This policy establishes a framework for defining, developing, maintaining and reviewing the University’s policies and associated procedures to ensure consistency and quality.
- Policy Statement and Principles
- The Policy Hierarchy
- Roles and Responsibilities in Policy Development
- Roles and Responsibilities (associated with this policy)
- Revisions made to this Policy
- Further Assistance
- Glossary of Terms
1.1 1.1. The academic and corporate governance of the Australian Catholic University (ACU) is based on Government Acts and Regulations, other legislative instruments, relevant binding legal decisions, the Constitution of Australian Catholic University Limited, University legislation, University Statutes and Regulations, University policies, University procedures, University guidelines and University local protocols.
1.2 The Policy Development and Review Policy establishes a framework for defining, developing, maintaining and reviewing the University’s policies and associated documents to ensure consistency and quality.
1.3 The Policy includes an overview of the Policy Hierarchy and the associated roles and responsibilities.
2.1 The Policy Development and Review Policy applies to all University staff involved in the policy development and review process at the University level. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Policy Development and Review Procedure which sets out in detail the Development and Review Cycle for policies and procedures.
2.2 A reference to a defined term in this policy should be read in conjunction with clause 9 (Glossary of Terms).
3. Policy Statement and Principles
3.1 ACU has adopted a devolved policy development model whereby responsibility for the development, amendment and review of policies and procedures are undertaken by subject matter experts (referred to as Responsible Officers) within the Directorates, Faculties and Institutes of the University.
3.2 ACU is committed to:
- establishing a central framework;
- providing the necessary document-based tools and resources to support the policy drafting undertaken by the Responsible Officer (or delegate); and
- maintaining the policy library; and monitoring the alignment between policy and delegations.
4. The Policy Hierarchy
4.1 Policy Hierarchy
4.1.1 The Policy Hierarchy is an overview of the documents that define and govern the University’s activities. The Policy Hierarchy is illustrated below and each level is described in order of precedence:
- Federal, State and Local Laws - Government Legislation (Acts, Regulations and other legislative instruments), administrative decisions, the Common Law and the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement;
- Corporation Constitution;
- University Statutes, Regulations and Delegations of Authority Policy and Register;
- University Policies;
- Guidelines and Local Protocols.
Figure 1: The Policy Hierarchy
4.1.2 Each level of the Policy Hierarchy should be aligned with and reference the levels above. This principle applies to all levels of the hierarchy. For example, a policy should not contravene the relevant legislation. If there is an inconsistency between levels of the Policy Hierarchy then the higher level provision prevails.
4.2 Federal, State and Local Laws
4.2.1 Federal, State and Local Laws include Government Legislation (Acts, Regulations and other legislative instruments), administrative decisions, the Common Law and the ACU Staff Enterprise Agreement. ACU is a body corporate (specifically, a company limited by guarantee) originally established under the Companies (Victoria) Code and now regulated by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). It is given statutory recognition in three State jurisdictions . The Acts provide the Senate with sole responsibility for and authority over the provision of education. Furthermore, the Victorian Act empowers the Senate to make subsidiary or delegated legislation (Statutes and Regulations) which are enforceable by law. ACU is also directly governed by other legislation and regulations in multiple jurisdictions, such as the Work, Health and Safety (WHS) Act, the Fair Work Act and associated decisions enforceable at law.
4.3 University Statutes, Regulations and Delegations of Authority Policy and Register
4.3.1 As specified in the ACU Constitution and the Australian Catholic University Act 1991 (Vic), the ACU Senate can create statutes and regulations which relate to the governance, management and organisation of the University . The remaining two State Acts (New South Wales and Queensland) provide non-specific recognition that the Senate has the sole responsibility for and authority over education at ACU and the responsibility and authority is exercised through the making of statutes and regulations.
4.3.2 A University statute is the primary regulatory instrument made by the Senate to govern the University. The Senate can repeal, revoke, alter and amend statutes by resolution. Statutes may be used to establish the significant University policies, however, more detailed matters that are related to implementation or areas subject to frequent change are usually dealt with at a lower level of the hierarchy.
4.3.3 The Delegations of Authority Policy and Register list authorisations conferred by the Senate on officers and bodies of the University and committees of Senate for the purpose of carrying out their functions. Although the Delegations of Authority Policy and Register applies to the University and its controlled entities (if any), it is not the source of all delegated authority. Register actions may be taken by University staff under implied authority arising from position descriptions, policies, procedures, schedules, guidelines and practices.
4.4.1 Policies are an official position statement of the University and establish the key principles and provisions that govern decision-making processes. Policies are required and include details of the University’s expectations and how it will act. While some policies can stand alone, most will be accompanied by associated procedures and/or guidelines to explain how the policy is to be implemented across the University.
4.4.2 All ACU Policies must be:
- Approved by the Vice-Chancellor or the delegated Approval Authority (see clause 5.1, below);
- Endorsed for approval by the Governing Authority (see clause 5.2, below);
- Developed using the ACU Policy or Procedure Template;
- Stored and accessed via the Policy Library, and list all relevant metadata;
- Applied consistently across all Campuses and Organisational Units, where applicable;
- Have an associated procedure if required; and
- Reviewed and updated at least every five years from the approval date, or more frequently if appropriate. Amendments to a policy may be necessary for a specific purpose and may need to be approved within a specific timeframe. Amendments to a policy for a specific reason would not negate the need for a formal policy review and should not adjust the date of the policy review.
- For the avoidance of doubt, policies and procedures will continue in force until such time as they are replaced or rescinded. It is not necessary to formally rescind a policy in circumstances where it has been replaced.
4.4.3 This approach will assist the University to:
- Comply with relevant legislation,national standards or international standards (in the case of ACU’s overseas operations);
- Comply with ACU Senate-mandated statutes and regulations;
- Establish the University's position across a range of matters;
- Support the University’s Mission and Values;
- Achieve the University’s strategic goals;
- Promote operational efficiencies and reduce risks; and
- Meet community expectations.
All members of the University community must understand their responsibilities and comply with University policies and procedures.
4.5 Procedures Document
4.5.1 A procedures document provides details of the operational steps that should be undertaken when implementing a particular policy.
4.5.2 Procedures should:
- Be approved by the Vice-Chancellor or the delegated Approval Authority (see clause 6.1, below);
- Be endorsed for approval by the Governing Authority (see clause 5.2, below);
- Be applicable University-wide but may be subject to necessary or relevant campus variations;
- Be directly linked to the policy but a separate document to the policy;
- Explain how to implement the particular policy; and
- Expand on roles and responsibilities.
4.6 Guidelines Document
4.6.1 A guidelines document provides advice on best practice and includes additional detail or further context related to the policy and procedures. The development of a guideline document is not compulsory. Where guidelines exist, the advice must be appropriate to the specific context and aligned with the policy and procedure.
4.6.2 The Delegations of Authority Policy and Register sets out the relevant delegate to approve guidelines.
4.7 Local Protocols
4.7.1 A Campus or Organisational Unit (such as a Faculty or Directorate) may develop documents relating to local protocol which record decisions, processes or workflows that apply only to that Campus or Organisational Unit. The development of a local protocol is not compulsory. If developed, local protocols must be appropriate to the specific context and aligned with the policy and procedure.
5. Roles and Responsibilities in Policy Development
5.1 Approval Authority
5.1.1 The Approval Authority is the Vice-Chancellor. The Vice-Chancellor may delegate the associated responsibilities to the relevant Senior Executive Group member or decision-making Committee. For more details on delegations, please refer to the Delegations of Authority Policy and Register.
5.1.2 The Approval Authority is responsible forApproving all new and amended policies and procedures. In the case of approving amendments, only major amendments (as defined) need to be approved by the Approval Authority.
5.2 Governing Authority
5.2.1 The Governing Authority should be distinct from the Approval Authority, and must be one of the following:
- Senate and/or Academic Board;
- Senior Executive Group members:
- Chief Operating Officer;
- Deputy Vice-Chancellor;
- Vice President;
- Pro Vice-Chancellor Assisting the Vice-Chancellor and President.
- Decision-making University Committee with the appropriate remit as set out in its Terms of Reference (for example Planning, Quality and Risk Committee, or standing committee of Academic Board such as Academic Administrative Committee). The Committee Chair will be responsible on behalf of the members.
5.2.2 The Governing Authority is responsible for:
- Ensuring the policy or procedure is developed or amended in accordance with the Policy Development and Review Policy and Procedure;
- Endorsing the final version of new policies and procedures for approval by the Approval Authority;
- Endorsing major amendments (as defined) to existing policies and procedures for recommendation to the Approval Authority;
- Approving minor amendments (as defined) in circumstances where the Governing Authority is satisfied that the amendment is not significant or substantial enough to warrant approval by the Approving Authority.
- Ensuring the new or amended policies and procedures can be applied consistently across all Campuses and Organisational Units where appropriate; and
- Approving the rescission of policies and procedures which have not been replaced but are no longer required.
5.3.1 The Responsible Officer should be a Member of the Executive.
5.3.2 The Responsible Officer is responsible for:
- Overseeing the development of new or amended policies and procedures, and ensuring that the process complies with the Policy Development Review Policy and Procedure. Note: the Responsible Officer may delegate the drafting to a member of staff within their area of responsibility;
- Seeking endorsement and approval on new or amended policies and procedures from the Governing Authority and Approval Authority respectively.
- Seeking endorsement and approval from the Governing Authority and Approval Authority respectively for major amendments (as defined)
- Seeking approval from the Governing Authority for minor amendments (as defined).
- Approving editorial amendments (as defined);
- Seeking approval from the Governing Authority for the rescission of policies or procedures which have been deemed invalid or no longer in effect;
- Managing implementation, communications and interpretation of the approved new or amended policies and procedures in the University community through appropriate staff channels. This includes ensuring that any relevant stakeholders are kept up to date on necessary changes
- Ensuring that previous versions of the amended policy and procedure, or rescinded policies and procedures, are archived appropriately. Please refer to the Records and Archive Management Policy and the Record Retention and Disposal Schedule for more details. In addition, where necessary, the Responsible Officer should ensure that the most updated copy of the policy or procedure is accessible to relevant stakeholders via the Policy Library in accordance with clause 6.5.1;
Note: the Responsible Officer may delegate the publishing or editing of any new or amended policy or procedure on the website to a member of staff within their area of responsibility
- Approving any necessary associated documents which are developed or amended (e.g. Guidelines, Local Protocols) in line with the approved new or amended policies and procedures; and
- Ensuring that the relevant policy and procedure are monitored and reviewed in accordance with the appropriate timeframes.
6. Roles and Responsibilities (associated with this policy)
6.1 Approval Authority
The Approval Authority for this policy is the Vice-Chancellor and President.
6.2 Governing Authority
The Governing Authority for this policy is the Chief Operating Officer.
6.3 Responsible Officer
The Responsible Officer for this policy is the Director, Directorate of Governance
6.4 Management of the University Policy Framework
6.4.1 The Directorate of Governance will be responsible for overseeing the policy development framework, including reviewing and amending this policy and the related procedures in accordance with clause 7.1.
6.4.2 The Directorate of Governance will develop and maintain a register of policies and procedures at various stages throughout the Development and Review Cycle.
6.4.3 The Directorate of Governance will monitor the scheduled review date for policies and liaise with the relevant Responsible Officer as necessary.
6.5 Management of the University Policy Library
6.5.1 The Directorate of Governance, in collaboration with the Responsible Officers, will be responsible for maintaining the currency of the Policy Library by publishing policies and procedures and associated metadata on the website or submitting a request to the Digital Operations team.
6.5.2 The system development and maintenance of the website remains the responsibility of the IT Directorate.
6.5.3 The Digital Operations Team will, as requested, update the Policy Library by publishing policies and procedures and associated metadata on the website. From time to time, as required, the Digital Operations team IT Directorate will be responsible for training the Responsible Officer (or their nominee) to upload or web-edit polices or procedures on the Policy Library.
6.6 Staff involved in the Policy Development Process
Staff who are involved in any aspect of the policy development process should follow the Policy Development and Review Policy and Procedure throughout all stages of the policy development process and contact the Directorate of Governance, if in doubt, as to how to proceed.
7. Revisions made to this Policy
Refer to clause 9 for definitions of editorial, minor and major amendments
|Date||Major, Minor or Editorial||Description of Revision(s)|
|18 December 2017||Major||Re-named Policy, added a scope and principles section, inserted a glossary of terms, amended Policy Hierarchy, and amended the revision and approval process, and roles and responsibilities section.|
This policy is scheduled for review every five years or more frequently if appropriate.
8. Further Assistance
Requests for publishing policies to the Policy Library on the website can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Glossary of Terms
Benchmarking exercise: a process of evaluating similar policies or procedures at other Universities to compare sector standards and identify good practice. Benchmarking should act as a reference point and not be used to replicate material without attribution.
Development and Review Cycle: a six step process consisting of development or amendment, consultation, review and finalisation, endorsement and approval, communication and implementation, and continual improvement and review. For more detail refer to the Policy Development and Review Procedure.
Editorial amendments: changes that do not alter the application or the meaning of the policy or procedure and may include title changes, typographical errors, erroneous references or hyperlinks.
Major amendments: substantive changes which affect the principles or intent of the policy or procedure.
Minor amendments: changes which are not likely to affect the principles or intent of the policy or procedure but are of a more significant nature than editorial amendments. These may reflect changes to responsibilities or operational aspects of a process or may involve a consequential change to a single provision as a result of legislative amendment or amendments to a related policy.
Policy Library: located on the ACU website at http://www.acu.edu.au/policy/homepage. The underpinning IT infrastructure is SquizMatrix Content Management System.
Revision: a revised version of the policy or procedure as a consequence of editorial, minor or major amendments approved in accordance with clause 6 of this policy.
|Policy applies to||
|Policy Status||Revision of Existing Policy|
|Approval Authority||Vice-Chancellor And President|
|Governing Authority||Chief Operating Officer|
|Responsible Officer||Director, Governance|
|Date of Last Revision||18/12/2017|
|Effective Date of Last Revision||01/01/2018|
|Date of Policy Review *||01/01/2020|
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols
Australian Catholic University (Victoria) Act 1991
Australian Catholic University (NSW) Act 1990
Australian Catholic University (Qld) Act 2007
ACU Constitution 29 July 2016
Australian Catholic University Staff Enterprise Agreement 2013-2017
Delegations of Authority Policy and Register
ACU Policy Development Procedure
ACU Policy Development Template
Records and Archive Management Policy
Record Retention and Disposal Schedule
Page last updated: 2019-08-21
Short url: https://policies.acu.edu.au/798675