Audit visit process for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS)
ORS verifiers may visit early childhood centres and schools to audit ORS applications. They do this to make sure eligibility decisions for ORS are made consistently.
Audit visits help ORS verifiers to make sure students with similar needs get similar outcomes when they apply for ORS, no matter what school they go to or where they live.
About ORS audit visits
There are two types of audit visits:
- targeted — verifiers make brief visits to chosen children at early childhood centres and students at schools to check decisions for a particular criterion (for example criterion 7 for physical needs, criterion 5 for learning delay)
- individual — verifiers make a full day visit to an individual child.
Targeted audit visits
The Ministry’s Manager Assurance and Eligibility selects successful and unsuccessful applications processed during a set period of time under a particular criterion.
Targeted visit procedure
Working in pairs, verifiers arrange visits to early childhood centres and schools.
The brief visit provides an opportunity for verifiers to:
- view all available documentation and match it for accuracy with the written application
- observe the child or student in their educational programme to note their learning achievements, learning dispositions and key competencies in context
- gather any new relevant information
- meet educators and parents or caregivers in person.
Pairs of verifiers report details of each visit to the full panel of verifiers. They collate and review the information to determine whether verifiers are consistently applying the criterion.
What happens after a targeted audit visit
The Manager Assurance and Eligibility writes to thank early childhood centres and schools for their cooperation and provides feedback about the consistency of the verification process.
Where the verifiers consider they made an error of judgement in the original decision the manager states:
- if the child or student is in ORS and does not appear to meet a criterion, the educator is advised that the student should not be used as a marker for other applications
- if the child or student appears to meet a criterion and is not in ORS, the educator is given information about the type of information to include in a request for a review.
Individual audit visits
An individual visit is required when verifiers are unable to reach a safe decision on the basis of all the application/s for a child. The reason that the panel of verifiers can't make a safe decision is because the child's needs appear to be close to meeting one or more criteria in ORS, but there is:
- inconsistent information in the application/s that provides an unclear picture of the child's needs, and the verifiers are unable to find an evidence-based explanation for the inconsistency
- evidence that the applicant has supplied inaccurate information
- misuse of information about the child.
An individual visit is not required:
- when there is insufficient information in the application to make a decision — in this case, the verifiers seek further written information from the applicant
- when an application contains sufficient information to indicate the child is well beyond the benchmarks for meeting any criterion.
Individual visit procedure
Before the individual visit, the panel of verifiers notes what led them to be uncertain about eligibility. This provides a focus for the visit.
Two verifiers visit the child's usual education setting — a school, early childhood centre or home.
The visit should provide verifiers with:
- confirmation of what information in the application is accurate
- confirmation of what information in the application is inaccurate
- additional information that has not previously been submitted to the verifiers.
The critical part of the visit is to compare information from the application/s with what verifiers read, see and hear during the visit to look for ‘match and mismatch' between the sets of information.
The visit is not a hands-on assessment of an individual child using tools such as formal observation, criterion-based assessment, or psychometric tests. Verifiers do not carry out any activity that can be perceived to be a ‘one-off assessment by someone who does not know the child well’.
The verifiers carry out the following tasks during a visit to an individual child.
Verifiers check documentation to establish the degree of match and mismatch between what was written in the application and what is on record in the early childhood centre or school documents.
We assume that applicants principally use their own assessments of child progress and may use reports from specialists and others as the basis for their description of the child in an ORS application. Therefore documentation should validate, and not contradict, information on the ORS application form.
Verifiers record any information held by the early childhood centre or school that is relevant to the criteria but is not included in the application form. They note the history and outcomes of interventions for the child.
During the course of a day, verifiers expect to see the child doing what the application describes. We assume that children with high and very high needs will demonstrate their difficulties with learning achievements and learning dispositions or key competencies in their usual learning environments most of the time.
An observation provides an opportunity to see behaviours that confirm information on the application, or that contradict what the application states, or that are omitted from the application.
The verifiers record what they observe in the form of notes and impressions. Verifiers may share notes and impressions with applicants (and others) to check whether the observed behaviour and learning environment is typical.
Meetings provide an opportunity for anyone involved in making an application to:
- elaborate on information about child behaviours and their contexts
- discuss the understandings the verifiers have from reading the application
- share new information (oral and written) not reported elsewhere.
Meetings provide an opportunity for verifiers to give details about the criteria, verification process, and use of ORS resources.
What happens after an individual audit visit
Verifiers write a report to the full panel stating what they read, saw and heard during the visit. The report provides new information that, together with all other previous information, enables the panel to reach a consensus decision about eligibility.
In some situations, the verifiers may advise applicants on the type of information required for a safe decision and suggest that the educator submit new information for a review.
Applicants should have a better understanding of ORS, and the benchmarks for the criteria.
The outcomes of an individual visit will not be:
- a second visit to meet with people unavailable on the day
- confirmation at the end of the visit that the child meets any criterion
- confirmation at the end of the visit that the child meets the criteria for any other funding
- verifier involvement with the Ministry of Education, Learning Support and/or RTLB cluster to discuss resource allocation or levels of servicing.
The individual visit report
The report written by the two visiting verifiers is an internal document for the other verifiers. It is also part of the total record of information held by the Ministry of Education about the child. As such, it is subject to the Official Information Act and the Privacy Act, so will be made available to those covered by that legislation. As part of a child's record it will be used in any review or appeal.
The content of the report will be a record of what verifiers see, read and hear. Where verifiers record an impression they have formed, it will be identified as such. The language used in the report will be neutral and not lead other verifiers towards a pre-determined decision.
Verifiers will record any information relevant to the criteria even when it is not part of the original focus for the visit.
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