Policy Corporate Governance Policy Development and Review Policy

Policy Development and Review Policy

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James Cook University is committed to developing and maintaining relevant, clear, consistent, up-to-date and fair policies as a vital part of good governance and to assist decision making bodies and officers to effectively discharge their responsibilities and statutory obligations.


This policy applies to approval authorities and officers, including the University Policy Officer, Policy Custodians and Policy Authors responsible for the development, maintenance and review of policies, procedures and guidelines.


Policy – a set of rules or a specific course of action, based on principles adopted by the University, to guide decision making, direct operations and achieve objectives.

Framework – is a clear, consistent, coordinated and enforceable conceptual structure or system. A Framework, in this context, is at the same level as Policy. Wherever the term “Policy” is used in this policy, it applies equally to frameworks.

Procedure – the steps in a process required to implement the provisions or directions described under a Policy or Enterprise Agreement.

Guideline – a document which provides additional information or explanatory statements to assist understanding of a procedure.

Policy and Delegations Framework – is the clear, consistent, coordinated and enforceable system for the development, approval, implementation and review of University policies, procedures and delegations.

Policy Domain – refers to the grouping of policies and procedures into categories (domains) based on subject matter. Authority for managing the policies and procedures in a policy domain is delegated to the executive staff member (Policy Custodian) whose portfolio aligns with the domain. The policy domains are specified in the Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map.

Administrative amendment – is a change required to a policy, procedure or sub-delegations register that merely updates or corrects the document and does not change the intent of the document. For example, updates to position titles or names of organisational units, changes to the names of Acts, updates to contact information and the like. Updating hyperlinks and corrections to spelling, grammar and formatting are also examples of administrative amendments.

Major amendment – is a change to policy, procedure or sub-delegations register that impacts on the intent of the policy and/or related policies, associated procedures, or delegations. Major amendments include changes to policy title, scope, structure, content (unless deemed an administrative or minor amendment) or references linked within the policy such as schedules or appendices.

Minor amendment – is a change that does not impact on the intent of the policy. It may include clarification of existing content that does not change the intent, or improvements to the flow or readability of a policy.

Approval Authority – is the individual or committee that has the delegated authority to approve the establishment of, amendment to, or disestablishment of a policy or procedure. Delegated authority is either granted under the JCU Act, or via powers delegated by the University Council. Approval authorities for policy and procedure are specified in the Council approved Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map. Each policy domain has a specified approval authority, and can include University Council, Committees of Council, or an individual.

Policy Author – an officer of the University nominated by the Policy Custodian and responsible for the development and review of policy, procedures, guidelines or other policy related documentation under the direction of the Policy Custodian.

Policy Officer – an officer of the University who has responsibility for the management of the Policy Library, and the University's Policy Framework. Currently, this is the Policy Officer in the Office of the Chief of Staff.

Policy Custodian – an officer of the University who is responsible for ensuring policies, procedures, delegations and associated supporting documents are developed, approved and implemented in accordance with the Policy and Delegations Framework.


The following directions apply in relation to all University policies and procedures:

1. University staff are required under their contracts of employment to understand their responsibilities and comply with all relevant University policies and procedures when carrying out their duties.

2. Students of the University are required under their terms of admission to understand their responsibilities and comply with all relevant University policies and procedures when carrying out their studies.

3. All JCU policies must be developed in accordance with this policy and associated procedures and drafted consistent with:

  • applicable legislation and subordinate legislation (including local, state, commonwealth and international laws);
  • enabling legislation (the James Cook University Act (1997));
  • the University Plan and the Statement of Strategic Intent; and
  • relevant quality standards (e.g. the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) Higher Education Standards Framework)

4. Policies and procedures will only be approved if developed using the Policy Development and Review Policy and associated procedure and templates. Policies and procedures must be approved by an appropriate approval authority.

5. Policies must be reviewed by the Policy Custodian at least every five years or earlier if new legislation, increased risk, or other circumstances render it necessary.

6. Procedures must be reviewed:

  • At the same time the associated policy is reviewed;
  • Whenever changes in processes, systems or resources trigger a review (independent from a policy review);
  • At least every five years.

7. Policy Custodians must maintain current awareness of internal and external factors that require a policy response. Policy Custodians must ensure that policies are amended or developed in a timely manner to address changes to legislation, risk or implementation of innovation or best practice. Some policies will require review before the five-year scheduled review timeframe.

8. Policies and procedures remain current and enforceable until they are disestablished. Policies and procedures that are overdue for review, and not disestablished, are still in effect.

9. JCU’s Enterprise Agreement is the canonical source for staff related rules. Policies must not duplicate or conflict with content that is specified in the University’s Enterprise Agreement.

Policy and Procedure approval

10. A single approval authority is authorised to approve new policies and procedures, make major amendments to policies and procedures, and disestablish policies and procedures. The approval authority is specified in the Council-approved Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map.

11. Where approval is required urgently, the Vice Chancellor is authorised to grant interim approvals which are valid for up to 6 months from the date of approval. Policies and procedures which are granted interim approval will be presented to the relevant approval authority before the interim approval expires.

12. The Policy Custodian is authorised to approve minor amendments to policies, procedures and guidelines.

13. Policy responsibilities – Policy Custodian

Policy Custodians are responsible for:

  • ensuring their policies, procedures and other relevant documentation are appropriately developed, maintained and regularly reviewed to ensure currency, relevance, consistency, fairness and compliance with current legislation;
  • nominating a Policy Author that is an appropriately qualified member of the University’s staff with expertise and responsibilities in an area directly relevant to the application of the policy;
  • ensuring their respective domains are adequately covered by both policy and procedure;
  • ensuring equity impacts are considered during policy development, implementation, or review to address any equity implications, such as racism, gender inequality, disability, of the policy or procedure;
  • ensuring policy authors undertake policy and procedure development and review actions in line with approved University guidelines, including ensuring changes to policies and procedures are appropriately implemented and communicated to all relevant stakeholders;
  • ensuring inclusive language is used during policy development, review and implementation;
  • determining whether or not the policy has application to international students or students under partnership arrangements, and taking appropriate action to address this consideration;
  • determining whether or not the policy has application to JCU Singapore and taking appropriate action to align, integrate or consolidate with JCU Singapore policies;
  • determining whether or not the policy has application to JCU’s Controlled Entities and taking appropriate action, in consultation with the Directors of Controlled Entities, to align, integrate or consolidate with policies approved by Controlled Entities;
  • consulting with appropriate stakeholders during policy, procedure and related documentation development, review and implementation. Stakeholders include the JCU Student Association and/or other student forums for student facing policies, the relevant Advisory Committees, and Joint Consultative Committee for staff related policies;
  • ensuring all new and amended policies and procedures, including those proposed for disestablishment, are referred to the Policy Officer for review and coordination of the approval process via the relevant approval authority.

14. Policy responsibilities – Policy Officer

The Policy Officer will have overall custodianship of University policies, and management of the governance framework with specific responsibility for:

  • ensuring clarity, currency, consistency, fairness, regular maintenance and review of policies and procedures;
  • the review of new policy proposals, development, amendment and disestablishment of policies prior to recommendations being made to the relevant approval authority;
  • coordinating the approval process for policies, procedures and sub-delegations;
  • timely publication and promulgation (monthly) of all new, significantly amended or disestablished policies; and
  • management of the Policy Library and compliance with recordkeeping requirements as outlined in the Records Management Policy, and approving and implementing administrative amendments.

15. Management of the Policy Library

15.1 The Policy Library, under the control of the Policy Officer, will contain approved policies and procedures and serve as the sole location for their storage, maintenance and retrieval. Associated guidelines and other supporting documentation will be stored on the business unit/policy author’s website and the webpage linked to the Policy Library.

15.2 Policies and procedures in the Policy Library will be publicly accessible according to section 20 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Queensland). JCU’s Delegations Schedule and Sub-delegation Registers are published in the Policy Library and are available to JCU staff only.

15.3 The Policy Library will not serve as a storage area for other documents that do not support policy, including strategic plans or localised operational procedures. These documents should be stored on Division, College, or other relevant repositories.

Related policy instruments




Related documents and legislation

James Cook University Act 1997 (Queensland)

Right to Information Act 2009 (Queensland)

Gender Equity - Guide for Policy Sponsors

JCU Corporate Strategy

JCU Business Level Strategic Plan

Policy Handbook


Note: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Domain

Corporate Governance

Policy Custodian

Vice Chancellor

Approval authority


Date for next review


Revision History

Version no.

Approval date

Approved by

Effective date

Description of changes


23-116/03/2023Council14/04/2023Review and update terminology throughout; amendments to improve clarity and remove ambiguity; removal of references to disestablished student committee; formatting amendments. Procedure approval authority shifted to relevant governance committee (previously Policy Sponsor).Chief of Staff; Policy Officer





Policy reviewed and amended:

  • Review timeframe increased to 5 years
  • Addition of  ‘administrative amendment’ category
  • Clarified Policy Sponsor’s responsibilities regarding:
    • considering equity impacts of policies,
    • ensuring the use of inclusive language,
    • consultation and implementation

Policy Officer





Minor amendment to Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map to align with organisational structure and University Plan 2018-2022

Quality, Standards and Policy Officer





Revised Policy Framework (Appendix A) including the introduction of 4 delegations registers within the framework retitled: Policy and Delegations Framework-approved by Council 9/7/2015 (5/15 Minutes)

Quality, Standards and Policy Office





Policy established

PMO/Policy Officer


Governance, policy, procedure, policy framework

Contact person

Policy Officer