Organisational reviews instruction

Instruction statement

This Instruction applies to RMIT Organisational Reviews, conducted in accordance with the Quality policy and Conduct of reviews procedure.



Instruction steps and actions

1. Review establishment

Reviews will be established by the Vice-Chancellor in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews Procedure. Quality and Reviews will initiate the process and conduct preliminary briefings about the process for the relevant VCE member/s and area head/s. For reviews of RMIT controlled entities, the Vice-Chancellor will consult with the Chair of the Board and the President/Chief Executive Officer about the review scope, timing and process.

1.1. Review Panel Composition

Review panels will comprise three or four members:

  • An external chair with appropriate seniority and expertise relevant to the area being reviewed
  • One or two external experts from equivalent areas in another University or where relevant, from industry or a relevant profession with appropriate seniority and expertise relevant to the area being reviewed
  • for reviews of academic areas a staff member from the professoriate from outside the area being reviewed), for reviews of administrative or service areas, at director level or above).

Panel members should not be involved in the activities of the area being reviewed.

1.2. Terms of reference

Reviews will review activity and make recommendations to address the following terms of reference:

1. To consider whether the area understands its intended contribution to RMIT strategy, whether it contributes effectively and whether it has sound processes for ensuring ongoing strategic alignment and improvement.

2. To consider the area’s performance and achievements over time, the adequacy and effectiveness of governance and management arrangements, and whether it delivers associated outcomes efficiently and effectively.

3. To consider how the area is positioned having regard to relevant benchmarks, comparative data and good practice, continuous improvement processes, and areas of strength or significant risks in relation to quality, or viability.

Additional terms of reference determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

2. Stakeholder survey

To obtain stakeholder feedback, an online survey of 60 - 100 internal and / or external stakeholders will be conducted, seeking feedback on the area's perceived contribution to RMIT's strategic directions, what it does well, and what it could build on or do differently. The VCE member and head of the area being reviewed may add a small number of additional questions, and are responsible for identifying key stakeholders to be surveyed. Stakeholders to be surveyed include: all VCE members; relevant senior staff from cognate areas and support areas, relevant external stakeholders (eg key industry partners, employers, graduates) and senior staff from the area being reviewed.

Quality and Reviews will administer the survey. The survey will be open for two to three weeks, with the aim of achieving a response rate of at least 30%. Quality and Reviews will summarise the de-identified survey results for the VCE member and the area head, and include the summary in the review documentation.

3. Review documentation

Review panels will be provided with a suite of documentation to assist them to respond to the terms of reference and strategic overview and prepare a review report. The Review documentation will normally comprise:

  • the Review Guidelines and VCE member strategic overview
  • the results of an online survey of stakeholders
  • a self-assessment by the area being reviewed
  • a suite of performance data (advice on data will be provided by Quality and Reviews).

Each area should undertake regular benchmarking of its activities. In consultation with the relevant VCE member, the area being reviewed should select three or four aspects of its activity of strategic significance and report in the self-assessment on the outcomes of their ongoing benchmarking (nationally and internationally). Using information about benchmark partners on their inputs, throughputs, outputs and processes, the area should evaluate their performance highlighting areas of strength or areas requiring improvement, and identify improvement strategies consistent with their strategic directions and planning processes.

Quality and Reviews will provide advice about the information and data required to meet the Review process.

Approximately four weeks before the review visit, Quality and Reviews will provide the review documentation to panel members, including the self-assessment and any supporting data and documents. Copies will be provided to the Head of the area being reviewed and relevant VCE member/s.

4. Self-assessment

The area being reviewed prepares a short self-assessment document (no more than 10 pages) using the self-assessment template. The purposes of the self-assessment document are to:

  • address the terms of reference and the VCE member overview
  • provide context for the area, its objectives and performance against objectives
  • identify internal and external issues facing the area and propose solutions
  • provide verifiable, transparent, national and international benchmarking.

A draft copy of the self-assessment should be provided to Quality and Reviews and the relevant VCE member in soft copy (in Word format) eight weeks before the review panel visit.

A final version must be submitted electronically no later than six weeks before the review panel visit.

5. Review panel meeting and report preparation

5.1. Briefing for the panel chair

Before the review visit, the relevant VCE member and the Panel chair meet (in person or via teleconference) to discuss key issues for the review, confirm the final interview program, and decide whether the review panel will need any additional documentation. If requested, the Assistant Director, Quality and Reviews will provide a briefing on the review process.

5.2. Panel dinner and preparatory discussion

Normally a panel dinner will be held on the evening before the Review meeting to enable the panel to meet and hold a preliminary discussion about the process and key issues.

5.3. Panel Meeting

The review panel meeting will be held at RMIT for up to two days to enable the Panel to interview stakeholders relevant to the area, consider issues relevant to the Review and identify its findings and recommendations. A program of interviews will be provided, normally including:

  • Academic areas: staff, students, industry and professional representatives, teaching and research partners
  • Service units, college and portfolio offices, controlled entities: staff, heads of school, executive directors, VCE members, entity Presidents/Chief Executive Officers, entity staff as nominated by the President/Chief Executive Officer.

The review panel will summarise its findings and recommendations addressing the terms of reference and issues in the VCE member's overview.

At the end of the Review visit the Panel Chair should provide an oral briefing of key findings and recommendations to the relevant VCE member and head of the area that was reviewed. In the case of a review of an RMIT controlled entity, the President/Chief Executive Officer will be included in the oral briefing.

Where a potential legislative or regulatory compliance issue is identified during the proceedings of a review, the secretary of the Review Panel may seek further information and advice to clarify the matter and will refer the matter to the Director, Global Quality, Regulation and Compliance Group for further consideration and action, in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews procedure, irrespective of whether the Review Panel investigates or makes a recommendation on the matter.

6. Review report

In consultation with the Panel Chair, Quality and Reviews will prepare a draft report (around 10 pages). Where the Panel identifies matters that are broader than the review scope or are highly confidential these should be detailed in an Appendix. The Vice-President, Strategy and Governance will refer these to the relevant VCE member(s) for consideration and action as appropriate. The draft report will be:

  • provided to the Chair and amended as required in response to the Chair’s feedback
  • sent to panel members for feedback, with amendments to be confirmed by the Chair
  • referred as a final draft to the VCE member and the head of the area to identify any errors of fact or interpretation, with amendments to be confirmed by the Chair.

The final report will be provided to the relevant VCE member, head of the area and the University Secretary and Vice-President.

Where a regulatory or compliance issue has been identified as part of a review, the Assistant Director, Quality and Regulation or the Assistant Director, Compliance, GQRCG will liaise with the relevant area/s to identify actions to address the matter, and will monitor the implementation of rectification actions.

The head of the area that was reviewed will prepare an Action Plan for endorsement by the relevant VCE member and approval by VCE. The Review Report and Action Plan will be submitted to VCE in accordance with the Conduct of Reviews procedure. Where a recommendation arising from a Review relates to the responsibilities of the Academic Board, the matter will be referred to the Academic Board for consideration after the Review Report has been received by VCE.

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