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Policy Framework

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) The Policy Framework is effective from 8 February 2018.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy Framework:

  1. governs the development and review of policies to ensure that they are consistent with the University’s objectives and legislation and are kept current;
  2. defines responsibilities for the development, review and implementation of policies; and
  3. sets out steps to ensure that policies are effectively implemented and well understood across the University.
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Section 3 - Scope

(3) All University policies and procedures must be developed, reviewed and implemented in accordance with this Policy Framework.

(4) University procedures are a subset of University policies and references to ‘policy’ and ‘policies’ include procedures unless the context indicates otherwise.

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Section 4 - Policy

Regulatory framework

(5) Policies form part of a regulatory framework of rules and standards for University operations comprising:

  1. the Deakin University Act;
  2. University statutes;
  3. University regulations;
  4. policies; and
  5. procedures.

(6) Levels (a) to (c) in clause 5 are collectively known as ‘University legislation’. The University Solicitor provides legal advice on University legislation and drafts legal documents as required.

(7) Levels (d) and (e) in clause 5 are collectively known as ‘University policy’. Policy must be consistent with University legislation. Reviews of policy must have regard to relevant University legislation to ensure consistency.

(8) All policy is published on the University’s Policy Library and applies across the University.

(9) Any local work instructions, guidelines or similar information maintained by an organisational unit must be consistent with relevant documents in the regulatory framework set out at clause 5.

Policy standards

(10)  Policy must comply with the University’s policy template and set out:

  1. policy purpose;
  2. scope of application;
  3. links to any University legislation providing authority for the policy and any external legislation whose compliance obligations the policy supports;
  4. policy content;
  5. any schedules forming part of the policy;
  6. any associated information providing further information on the policy or supporting its implementation; and
  7. the titles of the Responsible Officer and Implementation Officer for the policy.

(11) In addition to the template requirements policy must:

  1. be relevant to University objectives;
  2. use clear and inclusive language;
  3. focus on the key information that readers require to comply with the policy;
  4. avoid excessive detail and material belonging in work instructions or operating processes;
  5. minimise administrative burden;
  6. refrain from repeating information covered in other policies; and
  7. consolidate content into fewer rather than more documents to avoid policy proliferation and readers having to consult multiple documents.

(12) Procedural steps to implement a policy may either be part of the policy itself or set out in a separate procedure, depending on which approach is most conducive to clarity and ease of reading. The repetition of information between policies and procedures must be minimised.  

(13) Schedules have the same force as their parent document but should only be used where the information is essential to the policy and they are the best method for communicating the relevant information.

(14) In accordance with clause 11(c) and 11(d) detailed background information must be excluded from policy but can be linked to policy documents as associated information.

Categories and approval authorities

(15) There are three policy categories:

  1. University governance policies approved by the University Council and listed in the document Matters Requiring Council Decision;
  2. academic governance policies approved by the Academic Board and listed in the Academic Policy Framework; and
  3. management policies concerning the management or administration of the University and approved by the Vice-Chancellor or delegate.

(16) The approval authority for each policy must be listed on the Policy Library.

(17) The relevant approval authority must approve the introduction, amendment or revocation of policies within their category of responsibility, except:

  1. a minor amendment; or
  2. an administrative change.

(18) A minor amendment:

  1. is a change which:
    1. is consistent with the objectives of the existing policy; and
    2. does not raise any issues requiring the process of policy review and consultation set out at clauses 30-32 and 38-43; and
  2. may be approved by:
    1. the Responsible Officer for University governance and management policies; or
    2. the Chair, Academic Board for academic governance policies.

(19) An administrative change:

  1. is a clarification, correction or editorial change; and
  2. may be approved by the Council Secretary.

(20) The Policy Library must maintain a record of all policy changes.

Roles and Responsibilities

(21) The Responsible Officer for a policy is generally the member of the Executive whose portfolio covers the policy area.

(22) The responsibilities of the Responsible Officer are to:

  1. oversee the drafting and review of the policy;
  2. ensure that key stakeholders are consulted in the drafting and review of the policy;
  3. appoint an Implementation Officer; and
  4. oversee the approval process for policies in accordance with the requirements of the relevant approval authority, as follows:
    1. for University governance policies by recommendation to University Council or the relevant committee of Council;
    2. for academic governance policies by recommendation to the Academic Board from the relevant committee of the Board; or
    3. for management policies by recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor or delegate using the Request for Approval form.

(23) The Implementation Officer will be a staff member with management responsibility for the activity addressed by the policy.

(24) The responsibilities of the Implementation Officer are to:

  1. assist the Responsible Officer to draft, review and report on the policy;
  2. use the Request for Legal Advice form to obtain advice regarding legal compliance if the policy relates to:
    1. a right or obligation under University legislation; or
    2. implementation of a requirement from external legislation;
  3. lead the implementation of approved policies, including providing information or training to assist staff, students and associates to understand:
    1. changes resulting from any new or amended policy;
    2. compliance requirements; and
    3. how to provide feedback to the Implementation Officer on the policy and any compliance concerns;
  4. provide advice to the University community on the operation of the policy;
  5. monitor and report on compliance with the policy, including any reporting required under the Breach Management procedure; and
  6. advise the Responsible Officer about any issues or problems arising with the implementation of the policy and proposed remedial actions.

(25) The Responsible and Implementation Officers for each policy will be listed on the Policy Library.

(26) The Council Secretary is responsible for the management of the Policy Framework and must:

  1. publish policies on the Policy Library;
  2. publish the University’s policy template and supporting information;
  3. provide advice to University staff on the operation of this Policy Framework and on the drafting and review of policies;
  4. meet at least annually with Responsible Officers for University governance and management policies to:
    1. ensure that the correct Responsible and Implementation Officers are listed for the policy; 
    2. advise the date of the most recent review of the policy; and
    3. identify policies under the Responsible Officer’s stewardship to be reviewed in the coming year; and
  5. consult regularly with the Academic Board Secretary on the academic policy review schedule to ensure that there is a coordinated approach across the University to keeping policies in all categories up to date.
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Section 5 - Procedure

New policies

(27) Proposals for the development of a new policy must be endorsed by the proposed Responsible Officer and approved by the Council Secretary using the New Policy Proposal form, which sets out:

  1. the need for the policy, including any new legislative compliance requirements;
  2. why a new policy is required rather than an amendment to an existing policy; and
  3. any opportunities identified to consolidate content to avoid policy proliferation.

(28) To prevent unnecessary work new policies must not be commenced until the Council Secretary approves the proposal.

Policy drafting

(29) Policies must be drafted in accordance with the standards set out at clauses 10-14.

Consultation

(30) Policies typically affect many areas of the University. Under the leadership of the Responsible Officer policy drafters must consult with relevant areas affected by the policy to obtain their input.

(31) No single method of consultation is prescribed by this Policy Framework but useful methods include:

  1. a working group with representatives from different areas;
  2. circulation of drafts by email to different areas;
  3. posting drafts for comment on a website;
  4. committee review; and
  5. meeting and discussion groups or networks.

(32) Whatever method of consultation is used the Responsible Officer must be satisfied that adequate and effective consultation has been completed before endorsing a policy for approval by the approval authority.

Approval

(33) Submissions for the approval of policies in accordance with clause 22(d) above must:

  1. explain the changes proposed;
  2. identify any requirements for consequential amendments to or revocation of any existing policy;
  3. attest that:
    1. appropriate consultation has occurred and feedback integrated as required; and
    2. legal advice has been obtained where required by clause 24(b); and
  4. stipulate the date the changes are to come into effect, being either:
    1. the date when the policy is published on the Policy Library; or
    2. a specified future date.

(34) The approval authority may:

  1. approve the policy as submitted;
  2. approve the policy subject to specified changes being made;
  3. approve the policy to come into effect for a limited period and subject to further work being completed during that period;
  4. request that the policy be resubmitted for approval after specified concerns have been addressed; or
  5. reject the proposed policy on grounds including but not limited to that it:
    1. is not needed;
    2. would impose administrative inefficiency; or
    3. does not meet the standards set out at clauses 10-14.

Publication on the Policy Library

(35) To promulgate approved policies the Council Secretary must receive:

  1. the approved policy; and
  2. evidence of approval such as a completed approval form or minute of meeting.

(36) The Council Secretary is responsible for:

  1. publishing approved policies on the Policy Library within five working days of receipt unless unusual circumstances exist; and
  2. ensuring that a bulletin board of recent policy changes is maintained on the Policy Library.

Review

Review of new policies

(37) The Responsible Officer must ensure that any new policy is reviewed within one year of being introduced to ensure that:

  1. the policy is operating as intended; and
  1. any mechanisms to report on compliance with the policy are functioning effectively.

Review of established policies

(38) To ensure that established policies are kept current:

  1. the Implementation Officer must advise the Responsible Officer of the need for the immediate review of policy for reasons including but not limited to:
    1. evidence that an existing policy is imposing unnecessary administrative burden; or
    2. a change in the operating or regulatory environment; and
  2. review schedules for all policies must be maintained by:
    1. the Council Secretary for University governance and management policies; and
    2. the Secretary of the Academic Board for academic governance policies.

(39) Policies must be reviewed at least every five years.

(40) The Responsible Officer must oversee the review of established policies. The purpose of the review is to examine whether the policy remains relevant and useful to the needs of the University and whether it conforms to the standards set out at clauses 10-14.

(41) Policies must be proposed for revocation when they are no longer useful to the needs of the University.

(42) Any proposed changes arising from policy review must undergo the drafting, consultation, approval and publication steps set out at clauses 29-35.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(43) For the purpose of the Policy Framework:

  1. associates: contractors, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.