Policy Framework - Governing Policy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Policy Framework - Governing Policy

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Approval authority
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Director, Governance and Risk Management
First approved
28 August 2007
Last amended
30 October 2020
Review date
3 December 2024
Related documents
Delegations Framework - Governing Policy
Governance Framework - Governing Policy
Policy Framework - Procedures
Linked documents
Policy Framework - Procedures
Related legislation / standards
University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (Qld)
Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Act 2011
Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015
Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld)

1. Purpose of policy

This policy is intended to set a broad framework for development of policy and procedures and related governance documents within the University and to enunciate principles for consistency in the management of these throughout their lifecycle.

2. Policy scope and application

This policy applies to all staff and members of University decision-making and advisory bodies.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for Policies and Procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:


  • Consequential amendment is made to bring a policy into conformity with a University committee resolution or legal requirement.
  • Minor amendment is editorial in nature and does not change the substance of a policy.

Approval authority is the committee or position with authority (or delegated authority) to approve a policy or procedure within this Policy Framework.

Designated Officer is the most senior officer responsible for operationalising the policy and/or procedures. The Designated Officer has delegated responsibilities to develop and implement the policy and/or procedures on behalf of the Responsible Executive Member. Specific responsibilities are listed in full in Table 5.1, Policy Framework – Procedures.

Responsible Executive Member is the member of the University Executive with whom the policy matter most clearly resides. The Responsible Executive Member has overarching responsibility and accountability for the policy and related procedures and is accountable for the implementation and compliance of the policy. Specific responsibilities are listed in full in Table 5.1, Policy Framework – Procedures.

4. Policy Framework

The University Council and its Executive are empowered by the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (Qld) to regulate the University’s activities.

The Policy Framework is guided by the principles set out in the Governance Framework – Governing Policy. The Policy Framework comprises of a standard model of concise high level policies and related detailed procedures, which are complemented with various levels of documentation as required. Additionally, the University may draw these various levels together as overarching frameworks.

4.1 Principles for policy

(a) A policy is a statement of principles or position that is intended to direct decision-making and operations that supports the achievement of the University’s vision and objectives. Policies have a long-term focus and are applied across the University as a whole. They form the foundation of the University’s governance processes and the basis of the quality system.

(b) Policies support the achievement of quality outcomes, address compliance with legislative obligations, and reduce institutional risk by establishing standards and internal controls. The principles outlined in policy are shaped by:

  • the legislation and regulations that govern the University
  • national standards and community expectations
  • the values and vision the University articulates in its strategic plan
  • a commitment to respecting human rights within a free, tolerant and inclusive society.

(c) Policy should be relevant, transparent in its intent and meaning and developed in consultation with the University community and key stakeholders. It should comply with the requirements set out in the Policy Framework.

(d) The University processes for drafting, approval, implementation and review of policy and procedures are outlined in the Policy Framework – Procedures.

(e) The latest approved version of all University policies and procedures will be stored and managed through the Policy Repository and made available to the public on the USC website. The Policy Repository is considered the authority source for the University’s policies and procedures.

(f) Policies are to be reviewed at least every five years, or more frequently if required.

4.2 Principles for procedures

(a) Procedures address processes and actions aligned with the policy principles. They outline the operational steps required to implement policy.

(b) Procedures will:

  • provide clear instructions on the way policy will be implemented
  • step through the actions required to implement policy principles
  • assign responsibilities
  • enable monitoring of policy implementation

(c) Procedures are to be reviewed at least every five years, or more frequently as required.

(d) Procedures may be further supported by additional operational procedures that relate to a specific area. These operational procedures must be followed and are maintained by the relevant organisational unit. Guidelines also provide advice which assist in the establishment and implementation of effective practices to achieve quality outcomes. Guidelines may be publicly available or limited to distribution within the University.

4.3 Principles for frameworks

(a) The purpose of a framework is to draw together and integrate a range of policies and procedures and related plans and documentation.

(b) Frameworks may be public or internal documents, depending on the nature of the subject. Frameworks should be maintained as current, by annual review or as policies and procedures are updated.

4.4 Policy categories

There are three categories of policy within the Policy Framework:

(a) Governing Policy

Governing policy pertains to strategic positioning or investment, risk management, fiduciary responsibility, legislative and common law compliance. It gives effect to statutory or regulatory requirements and relates to the processes of decision making and the controls and behaviours that support effective accountability and performance outcomes.

(b) Academic Policy

Academic policy relates to the core academic business of the University and covers matters of learning, teaching and research. This includes but not exclusively admissions; assessment; course and program approvals; discontinuation of courses and programs and student academic misconduct.

(c) Operational Policy

Operational policy relates to policy designed to support strategic intent and articulates both operational imperatives and outlines principles for administrative activities.

5. Approval authorities

The following authorities are delegated under this policy:


Approval Authority

to approve new policy/procedures and to approve amendments

Approval Authority

to approve consequential amendments and minor amendments

Governing Policy

Council (following endorsement by Executive and/or the relevant Committee of Academic Board)

Vice-Chancellor and President

Academic Policy

Academic Board

Chairperson, Academic Board or the Vice-Chancellor and President if endorsed by Executive

Operational Policy

Vice-Chancellor and President (following Executive endorsement)

Vice-Chancellor and President


(all categories)

Responsible Executive Member

(unless otherwise determined when first approved)

Responsible Executive Member

(unless otherwise determined when first approved) or the Vice-Chancellor and President if endorsed by Executive


As per principal policy

Responsible Executive Member or the Vice-Chancellor and President if endorsed by Executive