Policy documents

Policy managers play an important role in supporting schools with relevant and effective policies.

Clear and concise policy documents are critical to the successful operation of NSW government schools. Policies state the department's position on an issue or risk and define mandatory courses of action and responsibilities for staff for to address the issue or mitigate the risk.

In a large and dispersed organisation like the department, policies facilitate compliance and accountability, consistent and transparent decision-making, and prompt resolution of any issues by school leaders at the local level.

Policies also allow staff to perform their roles independently, within set boundaries and constraints, and discharge their responsibilities and delegations confidently.

Within the Schools Policy Management Framework, policy documents follow a hierarchy in order of precedence as outlined below.

Policy document Description
1. Policy A clear and concise statement of the organisation’s position on an issue or risk. It supports staff to perform their roles independently, within set boundaries and constraints, and to discharge their responsibilities and delegations confidently.
2. Implementation documents If needed, an implementation document may be written to support the achievement of the policy statement. An implementation document may be procedures or guidelines to assist staff to comply with the policy. Ideally, there should only be one implementation document for a policy.
2.1 Procedures Procedures are standard actions necessary for compliance with a policy. They may also comprise process maps, plans, flowcharts, and other materials necessary to support the outlined procedures. The mandatory and discretionary components in a procedures document need to be clearly distinguished.
2.2 Guidelines Guidelines are suggested courses of action and other support materials required to guide decision making about discretionary aspects of procedures or areas where procedures or policies remain undefined. Guidelines may also contain mandatory elements for policy compliance and be mandatory in whole or in part as prescribed in any given guidelines document.
3. Local documentation Local documentation translates policy to the local environment of an individual school. The document must be consistent with any policy or supporting document from which it is derived.
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