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Policy Framework Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) This policy states the requirements for rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and local instructions, which together with the Charles Sturt University Act 1989 No 76 and Charles Sturt University By-law 2005, and committee terms of reference make up the University’s policy framework.

(2) It will ensure that rules, policies, procedures and guidelines of Charles Sturt University (the University) are:

  1. valued and trusted by staff and students, because they are well informed by stakeholders’ knowledge of the activities they define;
  2. clear, concise, rigorously reasoned and in as plain English as will express their content;
  3. as few in number as possible to ensure ease of use and minimise the work of governance and review;
  4. monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure they meet their objectives;
  5. able to be changed as needed to reflect rapidly changing institutional, sectoral, legislative and regulatory requirements, and systems changes; and
  6. effective, in that they are well understood by users, are adhered to and can be demonstrated to meet their objectives.

Scope

(3) This policy applies to: 

  1. all rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and local instructions of the University;
  2. to all staff, adjunct staff and students of the University, consultants and contractors engaged to develop rules, policies or procedures for the University; and
  3. to all visitors to the University and all members of the University’s governing bodies.
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Section 2 - Glossary

(4) For the purposes of this policy, the following terms have the meanings stated:

  1. Academic policy – a policy that governs an aspect of the University’s academic activities, such as curriculum, learning and teaching, research, higher degree by research candidature, student administration, the student experience or student success.
  2. Editorial change – a change to a rule, policy or procedure to correct a stylistic or formatting error or clarify wording; update terms, unit names, titles, or links; or add, remove or update links to new/rescinded related texts, which does not change the substantive meaning of the policy or procedure provisions.
  3. Governance policy – a policy on functions of the University that are retained by the University Council (the Council) including:
    1. risk management,
    2. investment management,
    3. complaints, corruption and whistle-blowing,
    4. legal, contractual and corporate entities,
    5. the form and use of academic and ceremonial costume,
    6. commercial activities,
    7. honorary awards and recognition,
    8. other policies regarding University governance.
  4. Grandparenting – where new requirements take effect, but the previous requirements continue to apply to persons who have already entered a contract with the University (such as enrolment or employment) under the previous requirements.
  5. Guideline – see definitions of types of text section in the body of the policy.
  6. Local instruction – see the definitions of types of text section in the body of the policy.
  7. Major change – a change that alters the rule’s, policy’s or procedure’s requirements of stakeholders other than changes listed under ‘editorial change’ above or ‘minor change’ below.
  8. Management policy – a policy that governs an aspect of non-academic management activities of the University such as advancement, communication, facilities, finance, global engagement, human resources, information technology, marketing, or other activities not considered matters for academic or governance policy.
  9. Minor change – a change to a rule, policy or procedure to reflect changes in the University’s organisational structure or systems; or external regulatory or legislative documents; or to resolve inconsistency of a text lower in the policy hierarchy with a text higher in the policy hierarchy; that does not otherwise change the requirements of stakeholders.
  10. Policy – see the definitions of types of text section in the body of the policy. ‘Policy’ is also used an adjective in this document in place of ‘rule, policy, procedure or guideline’: for example, a ‘policy developer’ may be someone developing or reviewing any of those texts, while the ‘policy library’ holds all these kinds of texts, and the ‘policy framework’ applies to all of them, while the ‘policy suite’ is the full set of all texts from rules down to local instructions.
  11. Policy developer – the person who leads development or review, and drafting of a rule, policy or procedure on behalf of the policy owner; the policy developer will appear in the policy library status and details tab as the ‘author’.
  12. Policy framework – the policy framework defines requirements for development and review of all Charles Sturt University texts that set mandatory requirements for staff or students, and the other texts that support them – namely, rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and local instructions.
  13. Policy library – the University’s online repository of rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and committee terms of reference; the policy library text of a rule, policy or procedure is the authoritative text.
  14. Policy owner – the position identified as responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of a rule or policy and reviewing it; the policy owner will appear in the policy library status and details tab as the ‘unit head’.
  15. Policy suite – the full set of rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and local instructions of the University.
  16. Procedure – see the definitions of types of text section in the body of the policy.
  17. Rule – see the definitions of types of text section in the body of the policy. ‘Rule’ is also used in this policy in its common sense, to mean a specific requirement stated by a rule, policy or procedure.
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Section 3 - Policy

Definitions of types of text

(5) A rule:

  1. is a legal statement of the authorities and requirements for a function of the University Council, a governance process, or an activity involving decisions that have major consequences for students or staff and may be prone to dispute; and
  2. has as its purpose defining requirements fully and unambiguously, as a direct statement of the intentions of the University Council or those to whom the Charles Sturt University Act 1989 No 76 or Charles Sturt University By-law 2005 delegates the making of rules on specific topics.

(6) A policy:

  1. sets out objectives, authorities, responsibilities and high-level rules for an area of the University’s activities;
  2. applies university-wide unless its scope section limits the scope;
  3. can set mandatory requirements for staff and students;
  4. should avoid including process detail that is inappropriate for governance bodies or the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team to consider: this should go in supporting procedures or related instructional materials, which should be linked to the policy as relevant, so that the full set of process rules for the activity is visible to the approving authority; and
  5. cannot contradict a rule: should this occur, the rule overrules the policy.

(7) A procedure:

  1. supports a policy or rule by defining detailed process requirements for some or all aspects of the activity defined by the policy or rule;
  2. applies university-wide unless its scope section limits the scope;
  3. can set mandatory requirements for staff and students;
  4. can support a rule directly without an intervening policy; and
  5. cannot contradict a rule or policy: should this occur, the rule or policy overrules the procedure.

(8) A guideline:

  1. describes good practice and provides advice to staff or students in applying the requirements of a rule, policy or procedure; and
  2. cannot set mandatory requirements.

(9) A local instruction:

  1. is approved by an executive dean or executive director, to define the faculty’s or unit’s specific requirements under a rule, policy or procedure;
  2. has the status of a written directive from the executive dean or executive director; and
  3. cannot contradict a rule, policy or procedure: should this occur, the rule, policy or procedure overrules the local instruction.

Responsibilities

(10) Policy owners and policy developers are responsible for:

  1. leading consultation activities with stakeholders to inform development and review;
  2. drafting texts that are clear, concise and rigorously reasoned, in as clear language as possible;
  3. identifying and implementing measures of effectiveness;
  4. effective implementation of requirements, and leading ongoing compliance with them;
  5. reporting as required by the approval authority on effectiveness and measures to increase this;
  6. logging issues with rules, policies and procedures raised by users or revealed by monitoring, for the next review; and
  7. participating in the policy owners reference group to coordinate the policy suite and ensure consistent practice in development and review.

(11) The policy owners reference group is responsible for:

  1. coordinating the policy suite;
  2. ensuring consistent practice in policy development and review; and
  3. considering whether to endorse proposals to develop a new policy, for the Vice-Chancellor's approval.

(12) The University Secretary and their nominees for policy work are responsible for:

  1. leading and supporting policy development and policy management in the University;
  2. convening a reference group of policy owners to ensure consistent practice and plan and coordinate improvements to the policy suite;
  3. reviewing and editing rules, policies and procedures drafted by policy owners to ensure they meet the objectives of this policy;
  4. verifying with the policy owner that arrangements to implement a new or changed rule, policy or procedure are in place before the policy or procedure is published;
  5. maintaining the schedule of rules and policies to be reviewed;
  6. deciding whether proposed changes to a rule, policy or procedure are major, minor or editorial and directing them down the appropriate approval pathway; and
  7. managing the University policy library.

Consistency

(13) Lower texts in the policy hierarchy must be consistent with higher texts: the hierarchy is 1, rule (highest); 2, policy; 3, procedure; 4, local instruction (lowest). As guidelines cannot set mandatory requirements, they cannot contradict other texts, and so are not included in the hierarchy.

(14) The delegations and authorisations policy and its schedules state the University Council's delegations of authority to make decisions, to specific bodies and officers of the University. All other policies and procedures must be consistent with that policy and its schedules. Where a policy or procedure is inconsistent with a delegation in a schedule to the delegations and authorisations policy, the schedule overrules the policy or procedure.

(15) Where development or review of a rule, policy or procedure reveals a need to change, add or remove a delegation in a schedule to the delegations and authorisations policy, this change to the schedule must be approved by Council before the rule, policy or procedure can take effect.

(16) Where texts are inconsistent, the higher text overrules the lower text, and the lower text must be changed as soon as possible: such amendments are considered minor changes.

(17) The Enterprise Agreement (EA) is a binding agreement between the University and staff unions, on conditions of employment. Policies and procedures that set requirements for staff must be consistent with the EA.

Force of provisions

(18) Statements in rules, policies and procedures that use the verbs ‘must’, ‘shall’ or ‘will’ state mandatory requirements for staff and/or students.

(19) Compliance with rules, policies and procedures is a condition of employment at the University, and a condition of enrolment at the University. Non-compliance may lead to disciplinary action (staff) or action for misconduct (students), or other specific consequences defined by particular policies or procedures, or by the Enterprise Agreement.

(20) The Internal Audit Office may audit compliance with rules, policies and procedures.

(21) Where a rule, policy or procedure uses the word ‘including’ or the phrase ‘for example’, this does not limit the provision to the example(s) stated.

Approval

Approval to develop a new policy

(22) As far as possible the University will keep the number of rules and policies to a minimum, and only introduce a new rule or policy when:

  1. new legislation or regulations require rule or policy provisions; and
  2. it is not sufficient to add sections to existing rules or policies, but there is a strong case for a separate rule or policy.

(23) The Vice-Chancellor approves proposals to develop a new rule or policy on the recommendation of the University Secretary, unless the University Council or Academic Senate itself decides that a new rule or policy is needed. The Vice-Chancellor's approval is not needed where existing rules or policies are to be consolidated into a new rule or policy.

(24) The relevant policy owner may proceed to develop a new procedure in support of a rule or policy on their own initiative.

Approval authorities

(25) Delegation Schedule 01 - Strategy and Policy Delegations of the Delegations and Authorisations Policy sets the approval authorities for the various types of rule, policy, procedure and guidelines.

Changes to rules, policies and procedures

(26) The University Secretary will decide whether a proposed change to a rule, policy or procedure is a major change, minor change or editorial change.

Approval of editorial changes

(27) The University Secretary approves editorial changes to rules, policies and procedures.

Urgent approval of policies or procedures

(28) The Vice-Chancellor may approve a new policy or procedure, or a major change to an existing policy or procedure, where there has been a change in funding requirements, regulatory requirements or legislation requiring urgent action to mitigate risk to the University.

(29) Following such approvals, the policy owner will conduct a full review of the new/amended policy or procedure as soon as practicable, and at latest within one year of the urgent approval.

Policy and procedure development

(30) The Policy Development and Review Procedure states requirements for policy owners or their nominees in developing or reviewing a rule or policy and its supporting procedures.

Publication of rules, policies, procedures, guidelines and local instructions

(31) Rules, policies, procedures and guidelines must be published in the University policy library.

(32) Local instructions must be linked to the relevant policy or procedure.

(33) Rules, policies and procedures take effect when published unless the approval authority has approved other take-effect dates or transition arrangements, in which case the publication must state when the provisions take effect.

(34) Where some staff or students will be grandparented under the requirements of a previous version or an expired text, this must be stated in the current version of the text(s) that replace the previous version or expired text.

Review

(35) Rules will be reviewed at latest by five years after the take-effect date of the previous new or fully reviewed version of the rule.

(36) Procedures that support rules will be reviewed at latest by three years after the take-effect date of the previous new or fully reviewed version of the procedure.

(37) Policies and their supporting procedures will be reviewed at latest by three years after the take-effect date of the previous new or fully reviewed version of the policy.

(38) The University Secretary will report

  1. as needed to the Vice-Chancellor's Leadership Team on progress with policy reviews and, in particular, on rules, policies and/or procedures that are overdue for review;
  2. annually to the University Council on progress with reviews of rules and policies that Council approves; and
  3. annually to Academic Senate on progress with reviews of rules and policies that Academic Senate approves.

(39) Changes to a rule, policy or procedure without full review do not change the date by which the text must be reviewed.

(40) A policy owner has discretion to initiate review of a rule, policy or procedure sooner than its next review date.

(41) The approval authority for a rule or policy may request an earlier review where they consider this is needed to improve the rule’s or policy’s effectiveness.

(42) Rules, policies and procedures will continue in force until they are replaced or rescinded.

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Section 4 - Procedure

(43) The Policy Development and Review Procedure supports this policy by stating detailed requirements for policy owners, policy developers and core stakeholders in developing and reviewing rules, policies and procedures.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(44) Nil.