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Policy Framework Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) This document provides the framework for the development, approval and publication of University rules and University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines. The purpose of the policy is to establish standards and formats that make the overall suite of policies easy to access and understand, consistent with each other and also to ensure that they are kept up to date.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(2) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. rule - a statement governing an authority of the University made by the Board of Trustees or Vice-Chancellor and President in accordance with the Western Sydney University By-law 2017 for the purpose of the Western Sydney University Act 1997.
  2. policy - a statement that sets out the University's official position in relation to a particular issue and any mandatory requirements
  3. procedure - a statement that sets out the University's standard and required practice for implementation of a University policy.
  4. guideline - a statement that is advisory or explanatory in nature and provides guidance on how University policies and procedures might best be implemented or applied.
  5. Policy DDS - the abbreviated name for the University's Policy Document Development System.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(3) University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines provide the framework by which the University requires its operations to be conducted. They are the basis on which members of the University community are expected to manage the affairs of the University.

(4) The University has adopted a standard procedure for the development, approval, publication and review of these documents. All individuals involved in the development, approval and implementation of University-wide rules, policies, procedures and guidelines are expected to comply with these procedures. In addition, policy owners are responsible for implementing their policies across the University; effectively communicating their policies; reviewing and updating their policies regularly; and monitoring their policies for compliance and integrity.

Approval

(5) University rules must be approved by the Board of Trustees or Vice-Chancellor and President.

(6) University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines must be approved by a duly authorised officer in accordance with the University's Delegations (Administrative) Policy. The principal authorities with respect to University-wide policy making are the Board of Trustees, the Academic Senate and the Vice-Chancellor and President.

Publication

(7) University rules and University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines must be published in Policy DDS using the approved template format. Units may also publish other advisory and supporting information on their web sites. Where this information relates to a published policy, procedure or guideline, the information should be referenced in the relevant Associated Information page within Policy DDS.

(8) University-wide rules, policies, procedures and guidelines should not be published in other forms (e.g. hardcopy, web file) or locations unless there is a particular reason to do so and the approval of the Director, Governance Services, or nominee has been obtained. Where approval is granted the alternative publication must include the following statement:

"The University amends its rules, policies, procedures and guidelines from time to time. The version contained in this publication was current as at (insert date of publication). To check the latest approved version of this document, refer to the Policy DDS (www.policies.westernsydney.edu.au/)."

Principles

(9) The general principles that apply to the development and publication of the University's rules, policies, procedures and guidelines are that the documents:

  1. have been made available for consideration and comment by those who may be affected by them prior to them being submitted for approval;
  2. are written in a plain English style that is concise and easy to understand;
  3. are practical and present requirements clearly and logically in order to facilitate understanding and compliance;
  4. are consistent with each other and comply with relevant statutory requirements that apply to the University;
  5. are readily available and accessible to all people who may have an interest in or be affected by them;
  6. have a designated author and Unit Head who are responsible for maintaining the currency of the document, undertaking periodic review, and responding to requests for clarification or interpretation;
  7. are reviewed regularly and are kept up to date.

(10) Where an amendment to a policy or procedure is of a minor nature or reflects a specific statutory requirement the time and extent of consultation may be curtailed. However, new policies and procedures, major amendments and periodic reviews should entail a reasonable period of general exposure to enable those affected or interested to provide comment.

(11) The general principles that apply to the application and interpretation of the University's rules, policies, procedures and guidelines are that:

  1. they are to be implemented and enacted in a fair and consistent manner, having regard to stated requirements and the spirit and intent;
  2. local policies, procedures and guidelines of operational units are subordinate to and must be consistent with all University rules and University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines;
  3. in the event of inconsistency the document approved by the higher level authority prevails, to the extent of the inconsistency;
  4. where an inconsistency arises between documents of equal standing, the approval authority for the documents must provide a determination;
  5. formal interpretation to address a particular circumstance must be provided by the relevant unit head, or a more senior line manager; and
  6. regard must be had to the overall policy framework and the provisions of all relevant documents and particularly those with universal application such as the Code of Conduct, the Delegations (Administrative) Policy and the Records and Archives Management Policy.

Copyright

(12) No rule, policy, procedure or guideline is to contain copyright material belonging to a party other than the University without the express written permission of the copyright owner to use the material in the document. The permission obtained from the copyright owner must give the University the right to publish the material on the University web site indefinitely or for a specified duration. This issue is addressed in the Copyright Policy and advice about requesting permission to use third party copyright material can be obtained from the University's Copyright Officer.

(13) If copyright material is being used, the document being published must include an acknowledgement of the owner and contain a statement to the effect that the material is being reproduced and communicated with the permission of the copyright owner.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Policy Feedback

(14) Feedback from staff and students about content is important to ensuring the relevance of rules, policies, procedures and guidelines. Feedback on existing documents can be provided at any time to the relevant author or unit head using the links provided in the document's Status and Details page. During consultation periods, feedback on draft documents may be provided to the document's author using the Policy DDS Bulletin Board consultation interface.

Initial Policy Development

(15) Where a new rule, policy, procedure or guideline is to be developed, notice must be provided to the Policy and Governance Unit which maintains and publishes a periodic report on the status of all Policy DDS documents. The notice should provide brief details as to the nature and purpose of the new document, the anticipated time frame for development, and the name of the author and unit head.

(16) The Policy and Governance Unit will provide relevant advice and assistance to support the development work. The Policy Template provides the format for University-wide documents and outlines the nature of the content in each section. A pre-formatted version in MS Word is available from the Policy and Governance Unit for authors to use. The Guide to Developing Policies at Western Sydney University and the associated Policy Development and Review Life Cycle diagram are aimed at assisting authors plan and develop policy documentation.

(17) Where a draft document is to be circulated for comment either to a specified group or to the University community generally, it should be published via the online comments interface in the Bulletin Board within the Policy DDS. Other forms of circulation and consultation are also appropriate and further information is contained in the Guide to Developing Policies at Western Sydney University.

Policy Approval

(18) All University rules and University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines must be approved using the Policy DDS approval process. The documents must be submitted for approval in system and authors are required to complete the online approval submission. This provides information that is essential to the decision-making process.

Publication

(19) All University rules must be published in accordance clause 15 of the Western Sydney University By-law 2017 (including on the University website). All University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines must be published in Policy DDS.

Policy Implementation

(20) All University-wide policies, procedures and guidelines must have an implementation process. Implementation often requires changes to current practices and it is the policy owner's responsibility to ensure that policy requirements are effectively communicated to staff and students.

Policy Review

(21) All documents published in Policy DDS have a set review date. The system provides an automated notice to the relevant author and unit head when a document reaches the review date. The review must be initiated at that point in time and guidance as to the extent and nature of the review is provided in the Guide to Developing Policies at Western Sydney University.

(22) The essential purpose of a review is to examine whether the policy has achieved its objectives and is still relevant and useful to the needs of the University. Further information is in the Guide to Developing Policies at Western Sydney University.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(23) This policy should be read in conjunction with the:

  1. Policy Development and Review Life Cycle Diagram
  2. Policy DDS Word Template
  3. A Guide to Developing Policies at Western Sydney University

(24) The Policy DDS incorporates on-line advice and support systems. These include a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. The FAQ information is targeted at the general user with a view to assisting them to access information and where necessary, provide feedback relevant to the development and revision of University Policies, Procedures and Guidelines.

(25) The Policy DDS also contains on-line help for those employees who have access that allows them to develop and approve the actual documents.

(26) Those seeking further explanation regarding the development of policy, procedure and guideline documents in terms of the expected structure, formatting and content of the actual documents should refer to the Policy DDS Template.

(27) Enquires can also be directed to the Policy and Governance Unit at: policies@westernsydney.edu.au.