Caution issued on increasing consultant use

January 20, 2017

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency has cautioned prospective providers about the growing use of higher education consultants.

It has advised providers to be wary of claims that consultants advising on higher education compliance can fast-track registration applications.

TESQA chief executive Anthony McClaran said a spate of inadequate applications for compliance – 11 out of 18 new registration applications were withdrawn last year – had led to the national regulator’s concern.

“Some potential providers might be tempted to use consultants to outsource what we consider to be critical functions that demonstrate their ability to manage and govern a quality higher education provider,” Mr McClaran said.

“We need to have confidence that potential providers have the necessary internal capabilities for course development, academic leadership and policy development to become higher education providers.”

TEQSA has also expressed concern that potential providers could be led to believe that - by outsourcing the application process - education consultants are able to quickly steer them through strict compliance guidelines.

Often, this is not the case as such applications flag serious capability problems.

Mr McClaran said prospective providers should do their homework before investing in consultants.

“It is important that prospective higher education providers draw on the necessary expertise to support them in the development of their application, and we do see the value of consultants in performing this function but it can’t be at the expense of internal capability”, he said.