Corporate Governance Policy

Policy code: CG2075
Policy owner: Director, Strategy, Governance and Office of the Vice-Chancellor
Approval authority: Vice-Chancellor and President
Approval date: 12 June 2024
Next review date: 06 December 2027

Purpose

Corporate Governance is concerned with the structures and operations of Federation University Australia in accordance with the Federation University Australia Act 2010 and any other applicable legislative and regulatory requirements. 

This policy supports the Federation University Regulations and must be followed in conjunction with supporting procedures, operation manuals and work instructions. This policy must be followed in conjunction with supporting procedures, operating manuals, and work instructions. 

Reconciliation statement

As a leading Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) organisation, Federation University is deeply committed to embedding reconciliation and Indigenous matters throughout all areas of the University. Our key policy areas will complement and engage with our RAP and several Indigenous strategies in across the University.

Anti-Modern Slavery Statement

Federation University Australia acknowledge that modern day slavery and the exploitation of an individual’s rights and freedoms is a complex global issue. We are committed in doing our part to identify and prevent instances of modern slavery in all forms.

Policy statement

(Note: definitions throughout this Policy can be accessed via the Policy Glossary which is currently under development) 

Corporate Governance is the framework of processes, operations, systems and structures in place to ensure compliance and risk mitigation of the University. Federation University has a robust structure for ensuring: 

  • development and maintenance of organisational culture; 
  • strategic direction and target setting; 
  • appropriate delegations’ authority is established; 
  • establishment of structures to support risk reduction; and 
  • monitoring of performancestandards.  

Council is the governing body of the University and is responsible for the oversight and direction of the University.  Council has several committees to assist in the effective discharge of its responsibilities and obligations to meet its requirements under the direction of relevant legislative and regulatory bodies

1. Governance systems

1.1 Council

Federation University is governed by the Federation University Australia Act 2010 (the Act) which provides for the establishment of the University, its governing body (the Council) and its core functions. The University’s commitment to quality is demonstrated through adherence to regulatory compliance requirements.

Council is the governing authority of the University and is responsible for the direction and superintendence of the University. The governance model of the University is based on its Council being comprised largely of external members but including members of the University's key internal stakeholders. The Council’s membership is comprised of ex officio members, members appointed by the Governor in Council, Ministerial appointments, Council elected appointees and elected members from Higher Education and TAFE from the University.

External and internal members play a significant role in Council  and its committees. External members bring to the University independent judgement and a range of expertise that is not readily available at the University. However, external members may have less detailed knowledge of the institution than their internal counterparts. This mixed membership of the governing body is designed to ensure appropriate governance accountability for the University.

The Council operates six standing committees, each with their own operational Charter. This supports Council governance obligations:

Council complies with regulatory requirements through adhering to policies and procedures that reflect and promote qualities that are consistent with the University’s core values and the University Strategic Plan.

The University must ensure appropriate Material Change notifications occur in line with the regulatory and funding requirements, as detailed in legislative and applicable documentation. Fit and Proper Persons Declarations must be completed within nominated timeframes, dependent upon the regulator.

Council has developed the Federation University Living Values of Inclusion, Innovation, Excellence, Empowerment and Collaboration to be considered throughout all operations. The living values will:

  • our organisational culture;
  • unite us to support our transformational strategy;
  • build on our passion, goodwill and collective vision;
  • guide our actions and empower us to succeed; and
  • lead to a professional standard of excellence on which

Supporting documents

1.2 Delegations of Authority Framework

The University Delegations of authority establishes which officers or boards; committees or other bodies of the University can make decisions or act on behalf of the University. Delegations may relate to financial transactions, legal or contractual arrangements, academic decision making, staffing matters or other administrative matters.

The Delegations of Authority Framework will ensure:

  • Clarity around decision making within the University;
  • Effective internal controls and monitoring are in place;
  • Accountability and responsibility are devolved to the appropriate level within the University;
  • Delegations align with a specific position or University board, committee or body; and
  • Efficiency and effectiveness in administrative decision making.

Supporting documents

1.3 Quality Framework

Federation University is committed to quality assurance and continuous improvement across its federated network of campuses and partner-provider institutions. The Quality Framework describes the approach to quality assurance by embedding principles of good practice in quality management in accordance with the statutory quality standards of its regulatory bodies through a system of mature quality assurance processes, compliance auditing and the capture and implementation of continuous improvement.

The Commonwealth legislative regulatory framework which establishes the minimum requirements for education courses delivered to onshore international students, consists of the ESOS Act 2000, the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code 2018), the ESOS Regulations 2019, the ESOS (Registration Charges) Act 1997, and the ESOS (TPS Levies) Act 2012. The Quality Framework outlines the University’s approach to compliance with the requirements stipulated within these legislative requirements for all University courses delivered onshore to international students holding a student visa.

The University will provide a quality tertiary education experience that inspires its students to succeed, serves its regions and communities, and is international in its outlook and impact.

Supporting documents

1.4 Governance documents framework

Federation University has an operational framework for developing, approving, implementing, reviewing, and maintaining the University’s governance documents (including policies, procedures, operation manuals, work instructions and guidelines) in a clear and consistent format. Adherence to the framework through its associated procedure, will ensure that all University policies and procedures are necessary, relevant, useful, and current.

Federation University governance documents will reflect and promote qualities that are consistent with the University’s core values and strategic intent.

Supporting documents

1.5 Living our values

Federation University embraces our five living values of Inclusion, Innovation, Excellence, Empowerment and Collaboration. The living values will:

  • cornerstones of our organisational culture;
  • unite us to support our transformational strategy;
  • build on our passion, goodwill and collective vision;
  • guide our actions and empower us to succeed; and
  • lead to a professional standard of excellence on which we and our stakeholders can rely.

2. Risk

2.1 Risk management

Managing risk is an essential component of the University’s governance and leadership.  Effective risk management both creates and protects value in an organisation by improving decision making. The University’s commitment to enterprise risk management and principles that will be used to guide this process are outlined in the procedure.

To achieve its strategic goals, the University must accept a measured degree of risk.  Through identification and analysis of risk the University can innovate and deliver a successful and sustainable future.

The University follows the Victorian Government Risk Management Framework and is bound by the Standing Directions 2018 of the Assistant Treasurer under the Financial Management Act 1994.

Federation University’s risk management program is underpinned by the following principles:

 A positive risk culture
  • Creating a culture where risk identification and management is acknowledged as a driver of positive outcomes.
  • Driving excellence in corporate governance by increasing accountability, awareness, and a positive attitude to risk management.
Risk based decision making
  • Decision making and responsiveness which is prioritised and informed by risk analysis.
Embedded risk management
  • All operational functions and processes should include a linkage to risk.
  • Risk analysis and identification will include broad stakeholder consultation.
Strategic safeguards
  • Assisting the University to operate safely and securely.
Accountability
  • Clear accountability for each category of risk, individual risk and treatment plan to ensure action and monitoring is implemented.
Transparency
  • Providing transparency and oversight to senior management and the University Council that strategic, enterprise and critical operational risks are managed effectively.
Informed investment
  • The consideration of the balance between risk and benefit in the development of investment strategies.
Informed resource allocation
  • Adoption of risk-based approach to the allocation of resources to mitigate future risks
Fraud risk identification and prevention
  • All operational areas actively identifying fraud risks and implementing appropriate treatment plans to reduce the risk to an acceptable level

A risk management framework provides a coordinated and managed approach to critical risks that, if they were to occur, would impact on the achievement of strategic and organisational objectives.

Supporting documents

2.2 Conflict of interest

Federation University values integrity and is committed to ensuring that both its activities and those of its community members conform to the highest standards of administrative conduct. It is the responsibility of all members of the University community to avoid (where possible) and transparently declare and manage conflicts of interest.

Where a conflict of interest exists (or may exist at some time in the future) the member of the University Community must declare and manage that conflict of interest in accordance with the Managing Conflicts of Interest Procedure.  Council members and Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Team members must comply with the Declaration of Private Interests and Related Party Disclosures processes detailed in associated procedure documents.

Supporting documents

3. Strategic planning and performance monitoring

Federation University adopts a robust strategic planning and performance monitoring environment, ensuring it can meet the ongoing challenges of a changing sector.

3.1 Strategic planning

The University has developed and adopted a strategic plan to identify strategic objectives and outcomes and adapt to external trends and challenges. Our five-year strategic plan, 2021 to 2025, builds on our strong reputation and prepares for a future that will include major changes in how we deliver educational opportunities.

The Strategic plan objectives are structured as that VCST members report back against success measures under their portfolio on a quarterly basis and report prepared bi-annually for Governance and Strategy committee. There is an annual review process by which the VCST realign the strategic measures with strategically transformative areas of the university to define priority projects for the year.

Strategic plan objectives along with the living values charter provide the framework for the individual  performance review and development cycle along with broader organisational unit plans within the university.

Supporting documents

3.2 Review and performance monitoring

The University conducts regular performance monitoring and review activities to measure the University’s performance and ensure best practice.

Each year, Council members assess the performance of Council and its committees with an external review conducted every five years.

In compliance with the Voluntary Code of Best Practice, the Council receives regular reports on:

  • the operations of the Academic Board and various committees;
  • the operations and achievements of the controlled entities of the university; and
  • other matters at their request (e.g., the implementation of budget, policies, plans or similar).

The University’s monitoring and reporting framework is subject to independent external audits, with all findings reported to Council. The University Annual Report also includes externally audited financial statements, a governance report and relevant achievements and is presented to the Victorian Government each year.

As part of its quality assurance and performance monitoring, the University will conduct reviews of higher education Institutes/Schools and TAFE Centres for the purpose of:

  • providing advice on their internal organisation/management and their relationship with the University;
  • monitoring and assessing their performance and that of their programs within the context of the University's Strategic Plan and relevant regulatory frameworks;
  • developing action plans to address areas for improvement;
  • identifying strengths and good practices that can be shared across the organisation; and
  • planning their future development.

4. Data governance

4.1 Information privacy

Federation University maintains the privacy of personal and health information collected by the University concerning staff, students and other individuals associated with the University. This policy does not apply to information about corporations.  The University makes all attempts to comply with the relevant privacy legislation which includes the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic), the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).

This policy does not apply to privacy information that is not consider as personal information that is, information in the publication domain, kept in a public library or museum, is a public record under the control of the Keeper of Public Records and is available for public inspection or is an archive within the meaning of the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968

Supporting documents

4.2 Records management and data storage

Federation University records are to be managed, captured, accessed, stored and disposed of in accordance with University procedures and guidelines to ensure compliance with the Public Records Act 1973 and other regulatory instruments, including Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) Standards. Records created, received or used by University staff in the normal course of business are the property of the University, unless otherwise agreed. This includes reports compiled by external consultants commissioned by the University.

The University’s corporate records constitute its corporate memory, and as such are a vital asset for ongoing operations, and for providing evidence of business activities and transactions.  Corporate records assist the University in making better informed decisions and improving business practice by providing an accurate record of previous activities.

All University staff, including sessional staff, researchers and research staff, as well as individuals who may perform work on behalf of the University, including Partner Providers (onshore/offshore), Commercial Delivery, VETiS (including Auspicing) and Volunteers, are required to adhere to the requirements of full and accurate record keeping and that disposal of records is only completed by authorised Officers as part of an authorised destruction program.

All hard copy records created or received by the business area are to be stored in PROV compliant storage areas within the business area while the record is being used for daily business activities. Active records must be stored securely to protect against theft, loss, misuse or inappropriate or unauthorised access. Inactive records can be stored in appropriate, compliant off-site facilities.

Electronic records must be stored in the University’s corporate management system (ECM), or another authorised corporate business system. Electronic records must not be stored in email clients such as Outlook, on network or local drives, portable storage devices such as USB sticks, external hard drives, CDs and DVDs, or other electronic recordkeeping systems. Email messages must be recorded in ECM and must not be archived using email archive facilities. Storing electronic records in ECM will protect their integrity and authenticity as well as ensuring access by relevant University staff.

Supporting documents

4.3 Copyright

Federation University is both a creator and consumer of copyright material. The University is committed to upholding copyright law under the provisions of the Act. All staff, other individuals working on behalf of the University, students and visitors are obliged to be familiar with the provisions of the Act and must comply with this Policy and copyright legislation in all University endeavours. 

Federation University Australia staff and students must be aware of, and comply with, the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Copyright legislation gives the owner of copyright in literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works, sound recordings, films and broadcasts exclusive rights to use those works.

The types of uses include the right to:

  • reproduce / copy a work
  • publish
  • perform in public
  • communicate the work to the public via electronic means – including making it available online or sending via email.

The University uses clear informative approaches to communicate copyright provisions of the Act to students and staff and adopts preventative measures that mitigate the risk of copyright infringements. The University prohibits the use of its computing and communications facilities for any purpose that would breach copyright.

The University manages copyright breaches in a consistent and transparent manner.

Supporting documents

5. Brand governance, communications and marketing

5.1 Brand governance

Federation University Brand Standards ensure all communications deliver a single, recognisable and concise message. The maintenance of the University’s brand is important to:

  • ensure consistent marketing and brand objectives;
  • enhance Federation University’s strategic direction; and
  • ensure compliance with legislation and regulatory requirements.

The Brand Guidelines is the authoritative reference source for the University brand and is the official register of all aspects of University branding including logos, devices, emblems, colours, and typefaces.

All staff are required to adhere to University brand guidelines.

Federation University acknowledges the rapidly growing use of social media by staff and students and encourages its use for the primary purposes of learning, engaging, connecting, collaborating, and promoting the University.

Emphasis is placed on guiding principles of behaviour and a common sense approach to the use of social media to ensure that all social media posts are in line with the University brand guidelines and that individual views are not implied as reflective of that of the University.

Supporting documents

5.2 Marketing

All marketing and promotional activities undertaken by the University are completed in accordance with internal and external compliance requirements.  Marketing and advertising information will be compliant with the Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021 HESF, Australian Skills Quality Authority ASQA, Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 National Code, as well as other legislative and regulatory requirements.

The principal objectives of marketing for the University ensure that:

  • only transparent, accurate and relevant information is provided to all prospective and current students; and
  • prospective students can make informed decisions regarding studying at the University based on transparent, accurate and reliable information.

Marketing includes a range of platforms and contexts relevant to disseminating the university brand. Materials prepared for marketing to International students must comply with the Marketing Information and Practices Procedure.

Supporting documents

5.3 Web management and publishing

Federation University considers web publishing to be a key strategic resource for communication, teaching, research, marketing, and administration. Appropriate use of this technology by the University community is required.

University resources may only be used to create and publish web pages where the purpose and effect of the published information is in support of the University's objectives and Strategic Plan. This means that the content of web pages hosted on University resources must relate to the activities and functions of the University or relate to the specific role of members of the University community.

Web-based publishing has an important impact on the reputation and standing of the University and must therefore occur in the context of an official policy framework. The following principles and requirements, along with the Web Publishing Standards, apply to all information published on the University's website.

Supporting documents

5.4 Media relations

Staff must notify the Public Relations Unit when contacted by the media. The Media Officer will assist with drafting media releases, interview techniques and providing advice on protocol for visits to the University by media representatives. All media releases must be released through the Public Relations Unit.

Staff are encouraged to speak to the media about issues relating to their area of specialisation in teaching and/or research. The Vice-Chancellor is the principal official University spokesperson on matters relating to the governance, strategies and management of the University. In certain circumstances, the Vice-Chancellor may nominate a staff member to provide comment on a specific issue.

Public comment by staff, including interviews on television, radio, newspapers, on-line and speaking engagements (conferences, guest lectures) should be limited to topics related to their area of expertise in teaching and/or research.  Staff expressing public comment on political or social issues as individual citizens should not use their University title/position.

6. Campus infrastructure

6.1 Naming of buildings and facilities

Federation University Australia receives support from its community and its benefactors. Philanthropy empowers the University to enhance and improve its buildings and facilities. Naming buildings or facilities enables the University to recognise and honour significant benefaction or contribution made to the University and/or public life.

The University Council has the authority to name or rename University buildings, parts of buildings, rooms, or other distinct areas of a campus. Naming may be conferred for a specified period, will not necessarily be conferred in perpetuity, and always remains at the sole discretion of the University.

Naming of buildings or facilities also enables the University to recognise and honour other matters of significance to the University, such as Indigenous reconciliation.

Supporting documents

6.2 Campus security

Federation University is committed to providing and maintaining, as far as reasonably practicable, a safe, secure, and crime-free environment for all members of its community.

Security personnel have authority, in accordance with University regulations, to exercise powers to maintain the safety and security of University campuses. The Security Procedure sets out the operational responsibilities to ensure that all activities taking place within the University, whether they are University activities or not; and all members of the University community whilst planning, managing, or engaging in any University activity, whether this activity takes place on University premises or not will be safe.

It does not apply to, premises managed or utilised by partner provider organisations, and security of University information, financial assets or reputation, or the management of emergencies and critical incidents as these matters are comprehensively covered by other relevant University procedures.

Supporting documents

6.3 Campus parking

Federation University aims to provide a safe and equitable parking service for University staff, students, visitors and University service providers. Parking is allocated to ensure the safety of users and access for Emergency Services.

Permit zones are identified by signs and/or road markings at each University campus. Grassed areas are not considered parking areas and parking is not permitted. Parking on areas not defined as a carpark e.g. grassed areas or nature strips may result in an infringement notice being issued.

Permits are issued to staff and students of the University and are approved by the University and issued by Property and Infrastructure. Only vehicles displaying a current parking permit can park in a permit zone and must clearly display the permit. There are only a limited number of permits available.

Supporting documents

7. Complaints

Federation University aims to resolve complaints and concerns from students and members of the public in a transparent, consistent, fair and timely manner.

Feedback received through the complaint process provides the University with valuable insights, allowing the University to improve the experience of its students and that of members of the public.

At all stages of the Complaints Management process, the University is committed to:

  • an accessible, impartial and fair process;
  • transparency and consistency;
  • natural justice and procedural fairness;
  • the timely resolution of complaints (including keeping the complainant informed of progress);
  • the informal resolution of complaints wherever possible;
  • equal opportunity and recognition of diversity; and
  • privacy and confidentiality.

The University will not tolerate retribution to or victimisation of a complainant.

 For information regarding Student Appeals and Misconduct, please see Federation University ‘Students’ Policy.

Supporting documents

8. Health, safety and wellbeing

Federation University creates a culture that values health, safety, and wellbeing as fundamental components of the environment, supported by safe systems of work and study, appropriate governance, training, management structures and operational strategies.

Reporting to the Vice-Chancellor (VC), the UHSPC is the health and safety committee required under section 72 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) and section 75 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld).  The UHSPC considers and makes recommendations for compliance and improvement on University-wide health and safety matters relating to:

  • the performance of portfolios against the requirements of the University’s health and safety management system;
  • the prevention of injuries and illnesses among members of the University community;
  • employee consultation regarding health and safety issues and workplace change;
  • the management of incidents and emergencies arising in the context of University activities;
  • the rehabilitation and compensation of injured university employees;
  • legislative compliance, auditing programs and monitoring the implementation of actions incorporated in Annual OHS Plans; and
  • the performance of the University in relation to health and safety.

8.1 Equal opportunity and valuing diversity

Federation University Australia is committed to providing equal opportunity and freedom from discrimination, verbal, sexual harassment, Sexual Harm racial or religious vilification for all members of the University community, and to creating an environment which reflects and values the social and cultural diversity within the University community and the communities it serves.

The University will not tolerate discrimination, sexual or discriminatory harassment, racial or religious vilification or victimisation, as defined in the procedure, in any University activities.  The university will take proactive, reasonable, and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination, sexual and discriminatory harassment, vilification, and victimisation within university activities, and recognises the potential for the University to be vicariously liable if all such measures have not been taken.

This applies to all students and prospective students, staff and prospective staff, and other individuals associated with the University in all situations or activities related to their roles at the University. Such situations and activities may extend beyond university campuses and day-to-day activities e.g., field trips, conferences, events and functions, student senate/club volunteer activities, University on- and off-campus residences.

For reporting avenues regarding any form of discrimination, please see Federation University Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure.

Supporting documents

8.2 Child safety

The University is committed to providing a safe environment and ensuring that children can experience the fundamental right to be protected from all forms of child abuse is a shared and collective responsibility of all members of the University Community.

All members of the University community are expected to adhere to Child Safe Standards which are outlined in the mandatory learning module all staff are required to complete.

Supporting documents

8.3 Alcohol, smoking and other drugs

Federation University aims to minimise harm arising from alcohol and other drugs and to ensure the University complies with relevant legal requirements.

The University may create alcohol free zones in specific buildings or areas and provide details of the declaration on the University website. Where an alcohol-free zone exists, no alcohol can be brought into, consumed or offered for sale within the exclusion zone.

The University is committed to providing a smoke-free environment for all staff and students.

Illicit drugs are strictly prohibited from University premises and activities.

Supporting documents

8.4 Emergency management

Federation University supports a healthy and safe environment for staff, students, contractors and visitors. The proper management of incidents, injuries, illnesses and emergencies forms an essential element of the University’s health and safety responsibilities. 

The University will:

  1. develop, publish, and maintain procedures for:
    1. the appropriate treatment of injuries and illnesses;
    2. the prompt reporting and investigation of incidents, injuries and illnesses;
    3. the implementation of corrective actions following incidents;
    4. the management of foreseeable emergencies and critical incidents;
  2. inform the University community of the details of the procedures;
  3. develop and conduct training sessions for Supervisors, Managers, Health and Safety Representatives, Emergency Control Personnel, and University First-Aiders;
  4. allocate resources for the implementation of incident, injury and emergency management measures;
  5. monitor the implementation of this policy and related procedures; and
  6. assign responsibilities in relation to the implementation of this policy and related procedures.

Supporting documents

Modification history

Original issue Current version Review date Details
December, 2022 December, 2022 06 December, 2027 Consolidation of existing Policy Documents to a revised overarching Policy for Information Management that includes a living suite of support documents to better reflect currency and best practice of University Operations.

Policy governance responsibilities and communications

All documentation within the Governance Framework will be communicated throughout the University including, but not limited to, internal communications such as FedNews, VC Comms, staff emails, staff inductions and documentation distribution.

Policy Document owners are responsible for identifying and managing information-related risks and issues for their assigned information entities and for escalating these to Approval Authorities accordingly. Owners of Policy documents are accountable for their respective procedures, manuals and work instructions in alignment with their position descriptions and Performance Review Development Plan (PRDP) cycles.