Develop and Review Policy
The policy development and review process is informed by the UOW Quality Framework: Plan – Act – Review – Improve.
Any UOW policy is owned and managed by a “Policy Custodian”; the officer that has overarching responsibly for the policy and for ensuring it is implemented, progress is monitored and reported against the policy and that it is reviewed.
The development or review of a policy may fall into four categories:
A new policy should be developed when a requirement for standardising practice in a particular area, not covered by an existing policy, arises. In the case where a new policy, code, standard or rule is needed, a New Policy Proposal Form should be completed. The intention of the form is to provide structure to the process of scoping a new policy and to assist in the formulation of a policy development plan.
An administrative amendment to a policy is a change that is superficial or administrative in nature. Administrative amendments may reflect editorial changes, or updates to external references, names, or titles.
A minor amendment is a change to a current policy that is of an insubstantial nature, not affecting the meaning or intent of the policy. Minor amendments may reflect changes to responsibilities or operational aspects of a process.
A major amendment is a change to a current policy that is likely to impact upon the intent of the policy and/or on other related policies, stakeholders, aligned procedures, systems, UOW rules or codes of practice or conduct.
Stages of Policy Development
The Standard on UOW Policy requires a seven staged approach to policy development.
Stage One: Needs Analysis
In Stage One, the Policy Custodian should identify all issues that could trigger a policy review or the development of a new policy. Triggers can include:
- The review date for the policy
- Policy gaps which may come through the committee process, faculties, consultation with students or other stakeholders, or changes in the environment within or external to the University.
- Legislative change.
- An accumulation of a critical mass of issues in the Policy Issues Log
A Policy Issues Log should be maintained by the Policy Custodian and can capture issues that emerge through implementation and use of the policy. It can be used to capture knowledge and inform future reviews.
In identifying policy issues a decision will need to be made by the Policy Custodian or delegate about the urgency of the issues and whether to:
- Log the issues for a later review or development
- Address the problem through mechanisms other than the policy process or
- Proceed with a review or new policy development.
The Governance Unit can provide advice in relation to policy development, related policies, policies that may be superseded by the new policy and legislation and approval pathways. This information will assist in determining the scope and impact of the policy and the timeframe for completion.
In some instances it may be useful to consult with experts in the field and/or critical stakeholders as this information may be of assistance in identifying gaps in the current policy.
Stage Two: Research
The Policy Custodian shall analyse any relevant information that could inform the policy development/review. This may include data analysis, literature review and best practice.
The implications of the policy development/review should be determined with consideration of the impact on other policies, stakeholders, administration and systems development.
Identify stakeholders and mechanisms for consultation with stakeholders for action in Stages Three and Four.
Stage Three: Drafting
In consultation with stakeholders, the Policy Custodian shall draft the new policy or amend the existing policy. The Policy Template [dot] and the Procedure Template [dot] should be used for all UOW policies and procedures.
Depending upon the extent of change, urgency and timing of the policy change, stakeholders will be consulted and have the opportunity to comment on the draft policy. Changes that emerge from this consultation process may require further drafting of the policy.
The Policy Custodian may find that early consultation with critical stakeholders or a working party will inform the drafting stage of the policy. The Policy Custodian, in consultation with the Governance Unit as appropriate, will ensure that any associated policies are modified or superseded and archived, as required.
Stage Four: Consultation
The stakeholders identified in Stage One and Two will be consulted regarding the policy.
A range of stakeholder consultation tools are available on the Policy Directory.
It is good practice to send feedback to stakeholders who participate in the consultation process.
Depending on the constraints operating on the policy, it may not always be possible to consult with all stakeholder groups, however these constraints should be made clear.
Stage Five: Approval
The final draft of the policy shall proceed through the approval pathway and be submitted for final approval to the highest delegated authority.
The policy should be accompanied by a Communication and Implementation Plan. Any policies that are superseded should be identified in the Communication and Implementation Plan. The intent of the communication and Implementation Plan is that Policy Custodians consider and outline how policy will be implemented.
The policy may require revision depending on feedback received as the policy moves through the approval pathway.
The policy shall be approved by either the Finance and Resources Committee (which can approve changes to existing operational policies, codes or standards), the Vice-Chancellor on the recommendation of Academic Senate (in the case of academic policies, codes of standards) or the University Council (which must approve all new or amended rules). After the policy has been accepted by the highest delegated authority, the policy is then considered ‘approved’.
The policy will then be updated on the Policy Directory by the Governance Unit.
Stage Six: Implementation and Communication
The Policy Custodian is responsible for implementing the policy in accordance with the Communication and Implementation Plan.
The Policy Custodian should maintain a record of progress against the Communication and Implementation Plan.
Stage Seven: Maintenance and Review
The Policy Issues Log should be maintained by the Policy Custodian throughout implementation and use of the policy. The log will record feedback regarding the policy and will be used to inform further reviews of the policy.
In order to ensure that the policy is being followed, it may be necessary to audit compliance with the policy or evaluate the policy.
The policy will be reviewed as required, commencing again at Stage One.
It is the responsibility of the Policy Custodian to:
- Complete New Policy Proposal Form for new policies and forward to the Governance Unit.
- Use the templates provided in the Policy Toolkit
- Develop, write and review the policy
- Consult with stakeholders
- Review and up-date policy to comply with relevant legislation.
- Consult with the Governance Unit in respect to development and approval processes
- Ensure consistency between the policy and any related policies, procedures, systems, codes of practice or conduct, standards, guidelines, rules.
- Develop and maintain a full and accurate record of the policy.
It is the responsibility of the Governance Unit to:
- Provide appropriate support for the proposal, development and management of policy within the University. The Governance Unit will support the Policy Custodian through the provision of advice and expertise in the policy development process and will oversee, on behalf of the University, the policy style and format and recommend the most appropriate approval pathway.
- Review New Policy Proposal forms in order to ensure consistency between the policy and any related policies, procedures, systems, codes of practice or conduct, standards, guidelines, rules, relevant legislation and approval pathways.
- Ensure the correct document control and approval mechanisms are in place.
- Maintain the Policy Directory.
- Ensure a policy review takes place in a timely manner in consultation with the Policy Custodian.
- Ensure that a full and accurate record of the policy is developed and maintained.
UOW policy documents are stored in a centrally controlled Policy Directory, which will be accessible through the UOW Website.
Policies on the Directory shall be considered the authoritative source. Individual faculties/units should always link to this source.
As stipulated in the Records Management Policy, a full and accurate record of all business activities related to each policy shall be developed and maintained by the Policy Custodian.
Here to Help
Need a hand? Contact the Governance Unit for advice and assistance on policy issues.