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CEET Conference 2011 Funding VET for Social Inclusion Competitive tendering and contestable funding in VET: approaches to supporting access and equity.

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Presentation on theme: "CEET Conference 2011 Funding VET for Social Inclusion Competitive tendering and contestable funding in VET: approaches to supporting access and equity."— Presentation transcript:

1 CEET Conference 2011 Funding VET for Social Inclusion Competitive tendering and contestable funding in VET: approaches to supporting access and equity. Peter Noonan - Director The Allen Consulting Group; Associate CEET Rebecca Astley - Consultant The Allen Consulting Group

2 2 Project overview The project was undertaken for the National VET Equity Advisory Council (NVEAC) A review and analysis of competitive tendering and contestability in VET To propose overarching principles and specific guidelines for VET competitive funding and contestability, to better support access and participation across the full spectrum of learners, including those who experience disadvantage

3 Risks and implications of contestable funding: Why equity should be considered Need to boost workforce participation and productivity by raising levels of educational attainment —particularly amongst those with low levels of participation and educational attainment Contestable funding models may not provide sufficient incentive to deliver education and training to disadvantaged learners Given continued moves towards contestable funding, it is important that equity considerations are adequately and effectively incorporated in contestable funding models going forward 3

4 Defining equity and disadvantaged learners Equity: In VET, equity involves designing systems and processes that meet diverse learning needs and which ensure that who learners are and their life circumstances are not the determining factors in their access to VET, VET participation and experiences, or VET outcomes (e.g. further education and training, employment and/or community participation) Disadvantaged learners: Disadvantaged learners refer to ―current and potential learners in VET who experience disadvantage who experience disadvantage as a result of VET systems and processes, which do not adequately take account of their particular life circumstances Disadvantaged learners may include, people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, Indigenous Australia, people with a disability and others Source: NVEAC Equity Blueprint

5 Project methodology Review of contestable funding in VET Identification and analysis of examples of contestable funding (Commonwealth, state and territory examples) Identification of overarching principles for equity in contestable funding Application of principles to models of contestable funding Development of guidelines for equity in contestable funding 5

6 Models of contestable funding Tendered funding Government agencies define specific requirements and RTOs submit proposals Entitlement (eligibility) based funding Individuals meeting specific criteria are deemed to be eligible for access to publicly funded VET programs Enterprise based funding Enterprises are able to partner with RTOs to jointly fund enterprise based training, leading to national VET qualifications Place based funding VET funds are applied to deliver programs that are designed to meet the needs of communities in specific localities 6

7 Principles for equity in contestable funding 1 – Pricing programs should be flexible, transparent and sufficient to reflect additional costs associated with meeting the needs of disadvantaged learners 2 – Equity requirements should be explicitly included in all contestable funding approaches and programs 3 – Pricing and guidelines should include the full range of disadvantaged learners (as defined in the NVEAC Equity Blueprint ) 4 – Contestable funding approaches and programs should include explicit monitoring of outcomes for equity learners 5 – There should be continuity in funding support for disadvantaged learners in a contestable funding environment 7

8 Equity guidelines: tendered funding Tender briefs should clearly define equity requirements and outcomes that are relevant to the primary purpose of the course, course level, and learner group Outcomes should include completion, progression to further learning and employment, and should be assessed on a longitudinal basis Equity criteria in tender briefs should be appropriately weighted and applied in the evaluation of tender proposals Where the purchasing body sets the price for qualifications, the price should reflect additional costs associated with achieving equity outcomes 8

9 Equity guidelines: tendered funding (cont.) Where tenders are price sensitive (i.e. governments are not price setters), price should be evaluated against equity outcomes for the full range of relevant learner groups Where possible, tenders should support continuity of programs where they are successful and support ongoing capability development for providers Reporting and monitoring requirements should include monitoring and reporting on the equity criteria, as required in the tender brief and proposal. Reporting and monitoring should have an outcomes focus to ensure equity objectives are being achieved Consideration should be given to providing performance based funding for RTOs that exceed equity requirements 9

10 Equity guidelines: entitlement (eligibility) based funding The primary objective of entitlement based funding should be to improve participation in education and training, as well as outcomes, specifically for equity groups. Entitlement based funding should be complemented by specific tendered or place based funding, for disadvantaged learners who may be ineligible for or not able to access entitlement based funding. This is also important for those in rural and remote areas where thin markets may mean that viable classes are not always possible. Governments and independent agencies should be the primary source of advice and information to potential learners. Information programs should be targeted to equity groups to ensure learners are able to make informed choices regarding education and training. 10

11 Equity guidelines: entitlement (eligibility) based funding (cont.) Standard enrolment funding rates should be accompanied by loadings or specific payments for equity groups. Loadings should be targeted to identified additional learning needs. Eligibility for loadings should be based on an assessment of need. Specific consideration should be given to the needs of students with disabilities where enrolment based loadings may not be sufficient. Government should clearly define eligibility for exemptions or concessions for those who are not eligible for entitlement funding. Government or independent agencies should administer exemptions or concessions to potential learners. Outcomes in a demand based system should be carefully monitored and evaluated. This should include monitoring and evaluation of equity outcomes and transitions to higher level qualifications or study, and employment. 11

12 Equity guidelines: enterprise based funding Where possible, choice of programs and enterprises to be funded under this model should ensure that learners acquire skills that are transferable beyond their current employment. The highest level of enterprise based funding should be provided where community and social benefits are high. Levels of enterprise based funding should be lower where a qualification is highly specific and relevant only to the enterprise. Funding priority should be given to enterprises that demonstrate evidence of workforce diversity strategies, participation in employment programs for equity groups, or similar social and community contributions. Submissions and proposals should clearly indicate how equity outcomes are to be achieved for the relevant workforce. Monitoring and reporting arrangements for enterprise based funding should include independent evaluation based on outcomes. 12

13 Equity guidelines: place based funding The decision to use selective, tendered or direct funding for RTO delivery should be based on the specific needs of the relevant community. Place based funding should allow flexibility in its application to meet local community needs. Outcomes of the funding should be clearly defined, while incorporating processes to ensure community engagement and participation. Place based funding should seek to use local skills and capacity to deliver programs where they are available. 13

14 Key findings and recommendations The AQTF Essential Conditions for Initial Registration include standards to ensure that providers have strategies in place to adhere to the principles of access and equity, and to maximise outcomes for students. Likely that the Commonwealth, states and territories are reliant on the AQTF to ensure that providers adhere to access and equity principles. Opportunities exist within the Australian VET sector to further improve access and equity considerations within competitive tendering and contestable funding arrangements in all jurisdictions. Within funding approaches this includes clearly defining equity objectives and broad outcomes, guidelines for tenderers relating to equity and assessment of tenders, performance indicators, outcome reporting and evaluation. While there is significant literature available on equity in general and funding models, there is limited evidence on how the two relate. Further evaluation of funding approaches involving the association between equity and outcomes would provide further evidence to support this analysis. 14

15 Peter Noonan Rebecca Astley Level 9, 60 Collins St Melbourne Vic 3000 Tel: Fax: For full version of research paper go to:


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