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Reviews procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by Academic Board on 26 March 2013 and incorporates all amendments to 4 January 2017.

(2) This Procedure is pursuant to the Quality Management policy and includes the following schedules:

  1. Schedule A: Organisational Areas of Activity Regularly Reviewed under this Procedure
  2. Schedule B: Composition of Review Panels
  3. Schedule C: Standard Terms of Reference for Reviews
  4. Schedule D: Performance Report Appendices.
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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This Procedure prescribes the process for the University to conduct formal reviews for the purpose of quality assurance and improvement.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Procedure applies to formal quality reviews by the University of organisational areas and areas of activity (as defined) or any other matters as directed by the Vice-Chancellor. This procedure does not apply to evaluations conducted by:

  1. the Internal Audit function
  2. areas of the University as part of their own ongoing arrangements for ensuring continuous quality improvement.
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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Quality Management policy.

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Section 5 - Procedures

Purpose of reviews

(6) The University conducts formal reviews of organisational areas and areas of activity in accordance with this procedure to:

  1. assure itself of:
    1. the quality of its operations
    2. compliance with the Higher Education Threshold Standards and other relevant external requirements (as appropriate)
    3. alignment with the University's strategic plan
  2. identify areas of excellence, potential and opportunities for improvement.

(7) The review process set out in this procedure is aligned to the University's continuous quality improvement cycle: Plan, Implement, Review, Improve.

(8) Before an area of the University initiates a review as part of its own ongoing arrangements for ensuring continuous quality improvement it must notify the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education (or nominee) who will:

  1. advise whether the review should be managed by the Academic Governance and Standards in accordance with this procedure and
  2. if not, provide guidance on how to conduct the review to ensure the best possible outcome for the area and the University.

(9) Where a review under this procedure is also intended to meet external regulatory requirements, the process set out in this procedure may be adapted to meet those requirements. In such a case, it is the responsibility of the area concerned to ensure that external requirements are satisfied.

Timing of reviews

(10) Reviews of Faculties, and Institutes engaged in teaching and/or research and areas of activity specified in Schedule A: Organisational Areas and Areas of Activity Regularly Reviewed under this Procedure are carried out under this procedure generally every seven years in accordance with a schedule approved annually by the Vice-Chancellor. Unscheduled reviews of these organisational areas or areas of activity may also be carried out at any time at the request of the Vice-Chancellor.

(11) The Vice-Chancellor may request that a review of any other area or matter be conducted in accordance with this procedure at any time.

Terms of reference for reviews

(12) The terms of reference for reviews are determined by the Vice-Chancellor (or nominee) with reference to the standard terms of reference set out in Schedule C: Standard Terms of Reference for Reviews, adapted as appropriate depending on the scope and purpose of the review.

Review panels

(13) The Vice-Chancellor appoints review panels in accordance with Schedule B: Composition of Review Panels.

(14) The Vice-Chancellor seeks advice from relevant members of the Executive regarding suitable external panel members.

(15) The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education appoints a secretary to support the review panel to carry out the review in accordance with this procedure.

Performance reports

(16) To inform each review, a performance report is prepared by:

  1. an organisational area under review or
  2. in the case of the review of an area of activity, a group of staff with appropriate expertise from relevant organisational areas approved by the Vice-Chancellor, led by a member of the group nominated by the Vice-Chancellor.

(17) Performance reports:

  1. address the approved terms of reference
  2. provide relevant data and other evidence of performance (with particular reference to the indicators in relevant University plans)
  3. identify areas of excellence, potential, initiatives in progress and opportunities for improvement
  4. include progress on implementation of outcomes from previous reviews
  5. are up to 30 pages in length in the main body for reviews of Faculties and large organisational areas OR up to 20 pages in length in the main body for reviews of other organisational areas and areas of activity
  6. include appendices as specified in Schedule D: Performance Report Appendices

(18) Performance reports are sent to the secretary of the review panel at least four weeks before the review panel meets and are circulated to panel members, who may request additional information.

Submissions

(19) At least four weeks before the review panel meets, the secretary of the review panel:

  1. makes the performance report available to:
    1. all University staff and
    2. where relevant, students and other key stakeholders
  2. calls for written submissions from the people to whom the report has been made available, advising them that, unless otherwise stated, submissions will as far as permitted by law be treated as confidential to encourage full and frank disclosure of information and opinion as part of the University's internal deliberative processes.

(20) The secretary of the review panel provides submissions to the review panel at least one week before the review meetings take place.

Review meetings

(21) The secretary of the review panel develops a program of review meetings, in consultation with the Chair, relevant senior managers (as appropriate) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, to inform the assessment of the organisational area of area or activity against the terms of reference.

(22) Review meetings are conducted in private and any oral submissions, responses and comments made by those meeting with the panel, as far as permitted by law, are treated as confidential to encourage full and frank disclosure of information and opinion as part of the University's internal deliberative processes.

Reports and responses

(23) As soon as practicable following a review, the panel develops a written report documenting the outcomes of the review and provides the report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education. The report:

  1. is developed with reference to the performance report, written submissions, oral feedback received during the review meetings and any additional information requested by the panel
  2. identifies areas of strength and opportunities for improvement
  3. includes formal recommendations for action to address areas requiring improvement.

(24) The Vice-Chancellor approves the report for release.

(25) The responsible Executive/s are invited to respond in writing to the panel's report and in preparing the response they should consult with the relevant area(s) which were covered by the review.

(26) In the case of a review of an organisational area involved in teaching and/or research or an academic activity, the Academic Board is invited to respond in writing to the panel's report, taking into account the Executive response/s.

(27) The Vice-Chancellor responds to each review taking into account the panel's report, the Academic Board's advice (where appropriate) and the Executive response/s. The Vice-Chancellor's response addresses each recommendation and includes follow-up actions as appropriate.

(28) The outcomes of the panel review and the Vice-Chancellor's response to the review are reported to the Academic Board (as appropriate) and the Audit and Risk Committee's at the discretion of the Risk and Compliance Manager in the case of reviews of high risk areas.

Quality improvement reports

(29) Actions agreed by the Vice-Chancellor to address recommendations are monitored by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and progress is reported in the next review of the organisational area or area of activity, or as otherwise requested by the Vice-Chancellor or the Audit and Risk Committee.

(30) Annual reports on progress in implementing agreed actions are provided by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education to the Executive.

Information and documents

(31) Any personal information or health information collected, held or used by the University during reviews will be dealt with in accordance with relevant legal requirements including the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

(32) Any documents generated during reviews will be dealt with in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973 (Vic) and General Retention & Disposal Authority for the Records of Higher and Further Education Institutions, Public Record Office Standard PROS 16/07.

Costs

(33) The costs of a review of an organisational area are met by the area being reviewed.

(34) The costs of a review of an area of activity are met by organisational areas as determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(35) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. area of activity: group of related services, activities and processes which aim to support the achievement of the University's goals.
  2. organisational area: Faculty, Institute involved in teaching and/or research, School, Division, Unit, University Library, Deakin International and DeakinPrime's.