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Governance and Compliance Division


What is a Policy?

A policy is a statement of the University's position on a particular matter and/or a set of principles guiding the actions of students and/or staff of the University. It might also include information as to what to do in a particular set of circumstances. Compliance with parameters set out in policy is normally mandatory and forms a contractual obligation. For a policy to be valid, it must be approved by the appropriate bodies within the University's governance structure before it is implemented.

The terms 'policy', 'procedure' and 'guidance' are sometimes used interchangeably in a day-to-day context. The following definitions help to distinguish how a particular document is best described.

  • Policies set parameters for decision-making and provide the "why" behind an action. Compliance with policy is mandatory unless otherwise indicated.
  • Procedures set out a series of actions that should be conducted in a certain manner and therefore explain the "how". Compliance with procedure is mandatory unless otherwise indicated.
  • Guidelines set parameters for decision-making and provide the "why" behind an action. Compliance with guidelines is strongly encouraged, but there is greater flexibility in comparison to parameters set out in policies.
  • Guidance is provided as a tool to assist with the interpretation and application of policy and procedure, or provides general information and advice on a particular subject. Compliance with guidance is not mandatory.

Approval of University-wide policies

The approval process for University-wide policies is set out in the following protocol:

This applies to new policies as well as to changes to existing policies. It distinguishes between the routes and approvals for policies at operational level and through the University's formal governance process. A detailed step-by-step guide is set out in Annex A to the protocol.

Queries on the approvals process should be directed to

Word versions of the template documents provide as Annexes to the protocol are provided below: