New Policy Library

Policy Framework (MPF1308)

  • Category: Governance and Management
  • Version: 7
  • Document Type: Policy
  • Document Status: Published
  • Approved On: 07 March, 2024
  • Audience: Staff, Students, Research, Academic, Affiliate
  • Effective Date: 07 March, 2024
  • Review Date: 06 May, 2023
  • Policy Approver: Council
  • Policy Steward: University Secretary
  • Supporting Process:

    Policy Lifecycle Process

1. Objectives

1.1. 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.

2. Scope

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

3. Authority

3.1. This Framework is made under the University of Melbourne Act 2009 (Vic) and the Council, Academic Board and Vice-Chancellor Regulations.

4. Policy

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 and regulatory requirements, other policies, 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) align with the University’s published commitments with regard to diversity and the inclusion of all people;

h) be in accordance with the current University’s policy style guide;

i) be written in plain language to aid comprehension;

j) where appropriate, link to one or more relevant business processes (processes may be available to staff only);

k) encourage responsible process ownership; and

l) be able to be implemented within University resources.

4.2. Policies exist within a broader hierarchical regulatory framework. In all cases, documents must be consistent with any requirements or restrictions imposed by higher-order instruments. The regulatory framework consists of:

a) the Act;

b) University statutes;

c) University regulations;

d) policies; and

e) processes.

4.3. Only policies in the central policy repository on the University of Melbourne website are authorised policies of the University. No local policies may be made or enforced by any part of the University.

4.4. Processes supporting the operationalising of a policy must be created in accordance with the University’s Process Framework. Processes must be:

a) fully aligned with and consistent with the authorising policy; and

b) approved for development by the policy approver.

4.5. Local operating practices/guidelines must not be inconsistent with any document contained within the regulatory framework described in section 4.2.

5. Procedural principles

5.1. New 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 University policy template which mandates sections for:

i. policy objectives;

ii. scope of the application of the policy;

iii. titles of University legislation which provides its authority and any Australian or Victorian legislation with which it supports compliance;

iv. policy;

v. procedural principles; and

vi. a summary of roles and responsibilities in the policy.

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

d) restrict content to policy and any procedural principles that direct how those principles are to be enacted.

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 including diverse groups, as appropriate, 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 designated policy steward may approve minor amendments to policy, provided notification is given to the relevant policy approver.

5.5. Typographical amendments may be made to policy by the relevant officer with responsibility for managing the University’s policy repository, provided notification is given to the relevant policy steward within five working days of publishing the amendment.

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


5.7. A review must be undertaken by the policy steward of each policy against the principles set in this Framework:

a) every three years; or

b) more frequently if required by a precipitating event (e.g. new legislative requirements).

5.8. A formal scheduled three-yearly review may be deferred by the policy steward if an initial check indicates that the policy is not in need of change and this advice is provided to the relevant officer with responsibility for managing the University’s policy repository for the record. Each policy may only be deferred once (i.e. every policy must undergo a full review no less frequently than every six years).

5.9. During a policy review, all processes associated with the policy must also be reviewed by the relevant process owner to ensure that consistency is retained and any amendments cascaded to the process level.

5.10. The relevant officer with responsibility for managing the University’s policy repository must provide an annual report on policy reviews conducted under section 5.7 to the University Secretary who may report any non-compliance to Council.

6. Roles and Responsibilities






Conditions and limitations


Approves policy proposal and sets approval pathway for new policy


President of Academic Board


Vice-Chancellor (or delegate)


Within scope of policy approval

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


Provides advice on approved policies

Drafts or oversees the drafting of policy

Consults with key stakeholders and obtains advice from legal services as required

Ensures new policy and major amendments to policy or rescissions of existing policy are promulgated

Policy steward

As per definition of ‘policy steward’ (section 7)


Policy approval (new policy, major amendments to and/or rescission of policy)




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 approval (minor amendments only)


Policy steward


Must notify the policy approver of the amendments

Conduct policy reviews

Policy steward

Every three to six years in accordance with sections 5.7 and 5.8


Enact typographical amendments


Officer responsible for managing the policy repository


As per definition of ‘typographical amendment’ (section 7)


Administer and maintain central policy repository

Provide advice on policy compliance with Australian laws

Timetable policy reviews


General Counsel & Executive Director, Legal and Risk

General Counsel & Executive Director, Legal and RiskDirector, Information Governance Services (or delegate)


Enacted by the policy support team



7. Definitions

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

Board means Academic Board.

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

Major amendment includes a change that will impact on:

(a) objectives of the policy;

(b) the rights or obligations of any person; and/or

(c) the implementation requirements, including resourcing of those requirements, of the policy.

Minor amendment includes a change that will not alter the rights or obligations of any person and is not likely to impact on:

(a) objectives of the policy; and/or

(b) the implementation requirements, including resourcing of those requirements, of the policy.

Policy means:

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

(b) an instrument approved under this framework.

Policy approver means the relevant approval authority responsible for approving a new policy, a major 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;

(e) approving minor amendments to policy; and

(f) 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. Process development is governed by the University’s Process Framework.

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

Typographical amendment means change to nomenclature, correction of typographical, referencing and formatting errors, removing or repairing broken hyperlinks, and cosmetic changes required to support compliance with law, statute or regulation (eg updating the name or year of an Act, or the relevant clause number).

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




University Secretary


This Framework is due to be reviewed by 12 May 2023.


Version Approved By Approval Date Effective Date Sections Modified
1 Council 9 November 2015 9 November 2015

New Policy Framework.

2 University Secretary 18 November 2015 18 November 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)

5 Council 6 May 2020 12 May 2020

Amendments introduced to include the requirement that diversity and inclusion be an active consideration in the development and review of all policies.

Major structural and governance amendments introduced throughout the Policy Framework to improve the way policies are initiated, amended, reviewed and approved.

6 Policy Officer 29 November 2022 29 November 2022

Formatting amendments made.

7 Policy Officer 7 March 2024 7 March 2024

Missing hyperlink added in Definitions section.