Policy Development and Review Policy

Policy Quality and Planning Policy Development and Review Policy

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Intent 

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. 

Scope 

This policy applies to approval authorities and officers, including the University Policy Custodian, Policy Sponsors and Policy Authors responsible for the development, maintenance and review of all policies, procedures and guidelines. This policy must be read in conjunction with the Policy Development and Review Procedure. 

Definitions 

Policy - is a statement of the principles, values and key provisions governing decision-making at the University and which sets out the position of the University on key aspects of operation or direction. 

Procedure – the act or manner of proceeding in a process described under a Policy, Rule, Statute or Enterprise Agreement. 

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

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

Approval Authority – is the University Council or the appropriate committee, individual or member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Committee who is delegated authority to approve the establishment of, amendment to, or disestablishment of a policy. The Policy Sponsor of the related policy shall be the approval authority for procedures. 

Major amendment – a change to policy which will impact on the intent of the policy and/or related policies, stakeholders, aligned procedures or systems. Major amendments include changes to policy title, scope, structure, content (unless deemed an administrative “minor amendment” only) or references linked within the policy such as schedules or appendices. 

Minor amendment – an administrative amendment only e.g. changes to nomenclature, position titles, policy sponsor, review or expiry date. 

Policy Author – an officer of the University nominated by the Policy Sponsor and responsible for the development and review of policy, procedures, guidelines or other policy related documentation under the direction of the Policy Sponsor. In some cases, the sponsor will also be the author. Wherever possible, the Policy Author should be the head of the academic or business unit responsible for implementing or controlling operations governed by the policy. 

Policy Custodian – an officer of the University acting as the custodian of University policy and has responsibility for the management of the Policy Library. 

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

Policy 

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

  • University staff are required under their contracts of employment to understand their responsibilities and comply with University policies and procedures when carrying out their duties. 
  • Students of the University are required under their terms of admission to understand their responsibilities and comply with University policies and procedures when carrying out their studies. 

All JCU policies will 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) and statutes); 
  • the University Plan and the Statement of Strategic Intent; and
  • relevant quality standards (e.g. TEQSA). 

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

Policies will be reviewed by the Policy Sponsor every three years or earlier if new legislation or circumstances render it appropriate. It is expected that procedures and guidelines will be updated frequently and not later than when the associated policy is due for review. 

Policy approval 

A single approval authority is authorised to approve new policy, make major amendments to policy and disestablish policy, as outlined in each section of the University’s Policy Framework, unless otherwise requested by the Policy Sponsor or the Vice-Chancellor. Where approval is required urgently, the ViceChancellor is authorised to grant interim approvals which are valid for up to 6 months from the date of approval. The Policy Sponsor is authorised to approve minor amendments, procedures and guidelines. 

Policy responsibilities – Policy Sponsor and Policy Custodian 

Policy Sponsors 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
  • approval of new procedures or changes to procedures
  • they determine whether or not the policy has application to international students and take appropriate action to address this consideration
  • whether or not the policy has application to JCU Singapore and take appropriate action to align, integrate or consolidate with JCU Singapore policy;
  • they consult with appropriate stakeholders during policy development, review and communication;
  • amendments and disestablishment of policies are referred to the Policy Custodian for review prior to forwarding to the relevant approval authority. 

The Policy Custodian will have overall custodianship of University policies, with specific responsibility for ensuring:

  • clarity, currency, consistency, fairness, regular maintenance and review of policies;
  • the review of new policy proposals, development, amendment and disestablishment of policies and policy communication plans prior to recommendations being made to the relevant approval authority;
  • appropriate approval and timely implementation/promulgation of all new, significantly amended or disestablished policies as planned; and
  • management of the Policy Library and compliance with recordkeeping requirements as outlined in the Records Management Policy and associated framework. 

Management of the Policy Library 

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

The Policy Library will be publicly accessible according to section 20 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Queensland). 

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