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What is a Technically Assured Organisation (TAO)?

Here at Compliance Council, we have forged a great track record in helping multiple organisations of varying sizes and scope achieve TAO (and formerly Authorised Engineering Organisation) status. We follow a tried and tested methodology that allows organisation to achieve their TAO in a prompt manner, and we remove all unnecessary stress and uncertainty in this extensive process.


Commencing in 2013, the Asset Standards Authority (ASA) launched the Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) program to support the delivery of heavy rail projects for TfNSW. With the primary purpose of enhancing engineering governance, AEO was a widely accepted program intended to improve the delegation of responsibility in the private and public sector in delivering and maintaining NSW rail network assets with greater efficiency and safety. 



On Tuesday 30th November 2021 the Transport for NSW Asset Management Branch (formerly ASA) announced changes to the AEO authorisation program. The existing AEO program transitioned to the now-known Technically Assured Organisation (TAO) program on the 30th of March 2022.

  • Any existing or submitted application and or scope expansion application up until 30th March 2022 was treated and assessed as per the previous AEO program.
  • Post 30th March 2022 all existing certified AEOs were automatically certified as a TAO to the same existing scope.
  • No changes to existing procurement contracts were required although any procurement contracts post-30 March 2022 are subject to the TAO program

Clients we have assisted

We have worked with over 25 organisations over a number of years in varying ways to reach submission stage, and achieve their TAO status. Some of those include:




Compliance Council assisted UGL achieve AEO status in 2015 as part of their requirements when tendering for the New Intercity Fleet Maintenance Facility. Compliance Council worked extensively with UGL management including assisting submissions to the ASA, record validation and subsequent accreditation to UGL as a AEO. UGL continue to be a TAO under the new program.  




Compliance Council assisted WestonWilliamson+Partners complete the required Self-Assessment Checklist, Scope Assessment Form and Engineering Services matrix in preparation for a successful 2A submission. 

WW+P are now a TAO.



Willow Inc (formerly Ridley)

Compliance Council assisted Willow complete the required Self-Assessment Checklist, Scope Assessment Form and Engineering Services matrix in preparation for a successful 2A submission, as well as develop further documentation in order to comply to ASA / AEO requirements. 

Willow are now a TAO.



Seymour Whyte

Compliance Council assisted Seymour Whyte with their entire AEO application, from initial gap analysis and completion of the Self Assessment Checklist, development of documentation to comply to AEO framework and through to successful award of AEO status by the ASA. Seymour Whyte continue to be a TAO under the new program.  


Other notable clients we have assisted are:

  • Martinus Rail
  • Lynton Surveys
  • Architectus


We are currently assisting a further 20+ clients currently with their 'Preliminary Review' and 'Assessment' to the Asset Management Branch (AMB). 

What is the process for becoming a TAO?

Transport of NSW’s Technically Assured Organisation (TAO) program happens to be a lucrative opportunity for all kinds of organisations.
Becoming a TAO is not a walk in the park. TfNSW has designed a comprehensive set of criteria and established a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to asset new applicants. 

The authorisation process

The authorisation process is divided into three stages as outlined below:

The Initial Contact

The initial contact stage is basically a meeting between the assigned Authorisation Facilitator from the AMB and the applicant organisation. The meeting includes the Authorisation Facilitator providing an overview of the assessment process and the expectations of the applicant organisation as well as an introduction to the use of the TfNSW supplier portal.
Note: The applicant organisation must nominate a primary point of contact from within the organisation for the Authorisation Facilitator to reach out to at later stages of the process. The contact must be internal and not a consultant or contractor. 

The Preparation

The applicant organisation is required to create an assessment request within the TfNSW Supplier Portal. Once the assessment request is accepted by TfNSW, there will be an option to nominate the scope that the organisation intends to apply for in a web version of the Engineering Services Matrix. 
The template for the Engineering Services Matrix can be downloaded from this TfNSW webpage.
Once the scope is selected in the portal, the Authorisation Facilitator will review it, ensure the scope is appropriate and then ask the applicant organisation to "Lock the Scope". Once locked, TfNSW will then set up the System Areas and Scope Areas within the portal, which list the criteria for the organisation to respond to. 
The applicant organisation then collates the required documented system and deployed system evidence and drafts responses to each of the criteria in preparation for uploading to the portal for preliminary review. 

The Assessment and Audit

At this stage, the SMEs will conduct a preliminary review and then either provide feedback requiring resubmission for individual criteria or accept the initial submission. Once the submission is accepted, the organisation will be included in the list of "Entities Qualified for Assessment". 
The applicant organisation will then be in a queue of organisations waiting for assessment which are processed based on the following priority levels (1 being the highest):
  1. Currently working on projects in need of authorisation
  2. Authorisation required for procurement purposes
  3. Strategic capabilities need for TfNSW
  4. General application
The applicant organisation will generally receive 4 weeks' notice before the assessment commences with a request to nominate primary and secondary contacts for each of the criteria categories to be included in the assessment, including:
  • Engineering management
  • Quality management
  • Competence management
  • Configuration Management
  • System safety assurance

After authorisation, the organisation will need to undergo and participate in regular surveillance audits to ensure the organisation continues to comply with the TAO requirements.  The audits are focused on a specific TfNSW project that the auditors select from a list of active projects provided by the TAO earlier in the year prior to the surveillance audit. 


The Technically Assured Organisation (TAO) scheme was designed to ensure that the delivery of projects by consultants and contractors to TfNSW are conducted to the standard that TfNSW expect and ensure that the assets that TfNSW then operate and maintain meet the requirements of the organisation and other stakeholders. 
The TAO Authorisation Requirements (accessible via the TAO section of the TfNSW website) represent statements of expected activities to be in place in accordance with the expected relevant industry practice as appropriate to the scope of authorisation. Its requirements are grouped into 11 engineering management capabilities as follows:
  1. Engineering management process and planning
  2. Requirements management
  3. Service or solution engineering
  4. Assurance, verification, and validation
  5. Configuration Management
  6. Competency Management
  7. Stakeholder Management
  8. Resources Management
  9. Supplier Management
The maturity level of the applicant organisation's processes for each of the above-mentioned topics are assessed by the TfNSW SMEs during the TAO application process.
Let us highlight each capability to have a full knowledge of each one of them with their possible evidence.


It demonstrates engineering management activities for the systematic execution of those activities that need to be performed to the delivery of services within the sphere of authorisation is compliant with relevant standards whilst satisfying TfNSW needs. The requirement evidence states that TAO shall have plans which demonstrate how they consistently carry out their services.


This requirement shows engineering management activities, revealing, and also analysing and allocating service or solution requirements as well as managing traceability and fulfilment of those requirements through the service delivery cycle. Some of its requirements evidence include:
  • Requirements management plan
  • Requirements database
  • Stakeholder engagement plan
  • Stakeholder register
  • Stakeholder engagement meeting records
  • Stakeholder needs statement


It demonstrates engineering management activities and arrangements that support the application of the relevant engineering principles and practices in developing engineering products, services or solutions as appropriate to the scope of authorisation. Broken down into the following management:
  • Interface management
  • System integration
  • System architecture
  • Sustainability in design
  • RAM management
  • Human factors integration
  • Electromagnetic compatibility
Its requirements evidence includes:
  • Interface management plan or process (system) or section in an overall system engineering management plan or engineering management plan
  • Systems integration plan
  • Proof of deployments such as sustainability integration plans, sustainability workshops, or completion of a sustainability tool such as NSW Sustainable Design Guidelines published by TfNSW.


It shows Engineering Management activities and arrangements that support the delivery of the quality engineering product, system or service by providing confidence that relevant processes were followed, requirements are met, and the Final product or service meets its intended purpose. Verification and validation management arrangements should typically be supported by the following evidence/facts:
  • Organisation level verification and validation arrangements
  • Project-level verification and validation arrangements
  • Verification and validation plans
  • Verification and validation processes and procedures


Next on the list is the Configuration Management, demonstrating the Engineering Management activities and that ensure the integrity of network product or service being delivered and that all changes to assets over the system life cycle are managed across a defined set of baselines, including all related information and records. With documentary evidence that falls broadly into the following:
  • A cohesive documented system
  • Configuration items that are known and recorded
  • Changes to configuration items that are appropriately controlled


This is a type of requirement that demonstrates Engineering Management activities and arrangements that ensure that only engineering staff with the appropriate Know-how, skills are engaged to execute activities defined for a specific job.
An Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) should be able to show its ability for knowledge capture, storage, and redeployment that is due for the organisational scope of authorisation and business model.
With Evidence of the following:
  • Planning to identify, obtain, retain and deploy knowledge, skills and knowledge assets
  • Arrangements to qualify and control it
  • Proof of the knowledge sharing to have been executed within the spheres of the organisation and with the ASA.


As the name implies that the Engineering Management activities and arrangements to establish and to also maintain the stakeholder’s involvement in the work within the scope of authorisation.
With typical evidence that could be:
  • Various organisational processes
  • Plans that goes in line with stakeholder management
  • Records of relevant activities such as minutes of meetings


A type of requirement that demonstrates arrangements that ensure that all tangible and non-tangible resources are in place (which will later be used to support the engineering service provision within the scope of authorisation).
Possible evidence for the type of requirement would include the following:
  • Engineering intranet home page with links to standards
  • Links to TfNSW and ASA standards
  • Standards change briefing notes or emails


This type of requirement demonstrates arrangements that allow management of acquisitions from both internal and external suppliers as necessary for the scope of permitted services.
Evidence of process execution that covers the scope of authorisation (disciplines and lifecycle phases) as suitable are important, therefore are required.


A type of Engineering Management that shows an arrangement supporting the consistent, repeatable service and/or product delivery by providing objective quantitative information on the organisational processes performance and quality of the particular product or services.
Evidence of this means that Authorised Engineering Organisations (AEOs) are expected to demonstrate the following:
  • The relevance of the selected performance framework to business objectives
  • The rationale behind the adopted measurement baselines
  • Measurement models and methods being used


It ensures sustainable and growing organisational efficiency and effectiveness by the deployment of measurable improvements.
Evidence that includes the following:
  • Systematic identification
  • Objective evaluation of business needs and best industry practices
  • Prioritisation using established criteria or process as suitable
When these requirements are met, then one is then allowed to provide engineering services in relation to the asset lifecycle of NSW Transport Assets on behalf of TfNSW.


"Architectus engaged Compliance Council to assist with conducting a review of two active projects against the AEO criteria in preparation for a surveillance audit with the Asset Standards Authority. We found Compliance Council's assistance to be invaluable in this process and I would recommend them to organisations looking for assistance with AEO."


Diana Nankany – Group Compliance Manager, Architectus Australia



"Rhomberg Rail engaged the team at Compliance Council in 2018 to assist with our AEO endeavours. Compliance Council developed a specific set of management system documentation to be deployed on AEO projects whilst interfacing with our existing rail infrastructure documentation requirements. The team at Compliance Council also provided advice and guidance throughout the submission process. 

Compliance Council have now become an integral partner of Rhomberg Rail, assisting us in more recent times with our Chain of Responsibility requirements. 

We would recommend the services of Matt, Phil and the team at Compliance Council to any organisation seeking AEO or CoR compliance."


Scott Richardson – General Manager, Rail Operations, Rhomberg Rail Australia Pty Ltd



Frequently Asked Questions

What industries does AEO apply to?

Organisations are required to be AEO accredited  if they want to work for NSW Transport, Infrastructure and Rail Projects.

Compliance Council Pty Ltd have been at the forefront of consulting to the requirements of Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO) process since 2014.

In this time, we have assisted over 25 organisations achieve AEO status, and in more recent times, we have onboarded a further 15 organisations who are commencing their AEO journey, with another 20 waiting for assessment from the ASA.


What can achieving AEO accreditation do for my business?

It’ll allow you to apply for tender for relevant NSW Transport infrastructure projects. And as with any good management system, if implemented and used effectively, it’ll help improve business efficiency and ultimately profitability.

What is AEO Accreditation and which industry body does it?

The Authorised Engineering Organisation Framework is a hierarchical set of documented system components that provide TfNSW with a justified confidence in the capability of the supply chain to deliver safe and fit-for-purpose assets delivered by capable and competent organisations.

The Asset Standards Authority (ASA) is committed to an open, transparent and collaborative relationships with industry. The ASA provides collaborative, supportive frameworks within which Authorised Engineering Organisations (AEOs) can deliver safe, effective and efficient projects. 




How long does it take to be an AEO?

The initial activities to be ready for the 'Preliminary Review' takes 10-14 weeks (client preparedness plays a major role here). The actual accreditation process which is governed by ASA is 6-12 months.

Are there any hidden costs?

Unlike many competitors who operate by a time and materials model, we operate by a fixed-fee model. We provide clients with proposals that outline the methodology for the project, the deliverables, and the total cost.

In addition, for AEO, unlike ISO certification, there is no ongoing cost from the governing body.

Is the initial consultation obligation free?
The initial screening and consultation meeting is complimentary. This allows us to get an understanding of how your business works and what stage of the accreditation journey it is at; and this helps us to provide you an accurate proposal.

Executive Team

Matthew Allport
Matthew Allport
Jason O’Grady
Jason O’Grady
General Manager

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