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QLD RTO Taking on Governing Body for Loss of Business?

Discussion in 'Commercial Law Forum' started by Makka, 8 April 2015.

  1. Makka

    Makka Active Member

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    Hi, unsure what thread group this goes in so feel free to move it.

    I am currently employed at a training company in Queensland. Now the governing body is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) which is responsible for making sure all RTO's (Registered Training Organisations) are up to date with current courseware and ensuring all RTO's are up to scratch, which is great for the training industry in Australia.

    The issue is, every time ASQA updates or changes a course (i.e Occupational Health and Safety) the RTO must apply for the new course to have it on scope (what it is legally allowed to train and assess in). Once a course is replaced or updated it is superseded and useless to the industry it addresses (lets say the mining industry for OHS). This means that to keep selling courses an RTO must apply for change of scope as soon as ASQA makes these changes.

    It took ASQA 8 months to approve the last change to scope for our company (OHS to Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)). This meant that for 8 months we could not sell the OHS course due to it being outdated. What is worse is that the RTO must PAY the ASQA for changes to scope, as well as any auditing fees required. This means that dues to a loss of sales for 8 long months while we could not deliver the new course, the company that employs around 30 staff almost went broke. There were lay offs and there were cut backs and all the while the governing body just stated repeatedly that the application for scope is being processed and that they will inform us when application is complete.

    Is this grounds for suing for loss of revenue/business? can a company even sue its governing body?

    This was over a year ago but there is a new change to multiple courses and we worry that the same issue will arise again. Any help or input would be appreciated. Let me know if I need to provide any more details.
     
  2. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Check the law the governing body operates under. It may specify time frames. Also see if the law contains a process for resolving disputes with the governing body.
     
  3. Makka

    Makka Active Member

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    After some digging, I did find that if your application of scope is referred to a compliance team, its can take an average of six months to finalise. This is an extremely long time to not be selling a service, but looks like ASQA has covered themselves here.

    The complaints process is as follows;

    ASQA’s Governance, Policy and Quality team handles all complaints about ASQA. This team operates independently from ASQA operational units, and reports directly to the Chief Commissioner. This reporting arrangement provides a measure of confidentiality for the complainant.

    It does not seem like we would have much to stand on unfortunately. I spoke to a compliance manager of another RTO, a friend of mine. She stated that there is some fine print stating that an RTO must be financially viable enough to be able to deal with these processes, which just adds insult to injury.

    I could not find out what law it operates under but I doubt it matters at this point.

    It would seem our only recourse at this point is to charge an extra 20-30% for our qualifications to increase our reserves while keeping less staff, which of course lowers the quality of training. thank you for your input Rod.
     

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