PRISMs and the National Code

Ben Houston, Brett Galt-Smith1

1Quality Frameworks Branch of International Group, Department of Education and Training

Brett Galt-Smith and Ben Houston from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training will give a brief overview of their work with the ESOS legislative framework including PRISMS, and broader issues impacting on the sector. More particularly, they will focus on their continued work to improve the transparency of education agents’ operations to ensure providers and students can make well-informed decisions about which agents to work with, and to assist providers to meet their obligations under the ESOS Act. The Department has taken further steps since 2017 to improve data sharing among government agencies by providing regulators and enforcement agents with access to agent data on PRISMS. Brett and Ben will touch on how they work closely with Austrade, the Australian Standards Quality Authority (ASQA), the Tertiary Education and Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA), the Department of Home Affairs and law enforcement agencies. There will also be discussion around the implementation of measures in PRISMS to ensure Standard 7 (overseas student transfers) of the National Code is adhered to and patterns of changed student/provider behaviour revealing themselves in the data.


Brett Galt-Smith is Director of ESOS Policy and Legislation for Education Services for Overseas Students in the Quality Frameworks Branch of International Group in the Department of Education and Training. Brett’s team has had carriage of student workplace exploitation both in terms of support for the Migrant Workers’ Taskforce and also the work of the Council for International Education. Brett’s team also has policy responsibility for the ESOS Act, the National Code for Providers of Education to International Students, the ELICOS Standards and the Foundation Standards. Brett has been in the Australian public service since 2003 working in policy, program and stakeholder management roles. He has extensive experience in international relations policy and quality and regulation of international education; child care compliance; and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

Ben Houston was born in Canberra, studied a Bachelor of Science at the University of Canberra and has worked in the now Department of Education and training since 1990 spending most of that time in International Group developing and managing the systems that support the international student industry. He has an extensive knowledge of the legislative frameworks underpinning the international student sector, the consumer protection arrangements for overseas students as well as experience with the AQF and qualification recognition frameworks. He is also responsible for the DET education agent performance data project using enrolment and visa data from PRISMS. His role was expanded in early 2018 to include Qualification Recognition functions when he became head of the Australian National Information Centre under the UNESCO Recognition Conventions. He also manages the development and support of the Country Education Profiles, Qualification Assessment Guidelines and approval of and support for the Skilled Migration Assessing Authorities.