- 1 Purpose
- 2 Scope
- 3 Policy Statement
- 4 Principles
- 5 Procedures
- 6 References
- 7 Schedules
- 8 Policy Information
To provide information and guidance on Organisational Section Reviews.
All University employees.
3 Policy Statement
Reviews of all organisational sections at the University will be conducted on a regular and systematic basis as part of the University's commitment to maintaining and enhancing the quality of all its activities.
- The basic methodology for reviews will involve self-review followed by evaluation. The review process will emphasise self-evaluation by the organisational sections themselves and will be conducted with full participation of the staff and other stakeholders of the organisational sections under review. The review process should be a time of critical self-reflection. During the process of preparing the review, all staff and, where appropriate and practical, other stakeholders and clients, should have input to the review documentation. A panel will evaluate the documents, reflections and conclusions of the self-review.
- The review process will be conducted in the spirit of modern quality management approaches:
- involving a no blame environment
- reviewing the section as a whole rather than individuals
- being supportive of staff
- performed in the interest of continuous improvement
- identifying solutions, and
- geared towards a celebration of achievements.
The review process must also be information-driven, basing its decisions and conclusions on sound data and well-developed information.
- The review process must be forward-looking and strategic, using an analysis of past performance as a basis for refining the setting of objectives, reviewing strategies and ensuring continuous improvement.
- The review process must not impose an undue burden on members of staff and not impede the normal operations of the organisational section concerned. In particular, the review should draw on existing documentation and available data as much as possible.
- The review process will not generally take more than 24 weeks from the date of the initiating meeting between the Section Head and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality); recommendations for review panel members must be received by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) within four (4) weeks of the initiating meeting.
- The Planning & Quality Office will seek input and feedback [from other sections of the University] in regard to the operation of the section under review as part of the material for provision to the review panel.
5.1 Timing of Reviews
- All organisational sections should be reviewed every five years. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will recommend a schedule for the reviews for approval by the Vice-Chancellor, normally on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE). Amendments to this schedule will also be approved by the Vice-Chancellor, normally on the recommendation of the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE).
- The Vice-Chancellor may at any time initiate a review outside of the normal schedule.
5.2 Composition and Appointment of Review Panels
- A review panel shall normally consist of three members - two external to the University and one internal member from an area outside the organisational section being reviewed. On advice from the Head of the relevant Division consideration may be given to expanding the membership where this is deemed necessary to ensure a suitable range of skills and experience on the panel. The Vice-Chancellor will approve the membership of the panel.
- Each panel will normally include:
- a Chair external to the University,
- one or more persons with expertise in the disciplines of the faculty or other academic organisational section, or the major activities of the non-academic organisational section under review,
- a senior member of staff of the University from a different faculty or Division from the organisational section under review, and
- a range of skills and experience that will position the panel to address any specialist or distinctive aspects of the organisational section under review. Administrative support will be provided by the Quality and Review Officer.
- At least one member of the panel must be female and at least one male, unless no suitably qualified person of that gender is available.
- All members of the panel must be independent of the organisational section under review.
- Nominations for review panel membership will be invited in confidence from the staff and stakeholders of the organisational section to be reviewed. Nominations will be made to, and reviewed by, the organisational section's senior management group. This group will prepare a short-list of candidates, including a list of all nominees and an explanation for arriving at the recommended panel, for consideration by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in relation to the composition of the panel. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality will prepare a recommendation for the Vice- Chancellor.
- The University shall pay the Chair an honorarium of $1,500 and other external members of the panel $500 each. The University shall also meet all travel, accommodation and relevant incidental expenses incurred by external panel members. Other costs of the review shall be met by the organisational section under review.
5.3 Terms of Reference of Reviews of Organisational Elements
- The review shall consider the past and present performance of the organisational section concerned in relation to their own stated mission, roles and objectives.
- The review shall be conducted in the context of the strategic plan of the University, identifying where the organisational section fits within the University overall, how the section's activities support the institution's mission and goals, and how effectively the section operates as an institutional resource.
- Considerations will include national and international trends, recognised best practice and relevant benchmarking or competitive comparisons with similar elements in like institutions, and beyond the sector where appropriate.
- The review will consider the internal operations of the organisational section concerned and how these interface with other areas of the University.
- For Faculties and other academic organisational sections, the review will include a consideration of academic practice including:
- the suitability of the curricula being taught to the awards being offered by the University
- the balance of the academic profile
- the continuing suitability of program goals
- learning objectives and assessment practices
- the lines of responsibility for the conduct, management and academic oversight of programs
- the level of academic support provided, and
- the progress and success of any developments in the programs since the last review.
- For administrative and academic support organisational sections, the review will include a consideration of the effectiveness of the section in delivering its supporting functions, the client responsiveness of the section, the appropriateness of the staffing structure of the section and identified best practice in other organisations both in the sector and without.
- The review process shall consider whether there are adequate quality assurance mechanisms in place, including an assessment of the effectiveness of review processes undertaken, and in particular, that the outcomes of previous reviews are addressed.
- The review shall consider whether the University is delivering sufficient resources to ensure that the organisational section concerned is positioned to carry out its objectives, and the expectations that the University places upon it.
- The review shall consider the degree of knowledge and level of compliance with institutional policies relevant to the operations and responsibilities of the section.
- The review will consider confidential submissions and reports submitted to the review through an open consultations process conducted specifically for this purpose coordinated by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality).
- The Vice-Chancellor, after consultation with the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE), may approve additional or amended terms of reference for any review at the time of the appointment of the review panel; or raise specific questions, agreed to by the relevant Head of Division, which the review panel would be asked to address.
5.4 Review Documentation for organisational elements
- Each review will be supported by a number of documents:
- a Role and Resources Report
- a Self-Assessment Report
- progress Against the Action Plan from the Last Review
- a Plan for the Future
- a Schedule of Activities for the Review
- the most recent previous review report for the organisational section under review
- an Information Package containing a copy of the University Strategic Plan, Operational Resource Management Plan, Organisational Charts, University Handbook, and other relevant information on the structure, function and position of the University as a whole. The development of documents (a) to (d) is the responsibility of the administrative head of the organisational section under review. The development of documents (e) to (g) is the responsibility of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in consultation with the relevant Head of Division.
- All documents should be kept concise and to the point. Use should be made of existing documentation, information and data as much as possible.
- The aim in preparing these documents should be to provide an accurate, frank and honest appraisal of the organisational section's operations and circumstances. The focus should be on the organizational section's role, the opportunities and constraints in fulfilling this role, a critical self-appraisal of performance to date, and a clear statement of plans to enhance this performance in the future.
- All staff in the organisational section under review should be consulted and given the opportunity to provide input into documentation which will essentially represent a collective submission.
- At least six weeks prior to the panel's arrival, the review documentation will be submitted for review by the Planning, Quality and Review Committee. The head of the organisational section together with nominated members of the section will be invited to participate in this discussion. Consideration will be given as to whether there are any strategic issues, problem areas or parameters which should be drawn to the attention of the review panel, and if any additional material should be provided in the documentation. The implementation of agreed actions from this meeting will be the responsibility of the relevant administrative head.
- At least two weeks prior to the date of the panel's arrival, copies of the review documentation and the proposed Schedule of Activities shall be forwarded to each member of the panel. The documentation shall be accompanied by an invitation to the panel members to request additional information or to modify the proposed Schedule of Activities, for example, including meetings with persons not currently scheduled to meet with the panel.
The invitation should inform the panel that it may, at its discretion, handle some aspects of the review on a sub-committee basis.
- Role and Resources Report
The Role and Resources Report shall have the following format:
a) Description of Operational Context
This should have three components:
b) Role Statement
A statement of the roles (in the Division, in the University, nationally and internationally where appropriate), responsibilities, aims and objectives of the organisational section under review. The statement should include clear statements of the Vision, Mission, Values and Objectives of the organisational section under review and also how the organisational section supports the Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals of the University.
A description should be provided of what particular elements of the University Strategic Plan that it sees itself as serving. Comments on the standing of the organisational section should also be made.
c) Resources Statement
This shall briefly summarise the resources situation of the organisational section under review; making reference to staffing, equipment and accommodation.
d) Description of Major Activities
All major activities should be described. This should include:
For academic organisational sections this should include a consideration of scholarship, learning & teaching, research & research training and community engagement activities, plus service to the professions. Concise descriptions should be provided of program offerings together with summary statistics of enrolment trends by mode and location, a brief account of the nature and appropriateness of the curriculum, and information on relevant partnership arrangements.
An indicative list of specific factual information to be provided for organisational sections follows.
e) List of Relevant Policies
A list shall be provided of the institutional policies of relevance to the operations and responsibilities of the section under review; to be used as a basis for assessing the level of knowledge and compliance.
- Self-Assessment Report
The Self-Assessment Report shall have the following format:
a) Performance Data
Data should be provided to support a critical self-appraisal of performance against stated roles and objectives with respect to all of its activities. A list of suggested performance indicators from SMIS and/or University Targets generally will be made available. Data should be presented in ways that support the identification of trends - for example, using time-series data - and an emphasis should be given to any available benchmarking data or competitive comparisons to demonstrate the competitiveness and performance of the organisational section locally, nationally or internationally, as appropriate.
Advice will be obtained from the Statistics Office of a list of appropriate performance indicators for each specific review.
For academic organisational sections, the following is an indicative list of the data/ information that will be sought.
b) Analysis of Performance Against Roles and Objectives
This shall provide a critical and objective self-appraisal of performance against stated roles and objectives with respect to all of its activities - including reflection Considerations should include: planning and quality issues, curriculum issues, teaching quality, revenue performance, staffing profile, (qualifications/experience, organisation, and workloads), departmental resources, links with University community (national/international, professional bodies, general community), research activity, and level of knowledge and compliance with relevant policies.
For non-academic organisational sections, the following is an indicative list of the data/ information that will be sought.
- Progress Report Against Action Plan from Last Review
- Plan for the Future
This should provide an outline of the strategic plan for the organisational section under review for the next three to five years, consistent with the University Strategic Plan. (The panel should also have access to the organisational section's full strategic plan.) Where the process of self-review has identified the need for change or suggested improvements, an Action Plan should be provided identifying strategies for improvement, an implementation timetable, responsibilities and resources and clearly specifying desired outcomes.
- Schedule of Review Activities
The development of the Schedule of Review Activities will be the responsibility of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in consultation with the relevant Head of Division. Activities should include, but not be limited to, the following.
- At the panel's first session, a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) and the relevant Head of Division to explain the context of the review and any strategic issues, problem areas or parameters which warrant special attention.
- Meetings with staff and students.
- Input from internal and external stakeholders.
- At the panel's final session, a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Quality) and the relevant Head of Division to discuss the draft recommendations and the thrust of the report.
For the benefit of the members of the review panel the Schedule of Activities should identify clearly the role of each person.
- Previous Reviews
Review panels will be provided with the latest review report of the organisational section concerned as well as any subsequent commentaries formally made to that report, the organisational section's action plan developed in response to the last review and a progress report against this action plan. Review panels will also have access upon demand to any earlier reviews of the organisational section concerned.
Internal and external stakeholders and clients of the organisational section concerned, including staff and students, will be given an opportunity to make written submissions to the review; and wherever possible and practical representatives from these groups will be invited to meet the panel. (Strategies to be developed to advise stakeholders and clients of the upcoming review and to invite submissions)
5.5 The Review Process
- The responsibilities for the development of the review documentation are outlined in 4.1.1. Assistance will be provided by the Quality Review Officer and staff from the Statistics Office and Learning & Teaching Support Unit (LTSU) as appropriate.
- The members of the review panel will be expected to be available for three days for extensive interviews, discussions and deliberation.
- The Chair of the review panel will be responsible for coordinating the preparation of a report on the conduct of the review, its finding and its conclusions.
- The Chair will be asked to stay an additional day in order to complete the report. This shall include the panel's overall assessment of the organisational section under review, a list of recommendations and the thrust of its argumentation. The draft report shall be focussed around the recommendations, which shall be numbered consecutively. These recommendations should encompass all the actions that the review panel believes should be considered. The draft report will also consider the merits of any recommendations or action plans provided as part of the original review documentation.
- The report shall include an executive summary that includes a list of the numbered recommendations. The report should be written on the basis that it will become a public document; though in rare cases the review panel may attach a confidential appendix or mention additional matters in their final meeting with the Vice-Chancellor.
- Draft reports shall be submitted to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in electronic form. Within two weeks of the receipt of the draft report, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality), relevant Head of Division and senior staff from the organisational section under review shall meet to review and discuss the draft report. The draft report will be marked as 'CONFIDENTIAL' at this stage. Any errors in fact, areas requiring clarification, reconsideration or gaps which are agreed to at this meeting will be noted by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) who will subsequently advise the Chair of the review. After consideration with the other panel members, the Chair will submit the final report within one (1) week of the conclusion of the review meetings.
5.6 Review Outcomes
- The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will coordinate a process which seeks comments from the review panel's final report from all staff and other major stakeholders of the organisational section concerned. A report of this consultations process will be developed.
- The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will place the discussion of the review report and its associated consultations report on the agenda of the Planning, Quality and Review Committee where the discussion will be minuted. Consideration may also be given to the Vice-Chancellor's Executive (VCE) reviewing specific review reports.
- Within four (4) weeks of the final report being received, the administrative head of the organisational section concerned, in consultation with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) and the relevant Head of Division and taking account of the input provided, will determine what action is to be taken on each recommendation of the panel and submit to the Planning, Quality and Review Committee an action plan for implementing the outcomes of the review.
- After approval by the Vice-Chancellor, following advice from the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) as Chair of the Planning, Quality and Review Committee, this action plan will be made available on the US Index and incorporated into the organisational section's strategic plan as soon as practicable. Within 4 weeks of this occurring, the Section Head will resolve with the Manager, Planning and Quality, the publication of the Action Plan, in a suitable format, on the University web site.
- As part of the preparation for the next review cycle, the administrative head of the organisational section concerned will coordinate the development of a progress report against the action plan.
This policy must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.
8 Policy Information
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Enterprise Services)
Related forms, publications and websites
Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary
Definitions that relate to this policy only
Organisational Section Reviews