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Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), National Boards regulating health practitioners in Australia must decide whether their accreditation function is to be exercised by an external accreditation entity or a committee established by the national board.
If the accreditation authority is an external council, the council works with the national board to deliver specified accreditation functions under a formal agreement with AHPRA on the board’s behalf. If the accreditation authority is a committee, the committee works with the national board according to the committee’s terms of reference.
National Boards work closely with their accreditation authorities to effectively implement the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. Accreditation authorities and National Boards have separate, but complementary functions under the National Law, which specifies these functions. For example, the National Law provides that an accreditation authority accredits a program of study and the relevant National Board approves the program of study for the purposes of registration.
The accreditation authority for each health profession is listed in the table below with information about the accreditation functions they perform. Information about the accreditation process is also available on each external authority’s website. The Accreditation Committees are developing their processes and information will be available soon.
This table lists the accreditation authorities that exercise accreditation functions under the National Law and work with the National Boards.
The accreditation authorities, National Boards and AHPRA have agreed to a Quality Framework for the Accreditation Function to support quality assurance and continuous quality improvement of accreditation under the National Law.
The framework identifies eight domains of good practice:
The Quality Framework will be reviewed at least every three years.
By mutual agreement, the Quality Framework is the principal reference document for national boards and AHPRA to assess the work of accreditation authorities. Accreditation authorities provide six-monthly reports to their national boards on developments relevant to the domains of the quality framework. The Quality Framework was also used in 2012 during the review of accreditation arrangements.
In 2012, there was a review of the accreditation arrangements for the first ten professions to be regulated under the National Law. In this review process, each accreditation authority prepared a detailed submission explaining their roles and functions, and providing evidence of their performance against the domains of the Quality Framework. These submissions were available publicly and National Boards consulted widely in making a decision about the review of the accreditation arrangements for their profession.
National Boards and AHPRA acknowledge the additional work undertaken by the accreditation authorities to prepare for this assessment at short notice, and the very substantial submissions prepared. The review processes highlighted how much has been achieved in implementing the accreditation component of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
As a result of these reviews, each National Board has decided that its accreditation authority will continue to exercise accreditation functions, most commonly for a five-year period.