Internal audits and why they are so important (Part 4 of 5)

In the first three parts of this series we discussed the following:

  • What are internal audits?
  • What are the benefits of conducting internal audits?
  • What is an audit scope?
  • What is usually included in an RTO internal audit?
  • Who can be an internal auditor?
  • Compliance costs and risks in terms of “risk management”
  • The effective internal audit function
  • The requirement of conducting internal audits
  • The quality system of an RTO

In this part, we will cover;

Planning for an internal audit and considerations

Planning for an internal audit requires a lot of work and considerations, such as:

  • If you are using an external auditor for your internal audit, find a person who specialises in the area being audited. There is no point in paying for the services of an auditor who has no experience or qualifications in VET. It is also good practise to ask for references from other RTOs. Also keep in mind that if you are delivering qualifications that require additional auditing skills, like nursing qualifications, make sure that the auditor knows about ANMAC requirements. Additionally, if you are delivering qualifications that have licensing requirements, ensure your auditors knowledge is current.
  • Development of an internal audit schedule and/or audit plan is usually based on your educational organisation’s risk management plan. The internal audit schedule and/or audit plan which you will need to provide evidence against should include, but is not limited to, activities such as the following:
    • Compliance with the pre-enrolment and enrolment requirements
    • Marketing and advertising
    • Third-party services  
    • Maintenance of trainer and assessor currency
    • Assessment system
    • Complaints and appeals
    • Validation of assessment resources
    • Management of continuous improvement
    • Student support and welfare
    • Industry engagement and consultation
    • Fit and proper person requirements
    • Financial viability
    • Business planning and direction etc.
  • Preparation of a plan that shows how your audit activities are systematic, independent and that you have a documented process for obtaining audit evidence.
  • Ensuring that the RTO’s Quality System and documentation is available for the audit, such as:
    • The required policies and their accompanying procedures
    • Forms, templates, checklists and flowcharts to support the implementation of policies and procedures
    • Central registers to track and record your compliance activities
    • A compliance matrix that maps how each policy, procedure, form, template etc is related to the Standards.
    • Continuous improvement processes and practices

Stay tuned for more… our coming newsletters will cover the following topics:

  • Part 5: Conducting and recording an actual internal audit
  • Special edition on frequently asked questions and answers on internal audits.
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