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Beyond compliance – better outcomes from the TEC’s monitoring

Beyond compliance – better outcomes from the TEC’s monitoring

Last updated 15 December 2017
Last updated 15 December 2017

The TEC is re-aligning its monitoring to work closer with tertiary education organisations (TEOs) by introducing a flexible, smarter approach that focuses on education and appropriate response to risk.

We have introduced a new audit and investigation model, which is a change from the former, less flexible, audit-review-investigation model.

“What we’re doing is working smarter through early identification of risk and tailoring our response to the actual level of risk we see,” says Dean Winter, the TEC’s Manager of Monitoring and Crown Ownership.

Our tools to manage risk will range from proactive educational activities, to self-audits by a TEO, through to more focused interventions and investigations where there is a need.

“We’ve got an important role in monitoring approximately 700 TEOs receiving funding from the Government’s $2.9 billion annual investment in tertiary education. We need to make sure we’re putting in the appropriate time and resources so that we can be confident in TEOs’ use of funding but at the same time, the process shouldn’t be unreasonably onerous for TEOs.”

Part of that is working with the extensive data now available on TEOs’ performance. In turn we can share that with TEOs so they can use it to perform to their absolute best, Mr Winter says.

“It’s contemporary compliance. This is a smarter approach to monitoring, so we can identify issues earlier and support TEOs to address them, ideally before they require more intensive intervention.

“We know that TEOs want to meet their funding requirements and deliver outstanding learning for their students. Our new approach supports this while strengthening our ability to act when things go wrong.”

The TEC uses external experts to carry out investigations when necessary but we are strengthening our internal capability with the recent appointment of Ben Potaka, our first senior investigator. Ben has a background with Australia’s Justice Ministry, and the Department of Internal Affairs and the Law Society Inspectorate in New Zealand.

“The TEC is making really good headway moving to a much more outward facing, proactive approach to investigations. By bringing together our expertise around audits, financial viability and governance we are leading, not just reacting," says Mr Potaka.

“That allows us to take a holistic approach to helping TEOs stay on track.”

Mr Winter says building in-house expertise will be a strong focus in the future. “Even when an external supplier is employed, a member of my team will lead the investigation and ensure that the TEO is involved in the process.”

The monitoring and investigations sections of the TEC website will be updated with the new approach soon.