Policy and Delegations

Policy and delegations

The Policy and Delegations Unit is responsible for assisting and providing advice to members of the University on all aspects of University’s Governing Documents (the Charles Darwin University Act, by-laws, rules, policies, procedures, guidelines), including development, review and approval which articulate the Governance Document Management Framework (PDF 122KB) and associated policy documentation life-cycle.

The Policy and Delegations Unit is also responsible for maintaining and providing advice to members of the University on the University’s Register of Delegations.

CDU Governance hierarchyUniversity-wide Governance Documents

The University maintains a hierarchy of governance documents as demonstrated in the diagram.  University-wide governance documents include the Charles Darwin University Act and other relevant legislation and by-laws, policies, procedures and guidelines.

The word 'policy' is an umbrella concept that covers the University's hierarchy of University-wide governance documents as they all provide a framework for action. Below is an explanation of what each document is within the Charles Darwin University Governance Document Management Framework (PDF 122KB)

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Policies are concise formal statements that outline non-discretionary governing principles and intentions of how the University intends to conduct its services, actions or business. Policies direct decision making or the University's position on a specific matter, a certain line of action to be followed or how the members of the University should act, without prescribing in detail not to perform certain functions. Policies can also include Codes of Conduct.


Procedures are a sequence of actions, processes and responsibilities required to achieve a particular policy outcome. Procedures are developed to support the effective undertaking of University business and operations, and implementation of legislation or policy so as to clarify what the University expects and how to do it through a particular course or mode of action and by whom.


Guidelines are information or advice on best practice that provides additional detail or further context on aspects of legislation or University business and operations to assist with the determination of a course of action. Guidelines aim to streamline processes according to the requirements of an expected practice and ensure the quality of these processes.

Work instructions

Work instructions are developed and approved within faculties, schools, institutes and other organisational units to add specific detail to University-wide Governance documents. Work instructions set out how organisational units implement the University's policies and procedures or address issues that only concern their area or work practices. Work instructions must not contradict or conflict with legislation, University-wide Governance documents or the Register of Delegations.

All Governance documents have University-wide application, are formally approved by Council, Academic Board, or the Vice-Chancellor and kept in a centralised document repository maintained by the Policy and Delegations Unit - the Governance Document Library. Faculties, schools, institutes and other organisational units do not have authority to write, approve or implement their own policies, procedures or guidelines.

Compliance with the Act, by-laws, policies and procedures is mandatory. Guidelines serve to provide additional detail with implementing the governance document. While guidelines are not regarded as mandatory, they should be followed. All members of the University community must comply with legislation and University Governance documents when carrying out their duties. Non-compliance may be actionable through appropriate conduct policy documents.

Charles Darwin University operates in an ever-changing environment. To do this, it requires a robust Governance Document Management Framework (PDF 122KB) to support the pursuit of its objectives.

The framework:

  • provides a sensible, transparent and co-ordinated approach to the creation of by-laws, policies, procedures and other documents, seeing them through the development and review life cycle
  • ensures that Governance documentation supports the University community in complying with relevant legislation and aligns itself with the University’s governing documents and the University’s Strategic Plan
  • allows the University community access to the documents that affect them
  • optimises the number of University-wide Governance documents to the minimum necessary for sound business practice
  • delivers consistency, standardisation and predictability of Governance documentation throughout the University and ensures only current versions are accessible
  • supports quality assurance and continuous improvement
  • assists in the gap analysis of the University’s overall policy portfolio.

The Governance Document Management Framework (PDF 122KB) provides the rules and tools by which Governance documents are developed, documented, approved, promulgated, controlled and reviewed.

Plans (such as the University Strategic Plan) are not included in the context of this framework as these are considered to be operational documents rather than Governance documents, though it is important to recognise that one of the primary purposes of Governance documentation is to give effect to such plans. Legislation, Acts and regulations of the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments apply as a matter of course to the University and case law may also be used to determine University Governance documents.