The Policy Framework aims to provide guidance for all staff involved in policy development, including approval, publication and review. This will ensure the University has consistent standards for relevant and up to date governance documentation.
The Framework should be applied to all institutional-level policy documents which are developed or reviewed. Ordinances and Student Regulations are not within the remit of this Framework.
1.3 Roles and Responsibilities
Managers of relevant areas are responsible for identifying the need for a particular policy to help the University meet its strategic objectives and/or ensure legal and regulatory compliance. All staff who have responsibility for developing policy documents should be aware of the Framework and ensure that their policies comply with the guidelines. The Department of Policy, Planning and Compliance will brief heads of department and professional services on the requirements of the Framework on an annual basis and publish the Framework on its web page.
2 Policy framework
The Framework consists of the following:
- Policy Development Guide
- Approval Routes
- Review Process
Below are proposed definitions of official documents based on those currently used both within the University and across the sector.
|Strategy||Statement overseen by Council that sets out how the University will manage its resources and meet the aims in the University Strategy.|
|Regulation||Sets out the University rule or standards governing an area. Often, but not exclusively, academic rather than administrative.|
|Policy||Sets out the direction or guiding principles governing an area. Often, but not exclusively, administrative rather than academic.|
|Procedure/Protocol||Description (involving linked action steps) of how to do something, to ensure consistency of practice. Often supports a Regulation or Policy. Developed with the user/customer in mind.|
|Code of Practice||Advisory document which supports a policy/regulation and can include expectations of behaviour and/or good practice.|
|Guidelines/Guidance/Guide||Document giving detailed practical advice on a particular area.|
2.2 Policy development guide
2.2.1 Every policy must have a named post-holder as owner. The owner will be responsible for the policy’s development, dissemination, maintenance and review.
2.2.2 A template (Appendix 1) is available to assist staff with development of a policy. This is not intended to be prescriptive but to assist when drawing up new policies.
Generally, a policy should include:
- University name, logo, document title and version number in the header of each page
- Page number, page x of y, in the footer section of every page
- An introduction to include:
- Purpose of Policy: the aims and objectives
- Scope: to whom the policy applies
- Roles and responsibilities: indicating which job roles and members of staff have responsibility for which parts of the policy
- A main body, sub-sectioned with all sections and paragraphs numbered
2.2.3 All policies should begin or end with document control information clearly to state the following:
|Date of last review:|
2.2.4 Writing style for policies
- Plain English, concise, accuracy checked
- Not to include information that may be quickly outdated (e.g. names)
- If acronymns are used, the full name should be used in the first instance with the acronym in brackets
- In Arial font size 11, to conform to accessible document guidelines
2.3 Approval Routes
Before a strategy or policy can be implemented and published, it must go through an approval process. This generally includes the following four stages:
2.3.1 Considering any equality impact
When developing a new policy or reviewing a current one (only relevant for significant policies) it is important to ensure that it is fair, transparent, legal and consistently applied. It is also important to ensure that the proposed policy does not have an inadvertent negative impact on individuals by virtue of them being part of a protected group under the Equality Act (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation). The policy owner should utilise the equality analysis report template included in Appendix 2. A copy of the equality analysis report should be retained until superseded at the next review point.
2.3.2 Considering any climate impact
When developing a new policy or reviewing a current one, it is important to ensure that it is consistent with the principles underpinning the University’s Climate Action Framework, and consistent with a future zero carbon economy and society. The policy owner must try to avoid introducing practices that may have a negative impact on the climate, and to ensure this should assess the ‘climate impact’ of the policy as far as is practicable. Where it is impossible to avoid negative impacts, for example where there might be an implicit need for international travel, consideration should firstly be given to any feasible alternatives, and secondly, how these impacts might be mitigated.
Consultation with key stakeholders should be carried out before a draft policy is submitted for approval. Stakeholders should also be consulted as part of the review process. The consultation may include any areas of concern identified by 2.3.1 and, if required, consultation with the Trade Unions and/or Students’ Union.
Some policies have to be approved by Council or Senate. Other policies by virtue of their wide impact across the University must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor, advised by the Executive Board. Approval of other policies is delegated to the relevant Committee or senior manager. Authors should refer to the terms of reference of the University’s Committees to help with planning approval routes If in any doubt, advice should be sought from the Head of Governance.
Student Regulations must be approved by Senate, and Finance Regulations by Council. Procedures, guidance and codes of practice should usually be approved by the relevant manager.
Consultation with relevant Deans and Head of Department/Professional Services is important for all policies to ensure awareness of any implications for their areas of responsibility.
The policy owner has responsibility for the effective communication of the policy to the relevant target audience. The owner should develop support and training options, if appropriate.
To improve the accessibility of University policy documents for staff and other interested parties, all policies will be linked from one central location on the website. Policies will continue to be published on relevant department webpages, with a link to these pages from the policies webpage. Policies accessible externally should bear the University logo. The policy owner should notify any change of the policies location to the Head of Governance.
2.5 Review Process
It is important to keep all policies under review to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and legally compliant. Normally a three-year review period is sufficient. In some cases, review may be required earlier if there is a legislative or regulatory requirement or significant change and, in some cases, every five years is sufficient. In the preparation and review of a policy, the reviewer should consider sector practice as well as external requirements.
It is the responsibility of the policy owner to set the review date (which must be a maximum of five years) and complete the review at the appropriate time. A reviewed policy will have a new version number.
|Owner:||Department of Policy, Planning and Compliance|
|Date of last review:||14 July 2020|
Appendix 1 - Policy template
Appendix 2 - Equality Analysis report template