Policy development

Policy development may be initiated:

  • by senior management
  • through the university’s committee structure and processes
  • as part of the university’s policy review cycle
  • as a result of external legislative and associated accountability requirements

At RMIT, policies and procedures are developed or revised as needed, or as part of the policy review cycle. Policy gaps may arise, or amendments to policies may be required, due to changes in internal or external factors, such as new legislation or a change in current practices. Please contact the University Secretariat for advice on developing new or amending current policies and procedures.

Establishing the need for a policy or procedure

If a policy or procedural gap is identified, the first step is to consider whether a new policy or procedure is actually needed, or whether the issue is better handled by adjustments to existing policies or lower-level texts. To help determine what is required, consultation with the University Secretariat is strongly recommended. If need arises, the Vice-Chancellor may approve an interim policy.

If there is a need for new policy or procedure, approval for its development must be obtained from a member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive (VCE).

The following should be included in any application to develop new policy or procedures:

  • an outline of the proposed policy or procedure
  • the need and justification for the policy or procedure
  • the impact of the policy or procedure, including who it applies to and financial costs of implementation
  • who will be responsible for managing the policy or procedure
  • an estimated time frame for developing the policy or procedure
  • whether it supersedes an older policy or procedure
  • whether it complements an existing policy or procedure, and if modifications to these documents will be required

Drafting - Disability action plan

RMIT University values and respects its diverse student population and is committed to providing learning opportunities that cater to all of our students. One of the University’s priorities is to meet the needs and aspirations of all students, including students who have a disability or long term medical condition. This is reflected in the RMIT Disability Action Plan 2013 - 2015 (DOC 194kb 10p).

One of the outcomes of the plan is to promote an informed RMIT academic and teaching community which embraces and demonstrates inclusive learning and teaching practices. A means of achieving this outcome is to ensure that staff involved in developing policy relating to students take an approach that considers people with a disability or long term medical condition.

Consultation

Policy and procedures are developed by the appropriate organisational unit in consultation with relevant stakeholders, committees and the University Secretariat. They are normally developed to the level of a draft proposal by a working group of experts, with one person responsible for managing the process.

The time frame for a policy’s development must allow for adequate consultation with stakeholders and committee approval paths and sitting dates.

The consultation process for the development or review of policies or procedures allows stakeholders the opportunity to be involved at a sufficiently early stage.

It is important to determine from the outset who may be affected by the policy or procedure and what areas of the university (including committees) would consider or be affected by the issues covered. This ensures that draft proposals capture all relevant issues, and are practical and realistic in their objectives.

Developers should seek guidance from senior management when identifying key stakeholders.

Consultation can be undertaken in a variety of ways, including:

  • internal workshops across units or groups within the university
  • meetings with external stakeholders
  • sessions testing the implementation plan with key staff responsible for implementation
  • sessions testing the proposed procedure with staff unfamiliar with the described processes
  • Additionally, the draft proposal must be made available for staff and student comment (as appropriate) and should be posted on the draft policies web page for a period of two to six weeks. Once the proposal is posted for comment, all staff are notified via RMIT Update and other appropriate forums.

Implementation

For new policies and procedures, or those that have undergone substantive changes, an implementation plan is to be developed and submitted to the relevant authority for approval together with the draft policy or procedure. The implementation plan describes the actions and resources required by the operational areas responsible to implement the policy and procedures.

Implementation plans are not policies in their own right. They state the process for implementation or action arising from a new or changed policy, and identify the officer and organisational unit responsible for implementation. An implantation plan should therefore allocate responsibility for certain actions and specify a date by which the action should be completed.

The implementation plan includes:

  • the identification of implementation issues and what actions will address the issues
  • who has responsibility for implementation
  • a timeline for implementation
  • a communication plan, including targeted strategies for communicating with stakeholder groups that must know of the policy or its approved changes, and the rest of the university community
  • the staff development required
  • system constraints or required changes
  • the additional costs/resources required to implement the policies or procedures
  • the consequential changes required to associated policies or procedures, to ensure consistency across the university’s policies

The implementation of a policy or procedure can take many forms, ranging from communicating the existence of the policy to staff taking action and changing an existing procedure or activity to ensure consistency of application.

For example: the report recommends that staff training on a particular issue is needed

  • the policy states that the university supports the principle that staff should have certain skills, and
  • the implementation plan identifies how and by whom training will be delivered

The policy and procedure implementation plan template is included in the policy templates and reference tools section of the toolkit.

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