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Policy Management Policy

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Section 1 -  Purpose of Policy

(1) The purpose of this Policy is to:

  1. shape a policy framework that guides consistent, appropriate, accountable decisions actions and processes across the University;
  2. provide a consistent and enforceable system for the development, approval, implementation and review of policy documents at the University of Wollongong (UOW); and
  3. provide a mechanism to ensure that policy documents are compliant with the strategic direction of the University and with relevant legislation.
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Section 2 - Application and Scope - Exclusions or Special Conditions

(2) This Policy applies to any person, unit, division, faculty or committee responsible for the development, maintenance and communication of UOW policy documents within UOW.

(3) The University’s policy framework is applied university‚Äźwide, across all UOW locations and functions, including controlled entities unless otherwise specified within a specific framework or policy document.

(4) The provisions contained in this Policy apply to all UOW policy documents, with the exceptions of:

  1. pursuant to section 21B of the University of Wollongong Act 1989, any changes to the Commercial Activity Guidelines must be submitted by the University Council for approval by the NSW Minister for Education;
  2. Local Protocol documents are exempt from section 8 to 15 of this Policy;
  3. students are bound by provisions relating to course content and structure contained in the version of the Coursework Rules or Higher Degree Research (HDR) Award Rules that was in effect at the time that they commenced their studies.
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Section 3 - Policy Requirements

(5) All UOW policy documents must:

  1. be consistent with applicable legislation, including regulations, by-laws or statutory rules and are invalid to the extent of any inconsistency;
  2. support and be consistent with UOW vision, mission and values;
  3. assign responsibility and accountability to ensure due diligence in the operations of the University;
  4. comply with the requirements set out in this Policy;
  5. be relevant, transparent in their intention and meaning;
  6. be developed in consultation with appropriate UOW officers and stakeholders;
  7. be categorised as being either for public or staff only publication;
  8. be written in plain English;
  9. be audience appropriate (e. the policy custodian should not assume a prior knowledge of the subject area by the reader);
  10. be consistent with the Inclusive Language Guidelines.

(6) policy documents shall be written in the approved template. In exceptional circumstances modifications to the template may be required in order to meet requirements of the specific policy document.

(7) All amendments to policy documents shall be summarised in the review and change history of the policy document.

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Section 4 - Interpretation of UOW Policy Documents

(8) In interpreting UOW policy documents, unless the contrary intention appears, the following apply:

  1. in the event of an inconsistency between two policy documents the provisions in the document that has a higher position in the hierarchy takes precedence over the document that is lower in the hierarchy.
  2. any reading down or severance of a particular part of a UOW policy document does not affect the other parts of that policy document.
  3. an uncertainty or ambiguity in the meaning of a provision will not be interpreted against the University just because the University drafted the provision.
  4. a defined term shall have the meaning ascribed to it in the policy document in which it is use.
  5. if a position or committee is abolished or re-named, the responsibilities assigned in a policy document should be taken to be a reference to the principal successor to the functions of that position or committee.
  6. if a policy document defines a word or expression, other grammatical forms of the word or expression have corresponding meanings.
  7. a word or expression that indicates only one gender shall be construed as reflecting all genders unless a specific gender is clearly intended.
  8. a reference to a word or expression in the plural form includes a reference to the singular form and vice versa.
  9. the words ‘shall’, ‘must’ or ‘will’, if used to bestow a duty or power, indicate that the action or decision must be enacted.
  10. the words ‘may’ and ‘should’ when used to bestow a duty or power indicates that the action or decision may be enacted or not, at discretion.
  11. a reference to the word ‘including’ in any form is not to be construed or interpreted as a word of limitation.
  12. a schedule or appendix to a UOW policy document constitutes part of the policy document.
  13. the supporting documents listed at the start of a UOW policy document do not constitute part of the policy document.
  14. headings are inserted for convenient reference only and have no effect in limiting or extending the language of provisions to which they refer.
  15. reference to any statute or other legislation (whether primary or subordinate) is to a statute or other legislation as amended from time to time.
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Section 5 - UOW Policy Hierarchy

(9) UOW policy documents are part of a structured hierarchy of documents that govern activities at the University.

Table 1 UOW Policy Hierarchy

 Level
Type
Purpose
1
Legislation sets out the obligations or threshold standards that the University is expected to meet when performing its functions.
The University of Wollongong Act 1989 establishes UOW and sets out its governance structure.
The University of Wollongong By-law 2005 provides detailed requirements in relation to matters set out in the University of Wollongong Act 1989.
2
UOW Rules
An authoritative, prescribed direction that sets out the key principles for decision making and conduct at UOW.
4
Codes and Policies
Support the University’s rules and provide a statement that outlines non-discretionary governing principles and intentions in order to regulate University practice.
5
Procedures
A documented instruction that gives directions to carry out specified actions. For the purposes of procedures that support policy, they are mandated directions.
6
Guidelines
An advisory document that provides guidance on how to implement UOW policy documents or apply processes effectively. Decision makers should have regard to guidelines in making decisions on matters to which a guideline relates.
7
Local Protocols
Operational-level procedures or practices that apply within a particular Academic Unit or Division. Local Protocols are subordinate to and must be consistent with all policy documents above them in the policy document hierarchy.
Local protocols are enforceable to the extent of the specific directions which they provide; and to the scope of the division/work unit/areas which they apply.
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Section 6 - Approval and Authority

(10) All delegations to make decisions specified in a policy document are set out in the Delegations of Authority Policy.

(11) All UOW policy documents are categorised as either Academic or Operational.

(12) If it is not clear whether a policy is academic or operational, advice regarding consultation and approval pathways should be sought from the Governance and Policy Division.

(13) In some cases, both Academic Senate consultation and Vice-Chancellor and President approval may be required.

(14) The relevant approvers for the making and amendment of policy document types are outlined in Table 2. In the case of any inconsistency regarding approval authority, the Delegations of Authority Policy takes precedence over Table 2.

(15)  Recommendations for ‘No Change’ to Rules, policie and codes resulting from a policy review must be approved by the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or Chief Operating Officer and Vice-President Operations in accordance with the Delegations of Authority Policy.

(16) Any requests for approval of major or minor amendments to the Delegations of Authority Policy must include an Instrument of Authorisation of Deeds Form, which must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor. This does not apply to administrative amendments.

Table 2: Approval Authorities

Document Type
New and Amendment Type
Approval Authority
UOW Rules
Any
University Council.
Operational Codes and Policies
  1. New
  2. Major
  3. Minor
  4. Administrative
  5. Rescind
  1. University Council.
  2. University Council and the Finance and Infrastructure Committee (dependent on subject matter).
  3. Vice-Chancellor and President (VC).
  4. Managers within the Governance and Policy Division.
  5. University Council.
Academic Codes and Policies
 
  1. New
  2. Major
  3. Minor
  4. Administrative
  5. Rescind
  1. VC on recommendation by Academic Senate.
  2. VC on recommendation by Academic Senate.
  3. VC.
  4. Managers within the Governance and Policy Division.
  5. VC on recommendation by Academic Senate.
Procedures
  1. New
  2. Major
  3. Minor
  4. Administrative
  5. Rescind
  1. Relevant Senior Executive.
  2. Relevant Senior Executive.
  3. Relevant Senior Executive.
  4. Managers within the Governance and Policy Division.
  5. Relevant Senior Executive.
Guidelines
  1. New
  2. Major
  3. Minor
  4. Administrative
  5. Rescind
  1. Senior Executive.
  2. Senior Executive.
  3. Senior Executive.
  4. Managers within the Governance and Policy Division.
  5. Relevant Senior Executive.
Local Protocols
Any
Unit Manager or Divisional Director/Chief Officer.
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Section 7 - Reporting

(17) The approval of all new academic codes and policies shall be reported twice yearly to the University Council.

(18) Urgent amendments to UOW policy documents (excluding Rules) under Section 11 of this Policy shall be reported to the next University Council meeting and, in the case of academic policies, to the next meeting of the Academic Senate.

(19) Minor amendments to operational codes, policies shall be reported twice yearly to the Finance and Infrastructure Committee of University Council. Minor amendments to academic codes, and policies shall be reported twice yearly to the Academic Senate.

(20) No Change Review for an operational policy document shall be reported to the next Finance and Infrastructure Committee meeting occurring after the approval of the No Change Memorandum.

(21) A No Change Review for an academic policy document shall be reported at the next Academic Senate meeting occurring after the approval of the No Change Memorandum.

(22) The rescission of academic Codes, standards or policies must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor and President, on recommendation by the Academic Senate, and reported to the University Council.

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Section 8 - Development of New Policy Documents

(23) A new policy document should be developed when a requirement for standardising practice in a particular area, not covered by an existing policy document (a “policy gap”) arises.

(24) It is generally preferred to incorporate policy gaps into existing policy documents, rather than create a new policy document.

(25) Policy development at UOW shall follow a staged approach as set out below (as detailed in the Policy Management Procedures) and includes:

  1. executive Sponsorship;
  2. research, development, consultation and drafting;
  3. seeking feedback;
  4. approval; and
  5. communication, implementation and monitoring.
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Section 9 - Review of Policy Documents

(26) Reviews are required to ensure that policy documents remain current and fit for purpose.

(27) Policy custodians are responsible for undertaking reviews.

(28) Each policy document will have a scheduled review, revised at each subsequent scheduled review. As a minimum this should be every five years, but should be more frequent for documents that are high risk or impacted by dynamic circumstanced (e.g. regulatory changes).

(29) The date for the next review will only be revised if the full review is completed.

(30) Any amendments that result from a review must be approved by the delegated authority.

(31) The process for review is set out in the Policy Management Procedures.

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Section 10 - Amendments

(32) Any amendments must be approved by the delegated authority, with reference to:

  1. document type (according to the policy hierarchy);
  2. amendment type (see definitions).

(33) The process for amendment is detailed in the Policy Management Procedures.

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Section 11 - Urgent Amendment

(34) Extraordinary circumstances may necessitate urgent amendment (either temporary or permanent) to UOW policy documents, for example where there has been a change to the external environment requiring urgent action to mitigate risk to students or staff of the University or to the University as a whole.

(35) In such circumstances, urgent amendments to UOW policy documents (excluding Rules) may bypass the usual development, consultation and approval pathway, and may be expedited for approval as per the Delegations of Authority Policy.

  1. Any amendments to Rules must be approved by the University Council.
  2. The Vice-Chancellor and President may approve urgent amendments to codes and policies.
  3. The relevant Senior Executive may approve urgent amendments to procedures and guidelines.

(36) In each such case the Governance and Policy Division shall develop the approval memorandum to the nominated delegate in consultation with the Policy Custodian(s).

(37) In the case of temporary changes to the policy documents, the memorandum shall specify the period during which the amendment is to be effective. The amendments shall cease to have effect at the end of the specified temporary period and the previous provisions of the policy document will resume operation.

(38) Upon approval by the nominated delegate, all urgent amendments to UOW policy documents shall become operational.

(39) All urgent amendments shall be documented in the Review and Change History of the policy document.

(40) The latest version of the policy document shall be placed in the Policy Directory by the Governance and Policy Division (including, in the case of temporary amendments, details of the period during which they are effective).

(41) An Urgent Amendment does not constitute a review.

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Section 12 - Feedback

(42) Feedback provides UOW staff and students with the opportunity to have input into Policy development and review, and to provide transparency in policy management.

(43) Feedback should be used for:

  1. any new policy documents;
  2. any review of a policy document (excluding guidelines), regardless of the outcome of the review;
  3. any major amendments to Rules, Codes, Policies and Procedures;
  4. any rescinded Codes or Policies.

(44) Feedback is not required for:

  1. in-cycle administrative or minor amendments to any policy document;
  2. rescinded Guidelines or Procedures;
  3. amendments to Guidelines.

(45) Feedback should occur prior to approval.

(46) The period of feedback should be at least 10 business days.

(47) The mechanism for feedback should include as a minimum:

  1. publicly available policy documents will be published on the UOW Website; and
  2. staff only policy documents will be published on the Staff Intranet.
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Section 13 - Implementation and Communication

(48) Any new or amended policy documents must be communicated and implemented effectively so that relevant stakeholders are aware of policy principles and requirements.

(49) All Policy Custodians are required to prepare and submit a communication and implementation plan for major amendments, and for new or rescinded policy documents.

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Section 14 - Monitoring

(50) All policy documents must be monitored by the Policy Custodian for currency, issues and fit for purpose.

(51) The Policy Custodian must maintain written records (the "issues log”) and respond as required to issues as they arise.

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Section 15 - Records Management

(52) UOW policy documents shall be stored in the UOW Policy Directory, which is accessible through the UOW Website. Policies on the Directory shall be considered the authoritative source.

(53) Records relating to all policy documents will be retained and disposed of in accordance with the State Records Act 1998, relevant General Authorities issued by the NSW State Archives and Records Authority and the UOW Records Management Policy.

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Section 16 - Roles and Responsibilities

(54) The Governance and Policy Division shall:

  1. manage the UOW policy suite, policy management database and control mechanisms;
  2. provide policy advice;
  3. report policy document changes as required under this Policy;
  4. manage policy processes, including templates etc;
  5. classify policy document amendment types and relevant approval pathways;
  6. manage policy document approvals; and
  7. inform custodians of the policy document review schedule in advance of policy reviews falling due.

(55) Custodians must:

  1. ensure policy documents are fit for purpose and consistent with legislative requirements (where appropriate);
  2. maintain a record of policy document issues arising to inform reviews and keep records relating to policy reviews;
  3. complete policy document reviews within the specified review period;
  4. develop new policy documents as required in consultation with the Governance and Policy Division; and
  5. provide subject matter expertise in relation to UOW policy documents.

(56) Local managers/divisional managers shall manage and review any applicable Local Protocols.

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Section 17 - Definitions

Word/Term
Definition (with examples if required)
Academic Policy
A policy document with a university-wide effect on teaching, learning, research or internationalisation. Policy documents comply with all relevant legislation and rules.
Academic Senate
The Academic Senate is the principal academic governance body of UOW and has responsibility for advising the Council and the Vice-Chancellor and President on matters relating to teaching, scholarship, research and related activities in accordance with its terms of reference.
Amendment (Administrative)
A change to a current policy document that is superficial or administrative in nature. Administrative amendments refer to changes in nomenclature, editorial changes, updates to names and position titles, and updates to references.
Amendment (Minor)
A change to a current policy document that is of an insubstantial nature, not affecting the intent of the policy. Minor amendments may affect responsibilities or operational aspects of processes.
Amendment (Major)
A change to a current policy document that is likely to impact upon the intent of the policy document and/or have a significant impact on other related policy documents, stakeholders, aligned procedures or systems.
Approval Pathway
The pathway through which a policy document must move in order to be approved.
Code
Document setting out ethical standards, roles, responsibilities and behaviours with regard to an issue or topic. Codes have the same mandatory effect as policies.
 
Delegated Authority
A person or body exercising powers or undertaking functions delegated by the University Council under the terms of the University of Wollongong Act 1989. All lawful delegations of University Council powers and functions are contained in the UOW Delegations of Authority Policy.
Executive Sponsor
A member of the UOW Senior Executive, responsible for providing endorsement and sponsorship for a new policy document. This ensures strategic oversight in the development of any new policy documents.
Finance and Infrastructure Committee
A formally constituted committee of the University Council that acts under delegated authority. It is the executive committee of the University Council with particular responsibility for monitoring policies and performance.
Guideline
An advisory document that provides guidance on how to implement UOW policy documents or apply processes effectively.
Legislation
An Act of the Commonwealth or NSW Parliament having the force of law.
Local Protocol
Operational procedures or practices that apply within a particular Academic Group or Division. They are subordinate to and must be consistent with all policy documents above them in the policy document hierarchy.
No Change Review
A situation where the cyclical review does not require any amendments to the current policy.
Operational Policy
A policy document with a university-wide effect in respect to the administrative and operational functions of the University. Operational policies must comply with all relevant legislation and rules.
Policy
A statement that outlines non-discretionary governing principles and intentions in order to regulate University practice.
policy document
A UOW Rule, Code, Policy, Procedure or Guideline.
Policy Custodian
The officer that has overarching responsibility for the policy document and for ensuring it is implemented, progress is monitored and reported against, and that it is reviewed.
Policy Framework
An overarching set of related policies, supporting procedures and guidelines around a central theme.
Policy Gap
When a particular topic/subject area is not addressed (or sufficiently addressed) within an existing policy document.
Policy Toolkit
A toolkit that includes templates, practical information and advice on the development and management of policy documents.
Procedure
A documented instruction that gives directions to carry out specified actions. For the purposes of procedures that support policy, they are mandated directions.
Rescission
The retraction or deletion of a policy document deemed to be obsolete following a policy review.
Rule
An authoritative, prescribed direction for conduct at UOW. Under Section 29 the University of Wollongong Act 1989, Rules have the same effect as a By-law.
University Council
The governing authority of the University. The University Council acts for and on behalf of the University and controls and manages the University's affairs and concerns.
UOW Policy Dictionary
A collection of words, terms and abbreviations which are frequently used within the University and require a standard definition. The policy dictionary is a tool that aids authors in applying consistent definitions.
UOW Policy Directory
The University’s central web-based repository for all UOW policy documents.