Policy Hierarchy

Policy Hierarchy
Policy Hierarchy

This diagram illustrates the Policy Hierarchy which applies at the University. Each level of the hierarchy is described below in its order of precedence: 1. Legislation, 2. Policy, 3. Procedure, 4. Guideline. A document lower in the hierarchy must relate to, and be consistent with, a document higher in the hierarchy.
Note: At this time, records of agreements and decisions of the University which are strategic in nature (such as B2B and codes of conduct) or are captured in resolution only, have not yet been placed in the context of the Policy Hierarchy.


Australian state and federal acts of parliament. This includes subordinate legislation, made by virtue of a power delegated by an Act of Parliament. Subordinate legislation may be designated as by-laws, regulations, rules, or by other titles. For example, the University of New South Wales Act 1989 (NSW) ("the Act") delegates a power to make By-laws, and the University of New South Wales By-law 2005 (NSW) ("the By-law"), made in accordance with that Act, is considered to be legislation. The Act and the By-Law together empower the University Council to make Rules on certain matters. The University of New South Wales Rules, made by Council, have the same force and effect as a By-law. No other document created by the University is a Rule of this kind.


A Policy:

  • Meets the Policy criteria;
  • Is created in accordance with the UNSW Policy Framework; and
  • Is established by the Council or, under delegated authority, by the Vice-Chancellor.
Policy criteria - Policy sets out principles and standards to guide the actions and decision-making of those engaged with the University. A Policy may give authority to nominated individuals or positions to establish Procedures and Guidelines.
Some Policy documents may be titled Conditions and are at the same level as a Policy.


A Procedure:

  • Meets the Procedure criteria;
  • Is approved in accordance with the University‚Äôs Register of Delegations
Procedure criteria - A Procedure is specific and prescribes processes and actions. Legislation, Policy, or a decision by an appropriate  delegate may determine the need for a Procedure. A Procedure is clearly distinguished from Policy and is separately documented.


A Guideline:

  • Meets the Guideline criteria;
  • Is approved in accordance with the University's Register of Delegations
Guideline criteria - A Guideline offers detail and context on particular matters which are the subject of legislation, Policy, or Procedure. Legislation, Policy, Procedure, or a decision by an appropriate delegate may determine the need for a Guideline.

Local Documents - Protocols

A Faculty, school or unit may develop documents which record decisions, processes or workflows which apply only to that Faculty, School or Unit. These local "protocols" must not be inconsistent with any legislation, Policy, Procedure or Guideline, or with delegations in the Register of Delegations.