How the Professional Regulator program is lifting capability across organisations
12 October 2023● News and media
Regulatory agencies are using bulk purchases of The Professional Regulator program to build capability and give their employees a common regulatory language.
The program, a joint initiative of the ANZSOG-auspiced National Regulator’s Community of Practice (NRCoP) and the Australian National University’s (ANU) School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), began in July 2023, after a pilot program for NRCoP members that fine-tuned content and delivery.
The Professional Regulator has been designed with input from regulators across jurisdictions and fills a gap by providing regulator-specific training that focuses on the shared challenges regulators face regardless of what sector they work in.
It is a self-paced course and includes six 90-minute online modules, as well as the opportunity to access six online small-group seminars which extend key learnings from the modules and to explore Australian-based case studies in-depth. The program is designed to eventually cater for early, mid to senior level regulators from all levels of government and regulatory spheres, with Foundation, Extension, Expert and Leader versions.
It has been designed to meet the needs of agencies who want a professional development program that can be used across the organisation and which provides an introduction to regulatory theory that can increase the knowledge of regulators from a range of backgrounds.
Tracy Mackey, Commissioner at the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission has been a strong supporter of The Professional Regulator from the outset.
“It was great to have a small number of our staff participate in the inaugural cohort of The Professional Regulator. From the very beginning the feedback amongst staff has been very positive. On the back of this positive experience, we committed to have 200 of our staff to go through the program this year.”
“The Professional Regulator program will form a core component of our regulatory capability framework at the NDIS Commission” she said.
Ms Mackey also emphasised that the program has a broad reach, being suitable for a range of staff in different positions in the organisation.
“The Professional Regulator is not only great for our frontline staff but for all staff across the Commission to build their understanding of how a contemporary regulator should operate.”
Kerin Montgomerie, Director Clinical Regulation, SA Health recently completed The Professional Regulator herself and is now putting half her team through the program to increase their understanding of the unique challenges of being a regulator.
“For me the course was a great refresher. It was a reminder that there is never one way to think about a problem or an issue that you are facing – there are so many different tools that we’ve got,” she said.
“We need to think big picture and long-term, and about how we prevent problems from happening. It’s also that discipline of when issues occur thinking about what we could have done differently next time, that continuous improvement.”
Ms Montgomerie said she had also wanted to see if The Professional Regulator would be a program her team could use to help them transition from a clinical to a regulatory focus in their work.
“It definitely was, and now I am putting half my team through it because it is such a great way to help the transition from being a practitioner, whether from private practice or within the public sector, to understanding what it means to a regulator. For example, we’re always talking about regulatory capture, if you can see it coming it is easier to avoid.”
“The Professional Regulator has given me a real push to drive a focus across public health in regulatory theory, and the value of being a good regulator, and to keep talking that regulatory language.”
Adam Watson, Commander Field Operations at WorkSafe Victoria, oversees the 415-strong operations team including all inspectors out on the ground. WorkSafe Victoria is a member organisation of NRCoP, and has decided to put 40 of its staff through The Professional Regulator Program.
He said that WorkSafe was facing the challenges of increasing in scope, and of community expectations and expansion of WorkSafe’s regulatory scope as it presided over a comparatively old Act of Parliament established in 2004.
“In those almost 20 years there has been a significant change in what Occupational Health and Safety looks like in workplaces, and what the community’s expectations are,” he said.
“We have a variety of tools available to us, and a lot of potential harms to look at. In addition to working directly with industry and employee representative organisations, we use data that we’ve collected from a range of sources to inform WorkSafe’s regulatory approach.”
He said that WorkSafe had first sent a senior executive support officer to The Professional Regulator course, which had opened their eyes to the value of giving staff a broader understanding of regulatory theory and practice.
“This program will give everyone who participates a really good baseline understanding of the fundamentals of regulation which they can use to drive their regulatory knowledge and deliver their regulatory roles.”
“It is also a reminder that there are other different regulators out there and other ways of regulating, and opening your eyes up to fact that WorkSafe is part of this broader regulatory community. Getting that broader context will be very helpful in the services that we deliver.”
“The Professional Regulator is a genuine opportunity for WorkSafe to enhance the work that it does and be a part of our continual improvement. We’ve been tactical in how we’ve nominated people so that we are spreading that knowledge base as broadly as possible through the organisation.”
The Professional Regulator is self-paced and open for enrolment at any time. Once enrolled, participants have twelve months to complete the course. The cost is $1300 +$130 GST. NRCoP corporate members will pay a reduced fee of s $650 + $65 GST for each enrolment (50% discount off full market price). Individual staff can submit an Expression of Interest. If your organisation would like to purchase a bulk package of enrolments this can also be arranged. Please reach out to the friendly team at firstname.lastname@example.org.