Policy Framework (MPF1308)

  • Category: Governance and Management
  • Review due by: November 9, 2020
  • Version: 4
  • Policy Steward: University Secretary
  • Approved on: October 10, 2019
  • Supporting Processes: Policy Lifecycle Process
  • Effective date: October 14, 2019
  • Policy Approver: Council
  • Status: Published


The objectives of the Policy Framework (the ‘Framework’) are to:

(a)    govern the development, establishment, amendment and review of policies to ensure relevance, authority and consistency with internal and external legislation; and

(b)   define the roles, responsibilities and authorities in relation to the development, establishment, amendment and review of policies.


This Framework applies to all policy developed for and on behalf of the University.


This Framework is made under the University of Melbourne Act 2009 (the Act).


4.1   Policy must:

(a) be created only where there is a clear and justifiable need, with long-term application to the University;

(b) align with University objects in the Act, strategic and business plans;

(c)  be consistent with legal requirements and community expectations;

(d) apply and be binding across the University;

(e) be developed, established, amended and reviewed in consultation with key stakeholders;

(f)  assign roles and responsibilities to ensure transparency;

(g) encourage responsible process ownership;

(h) be written in plain language to aid comprehension; and

(i) be able to be implemented within University resources.

4.2    Policies exist within a broader regulatory framework:

(a) the Act;

(b) University statutes;

(c) University regulations;

(d) policies; and

(e) processes.

4.3    Local operating rules must not be inconsistent with a document contained within the regulatory framework stipulated in section 4.2 above.


5.1   New policy or major amendments to policy must be initiated by a policy proposal. Approvers of policy proposals must:

(a) endorse the proposal prior to the final drafting of the policy;

(b) assess the proposal against the principles of this Framework; and

(c) ensure the relevant process owner/s are notified of the endorsed proposal.

5.2    A policy must:

(a) record the policy approver and policy steward;

(b) comply with the relevant University policy template which must mandate sections for:

(i)     policy objectives;

(ii)    scope of the application of the policy;

(iii)   titles of University legislation which provides its authority and any Commonwealth or Victorian legislation with which it supports compliance;

(iv)   policy;

(v)    procedural principles (where applicable); and

(vi)   summarising roles and responsibilities in the policy to ensure transparency

(c)  consolidate content into fewer rather than more instruments based around a broad area of University operations; and

(d) restrict content to policy and procedural principles that form the parameters within which day-to-day operational decisions and actions are made.

5.3   Prior to a new policy or major amendment to a policy proceeding to approval:

(a) the approval pathway must be set by the policy approver;

(b) key stakeholders must be consulted; and

(c)  legal advice regarding compliance must be obtained if the policy relates to:

(i)     implementation of a legal requirement; or

(ii)    a right or obligation established under the Act, University statutes or University regulations.

5.4   Policy approvers are determined in accordance with University legislation. Policy approvers approve policy content as meeting the objectives of the policy as follows:

(a) within scope of their authority Council, the Academic Board, the Vice-Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor’s delegate may:

(i)     approve new policy or major amendments to policy; and

(ii)    rescind policy.

(b) the Chancellor or President of Academic Board may approve minor amendments to policy which falls within the scope of Council or Academic Board authority respectively, provided notification is given at the next meeting of the relevant policy approver;

(c)  the Chancellor, President of Academic Board, the Vice-Chancellor or the Vice-Chancellor’s delegate may authorise an appropriate senior officer to approve editorial amendments.

5.5   New policy, major amendments to policy and rescissions of policy must be promulgated to areas of the University community affected by the policy.

5.6   At least every five years, or earlier as required, a review must be undertaken of each policy against the principles set in this Framework.

5.7   The Vice-Chancellor must appoint an officer to oversee and report to Council annually on policy framework operations and policy reviews. Outcomes of reviews under section 5.6 above must be reported annually to the officer appointed under this section 5.7.

5.8   Authorised versions of current policies are only those published in the central policy repository on the University of Melbourne website.




Conditions and limitations

Approves policy proposal for new policy or major amendment to policy

President of Academic Board


Vice-Chancellor (or delegate)

Within scope of policy approval.


Sets approval pathway

President of Academic Board


Vice-Chancellor (or delegate)

May consult with policy steward or University Secretary on the appropriate pathway.

Policy steward


Varies with policy –see definition of policy steward

As per definitions of ‘policy steward’

Policy approver (new, major amendments and/or rescission)





Vice-Chancellor (or delegate)





Academic Board

Scope of authority is limited to University Governance duties, powers and functions in accordance with University legislation.


Scope of authority is limited to leadership, management and administration duties, powers and functions in accordance with University legislation.  The scope of delegated authority is recorded in the Vice-Chancellor’s Delegations Manual.


Scope of authority is limited to Academic Governance duties, powers and functions in accordance with University legislation.

Policy approver (minor amendments only)

President of Academic Board


Vice-Chancellor (or delegate)

Must notify the Board at the next meeting of the Board

Must notify Council at the next meeting of Council

Policy approver (editorial amendments only)

Appropriate Senior Officer authorised by either:

President of Academic Board,

Chancellor or

Vice-Chancellor (or delegate) 

As per definition of ‘editorial amendment’

Policy support services administer and maintain central policy repository and provide advice on policy compliance with Australian laws

General Counsel & Executive Director, Legal and Risk 












































approval pathway means the pathway through which a policy must proceed in order to be approved.

Board means Academic Board.

editorial amendment means change to nomenclature, correction of errors and hyperlinks or minor changes required to support compliance with law, statute or regulation.

key stakeholders means persons, or a class of persons, whose roles or responsibilities are directly affected by a policy and includes policy approvers and relevant process owners.

local operating rule means mandatory processes or guidelines applicable at the level of an organisation unit (that is, at the level of a school, division or other organisation unit), approved by the head of the local organisational unit. 

major amendment includes a change likely to impact on:

(a)    objectives of the policy; and/or

(b)   any requirement for implementation related to a decision or action of a key stakeholder.

minor amendment includes a change not likely to impact on:

(a)    objectives of the policy; and/or

(b)   any requirement for implementation related to a decision or action of a key stakeholder.

policy is:

(a)    a formal statement of principle that regulates University operations; and

(b)   an instrument approved under this framework.

policy approver is the relevant approval authority responsible for approving a new policy, a major or minor amendment to an existing policy or the rescission of an existing policy as specified in section 5.4.

procedural principle informs the steps to be taken to implement a policy.

policy steward is a senior officer assigned by the policy approver and recorded on each policy instrument.  Each policy is assigned one policy steward. Stewards are responsible for:

(a)   providing advice on approved policies under their stewardship;

(b)   drafting or overseeing the drafting of policy;

(c)   reviewing policy in accordance with this Framework;

(d)   consulting key stakeholders and obtaining advice from legal services as required; and

(e)   ensuring new policy and major amendments to policy or rescissions of existing policy are promulgated.

process means the group of activities and tasks undertaken by staff to achieve a consistent output. 

senior officer in this Framework means a staff member who is Level 2 or Level 3 in the delegations framework.

University legislation includes the University of Melbourne Act 2009, University statutes and University regulations. 




University Secretary


This Framework is to be reviewed by 9 November 2020.



Approved By

Approval Date

Effective Date

Sections Modified



9 November 2015

9 Nov 2015

New Policy Framework.

2 University Secretary 18 November 2015 18 Nov 2015 Editorial amendment to re-order section 5.2(b).
3 Governance and Nominations Committee authorised by Council 23 June 2016 24 June 2016 Add provision for local operating rules, add definition of local operating rules update 'supporting processes' and link to Policy Lifecycle Process.
4 Council 10 October 2019 14 October 2019 Inserted Section 4.1(h)
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