During the Audit

The following information outlines what occurs during a TAC audit.
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The following information outlines what occurs during a TAC audit. 

  The Preparing for Audit webinar provides additional information on the audit process.

TAC Audit Procedures

Conflict of Interest

To maintain confidence in the national VET system, the audit process must be open, transparent and defensible. To achieve this, TAC Auditors must be independent and have had no recent association with the RTO or applicant they have been assigned to audit. RTOs, applicants and the audit team are required to declare actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest.

Auditors must not advise, consult or provide an opinion on any aspect of the provider's business, including staff or clients, unless these are opportunities for improvement to be included in the audit report.

RTOs and applicants are given an opportunity to declare a conflict of interest prior to an audit commencing. For applications, this will be through the application form. For other audits, correspondence advising the audit provides information about conflicts of interest. Providers cannot use a conflict of interest declaration as a means of 'picking and choosing' an Auditor, and TAC may seek further clarification of the nature of any declared conflicts of interest.

The following conflict of interest information has been adapted from guidance provided by the Government of WA's Integrity Coordinating Group:

Actual - An actual conflict of interest may arise when an RTO/applicant is asked to make a decision that directly affects or impacts their personal or private interests.

Perceived - Importantly, some conflicts may only be perceived—an RTO/applicant's decision could be questioned based on a personal or private interest that may not actually have impacted any decision.

Potential - A potential conflict of interest arises where a person has private interests that could conflict with their official duties in the future, or where a person has competing interests because they hold more than one official role or public duty.

While this may seem obvious to some, conflicts can be difficult for an RTO/applicant to identify themselves—particularly if they are asked to make decisions quickly and without consultation.

In the first instance, RTO/applicant's should refer to the 'six Ps' and ask themselves:

  • Private interest - Do I have personal or private interests that may conflict or be perceived to be a conflict?
  • Potential - Could there be benefits for me now or in the future that could cast doubt on my objectivity?
  • Perception - Remembering that perception is important, how will my involvement in the decision or action be viewed by others? Are there risks associated for me or my organisation?
  • Proportion - Does my involvement in the decision appear fair and reasonable in all the circumstances?
  • Presence of mind - What are the consequences if I ignore a conflict of interest? What if my involvement was questioned publicly?
  • Promises - Have I made any promises or commitments in relation to the matter? Do I stand to gain or lose from the proposed action or decision?


Protection of Intellectual Property

Auditors will protect the intellectual property of RTOs and applicants and any commercial-in-confidence material or information disclosed in the course of the audit.


What to Expect During the Audit

The following is a guide on what to expect at a site audit:

The audit will commence with an entry interview to be conducted by the lead Auditor, who introduces the audit team and outlines the audit process and the anticipated schedule for the audit. At this meeting, you will be able to provide the audit team with a snapshot of your business, such as the scope of delivery, number of students, modes of delivery, staffing, facilities, client groups, special features, etc.

During the audit, the Auditor will ask a series of questions and review evidence relating to your organisation's outcomes and delivery of nationally recognised training in line with the Standards for RTOs.  More information on the storage of records and keeping records for auditing purposes is available in the:

  TAC Fact Sheet - Records Management

  TAC Talks Podcast - Ep 11 - Retaining Assessment Evidence

The audit may also include observation of training delivery and/or assessment and discussions with students, staff and end user clients such as employers. The Auditor may also identify opportunities for improvement.

For an initial registration audit, the Auditor will look for evidence that required systems, processes and training and assessment resources are in place. 

The Auditor will take notes during the audit to assist with the preparation of an audit report. These notes may be in hard copy or electronic format.

The audit will conclude with an exit interview with relevant staff. At this meeting, the Auditor will provide an overview of the audit findings and allow you the opportunity to ask questions. The Auditor will also explain what happens after the site audit. You may make notes, but you will not be given a written report at the exit meeting. The Auditor will inform the RTO or applicant that the information provided at the exit meeting is a preliminary assessment only, and that the official audit report, provided by TAC , will include more comprehensive information on the audit findings.

On conclusion of the audit, the Auditor will ask you to acknowledge that you have been provided with the following:

  • an overview of the preliminary audit findings;
  • any strengths that may have been identified during the audit;
  • any opportunities for improvement; and
  • TAC's processes following the site audit.

You will be asked to acknowledge this by signing the Auditor's documentation, either electronically or in hard copy.

The Audit Team

An audit may be conducted by a single Auditor or by an audit team comprised of a lead Auditor, one or more co-Auditors and an observer/s may also attend.  Technical experts may also be called upon by the Auditor when seeking technical advice or expertise in regard to an industry specific requirement outlined in the training product.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Audit Team

The following outlines the roles and responsibilities of the audit team for site audits

Lead Auditor

The role of the lead Auditor is to:

  • confirm the scope of the audit with TAC and brief the audit team;
  • contact the RTO or applicant and make an appointment for audit;
  • identify and confirm resources (including audit team members and audit documentation) required to conduct the audit;
  • review documentation and develop a schedule for the audit in conjunction with the RTO or applicant;
  • conduct the entry meeting;
  • manage audit team resources by ensuring there is effective communication between the audit team, and  the RTO or applicant's representative to ensure the audit team have access to relevant materials, sites and personnel;
  • conduct the exit session with the RTO or applicant and confirm follow-up;
  • provide information to the RTO or applicant about the complaint process and follow-up action required; and
  • prepare the audit report with support from the audit team and submit to TAC.


The role of the co-Auditor is to:

  • participate in the entry and exit meetings;
  • identify and gather information;
  • analyse and evaluate information;
  • report findings; and
  • undertake other duties as requested by the lead auditor.


Observers are drawn from TAC and occasionally from other sections within the Department of Training and Workforce Development. Further to this, new Auditors undergoing induction or new members of TAC staff may attend audits as observers.

Auditors can also request an observer to accompany them to any audit should they feel the need. 

The role of the observer is to:

  • ensure that the correct audit process is followed;
  • guard against bias, error and omission by providing a third-party view of the site visit;
  • in the event of a formal complaint by the RTO, provide a third party account;
  • provide clarification on site visit issues to the TAC Secretariat where required; and
  • participate in the entry and exit interview with the RTO.


Knowledge and Skills of Auditors

TAC establishes a panel of RTO Auditors through a public tender process.

Auditors are required to demonstrate they have VET knowledge and skills as well as the necessary knowledge and skills to apply audit principles, procedures and techniques when undertaking TAC audits. Auditors must hold relevant auditor competencies and continuously demonstrate current and relevant vocational competencies in the conduct of audits.

Members of the TAC audit panel are required to undertake ongoing professional development and attend regular mandatory auditor moderation meetings.

TAC Auditors and must observe the TAC Code of Practice for RTO Auditors and Accreditation Reviewers.


Consultants at Audits

During an audit, the Auditor is required to assess how the systems the RTO has implemented, or intends to implement, meet the requirements of the Standards. Through this process the Auditor also has the opportunity to assess staff's understanding of these systems.  Many RTOs or applicants engage consultants to help prepare for a TAC audit. For the Auditor to be confident that an RTO has the capacity to meet the requirements for registration, the interaction at the audit must be between the Auditor and the RTO, not the consultant.

A consultant may attend an audit to provide support to the RTO. However, unless the consultant has been delegated the authority by the RTO's Legally Responsible Person and will undertake the role on an ongoing basis for the RTO, the consultant cannot:

  • provide responses to the auditor on behalf of the provider; or
  • enter into discussions regarding the conduct, progress or findings of the audit.