essential tool to obtain information about the extent to which the RTO:
- Has met the compliance requirements (i.e. Standards for RTOs, ESOS Act, Contractual arrangements)
- Has met RTO’s strategic goals
- Has met learners’ expectations
- Has met industry’s expectations.
The use of a systematic internal audit can produce timely data about the RTO’s performance that can be used by RTO managers to make evidence-based decisions to manage and improve the RTO’s operations. This data is essential to ensure continuous compliance and to submit the Annual Declaration on Compliance every March.
The educational value of internal audits
Internal audits can be used as an action learning strategy for staff members that will be tasked to analyse their own performance against internal procedures, goals, values and external standards and regulations.
Staff members who are audited will be exposed to relevant scenarios of compliant and not compliant practices, the identification of risks, opportunities for improvement and examples of good practices.
By participating in internal audits, staff members tend to gain skills and knowledge about quality and compliance expectations of their own job, and regulatory requirements for the RTO.