Governance Document Hierarchy

The Southern Cross University Governance Document Hierarchy is the Council endorsed structure for describing and ordering the various types of guidance stakeholders at the University may encounter.

While most SCU guidance is called Policy, you will also find documents called Rules, Procedures and Guidelines within the Policy Library. These various titles impose specific characteristics on the documents in the Policy Library, for example, they determine whether or not compliance with the document is mandatory or optional. It is important, therefore, that you familiarise yourself with the titles and their meanings.

The diagram represents the hierarchy of Southern Cross University documents in order of precedence. To the extent that any document lower in the hierarchy is inconsistent with a higher document, the higher document prevails.

Governance Document Hierarchy diagram

'Australian Law' means Australian common law, federal laws enacted by the Parliament of Australia, and laws enacted by the Parliaments of the Australian states and territories. The Southern Cross University Act 1993 has obvious and specific relevance, being 'An Act to establish the Southern Cross University and to provide for its constitution and functions; and for other purposes.' The Act specifies that 'The University is a body corporate under the name of the Southern Cross University', and that 'The University consists of (a) a Council, and (b) the professors and full-time members of the academic staff of the University and such other members or classes of members of the staff of the University as the by-laws may prescribe, and (c) the graduates and students of the University.

'By-Law' means subsidiary legislation made under the Southern Cross University Act 1993 (the Act) governing specific internal affairs of the University. The University Council is empowered to make By-laws, not inconsistent with the Act, for or with respect to any matter to be prescribed or that is necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act. A By-law has no effect until it is approved by the Governor of NSW.

'Rule' means a formal statement of the conditions which must apply to the conduct of key aspects of the University's operation. A Rule (a) has the same force and effect as a by-law, and (b) may, from time to time, be amended or repealed by the Council (whether or not the Council is empowered to make such a rule), or by the authority or officer of the University for the time being empowered to make such a rule, and (c) takes effect on the day on which it is published or on such later day as may be specified in the rule, and (d) must indicate the authority or officer who made the rule and that it is made under section 30 of the SCU Act 1993. Rules may include penalties for non-compliance with the governing By-law. A Schedule or other document appended to a Rule forms part of that Rule.

'Policy' means a mandatory statement of principle guiding the University's operations and decision making, which has University-wide application, and which has been established by a resolution or other decision of the Council, Vice-Chancellor, Academic Board or another delegated authority. A schedule or other document appended to a policy forms part of that policy. Adherence to Policy is mandatory.

'Procedure' means a mandatory statement of the University's standard and required practice, authorised by a delegated authority, which prescribes actions to designated persons in order to implement and comply with a By-Law, Rule or Policy and meet its intent. Adherence to Procedure is mandatory.

'Guideline' means non-mandatory approaches to the implementation of Rules, Policies or Procedures. Guidelines provide flexible "good practice" recommendations and advice to assist those responsible for implementing By-Laws, Rules, Policies, or Procedures and may include codes of conduct guiding behaviour.