ACTS is currently working with the UK based EAUC to develop a benchmarking /reporting /strategy tool that will focus on the core business of further and higher education. Using a holistic approach, the components of the tool will address four priority areas: leadership and governance; learning, teaching and research; partnership and engagement; and operations.

A gap currently exists within the Australasian tertiary sector with regards to a more comprehensive benchmarking, reporting and strategic tool to guide institutions through the maze of initiatives and data collection required to successfully report on progress and guide strategic directions from the sustainability viewpoint. As such, ACTS is looking to fill this gap by co-supporting the development of a tool, to be driven by the sector itself.

The tool aims to be a key approach for institutions to assist with decision-making and extract maximum value and competitive advantages out of relevant parts of their performance data and other information. It is envisaged the tool will:

  • Become the parent mechanism that will underpin the way sustainability is addressed throughout the sector, both nationally and internationally;
  • Be tailored to support both universities and TAFEs;
  • Focus primarily on helping institutions improve the performance of their environmental and social responsibility agenda, whilst still allowing institutions to benchmark their performance;
  • Reflect the values of the sector; this will be achieved through stakeholder consultation and engagement throughout the development process;
  • Incorporate existing reporting returns in the sector and not require institutions that are already submitting data through separate processes to re-enter this information into the tool;
  • Allow institutions to complete a report that is tailored to them (mission, size, further education institution, higher education institution, international institutions etc) through the development of a route map of categories;
  • Is limited in length (approx. limit of 55 questions that an individual institution will have to complete when the tool is route mapped);
  • Is fully functional online and can be utilised across an institution;
  • Is ready for launch in November 2011; and
  • Be revised on a three-year cycle.

Think STARS only better, as this tool will be developed by individuals from our own sector.

A vital part of getting the tool right is engaging with relevant sector bodies and expert colleagues from within institutions relating to each of the aforementioned four priority areas; this will ensure the tool is fit for purpose. As such, Advisory Panels are being set up for each of the priority areas to enable the tool to draw on the knowledge and expertise of key colleagues, both in terms of the question set proposed and the metrics used to grade the progression of performance. In doing so, these panels will enable an informed consultation process. Additionally, if there are already reporting requirements in place in the sector that institutions use, then these can be flagged during the consultation process to ensure they are considered as we do not wish to burden the sector with a difference way of measuring their impact in that section of the index.

We would like to invite sector representatives to participate in any of the four priority area Advisory Panels:

  1. leadership and governance;
  2. learning, teaching and research;
  3. partnership and engagement and
  4. operations

Your participation in this process will ensure that a tool relevant to your institution and the sector more broadly is developed. Anyone who takes part will be publicly acknowledged as having key input into the tool’s development. The time required to assist in this process will be approximately two and a half days between the period of May to October.

If you are interested in getting involved please contact info@acts.asn.auby May 5th 2011. If you have any specific questions about the tool or your involvement in the tool’s development, please contact ACTS president Leanne Denby at

Get involved and help the sector grow and improve!