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Process Review Policy and Procedure

Policy overview

1 Purpose

To provide information on process reviews

2 Scope

All USQ Employees and Students

3 Policy Statement

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) is dedicated to upholding and improving the quality of all its operations. As part of this commitment, regular and methodical evaluations of significant processes (referred to as “processes”) will be conducted.

4 Principles

  1. A review panel will be formed, comprising of one University process manager not related to the process being reviewed, one University client who has used the process being reviewed, and at least two external experts.
  2. To prepare for the review, a reference group consisting of relevant University process managers and process clients will be established to develop the required review documentation.
  3. The review process will consist of some or all of the following elements::
    1. The process review methodology will involve a panel of one University process manager, one University client of the process being reviewed, and at least two external experts.
    2. A reference group comprising relevant University process managers and clients will be established to create the necessary review documentation.
    3. The review will encompass the following elements: distribution of a discussion paper examining the specifics of the process and an evaluation of its current effectiveness, stakeholder and user surveys, feedback from stakeholders and users, a survey of the implementation of the process in comparable institutions, and identification of best practices for the process both within and beyond the sector.
  4. The process review will be carried out in accordance with contemporary quality management methodologies:
    1. Creating a non-punitive atmosphere where blame is not assigned,
    2. Evaluating the entire process rather than individual performance,
    3. Providing support to staff responsible for managing the process,
    4. Focusing on continuous improvement,
    5. Identifying and implementing solutions,
    6. Recognizing and celebrating successes.

      Additionally, the review process must rely on accurate and well-developed information to make informed decisions and draw conclusions.

  5. The review process must involve:
    1. The review should provide a distinct description of the various elements of the process.
    2. The goals of the process should be clearly stated and evaluated.
    3. The policies and practices linked to the process must be assessed.
    4. The review should objectively evaluate the effectiveness of the process in achieving its goals, through comprehensive consultation with all stakeholders and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data.
    5. The review should offer suggestions on how to improve the process and include an action plan for implementing these recommendations.
  6. The review process should look ahead and be strategic, using past performance to refine objectives, review strategies, and ensure continuous improvement while increasing efficiency.
  7. The action plan must clearly identify responsibility for implementing individual recommendations and facilitate performance review, to be submitted to the Planning, Quality and Review Committee two years after the initial review. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will coordinate this process.
  8. The review process should not excessively burden staff or impede normal operations. It should rely on existing documentation and data as much as possible.
  9. The review process should take no longer than 24 weeks from the initiating meeting between the Process Owner and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality). Recommendations for review panel members should be submitted to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) within four weeks of the initiating meeting..

5 Procedures

5.1 Timing of Reviews

  1. On a regular basis, the University will conduct reviews of its essential processes, with a recommended interval of every five years. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will suggest a timetable for these reviews, which will be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee for approval.
  2. Any modifications to the schedule will also require the approval of the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee. Additionally, the Vice-Chancellor reserves the right to initiate a review outside of the regular schedule at any time.

5.2 Composition and Appointment of Review Panels and Reference Groups

  1. The review panel for a process will typically consist of two external experts in the relevant field, one University process manager who is not responsible for the process under review, and one University client who has used the process. If the manager of the process recommends it, additional members may be considered to ensure a diverse range of skills and experiences on the panel. The membership of the panel must be approved by the Vice-Chancellor.
  2. Each panel will normally include:
    1. The review panel will consist of a Chair who is external to the University, one or more external experts with relevant expertise in the process being reviewed, one or more senior University staff members who are clients of the process under review, and other members with the necessary skills and experience to address any unique aspects of the process.
    2. The Vice-Chancellor will approve the panel membership based on the advice of the relevant process manager, who may suggest additional members if needed.
    3. The Quality and Review Officer will provide administrative support for the review panel.
  3. To ensure gender diversity, the review panel should have at least one member who identifies as female and at least one member who identifies as male. In case a suitable qualified person of a particular gender is not available, this requirement may be waived.
  4. All individuals on the panel must have no conflicts of interest with the management of the process being reviewed.
  5. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will request confidential nominations for the review panel membership from the staff and stakeholders involved in the process under review. A pro-forma will be made available to facilitate the nomination process. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will prepare a list of potential candidates based on the collected information for the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee to consider. The Vice-Chancellor will appoint the review panel members based on the advice from the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee.
  6. The Chair of the review panel will receive an honorarium of $1,500, while other external panel members will receive $500 each from the University. All travel, accommodation, and relevant incidental expenses incurred by external panel members will also be covered by the University. The costs of the review process, apart from the expenses of external panel members, will be the responsibility of the organizational section under review.
  7. The Process Reference Group will include at least one process manager and a minimum of two process clients from major client sections, with members selected to ensure comprehensive knowledge of the process scope. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will consult with relevant senior managers to recommend the membership of the Reference Group, which will be approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

5.3 Terms of Reference of Reviews of University Processes

  1. The review will evaluate the efficiency of the process in the past and present.
  2. The review will be conducted in the context of the University’s strategic plan and assess the process’s alignment with the institution’s mission and goals.
  3. The review will consider national and international trends, recognized best practices, and relevant benchmarking or competitive comparisons.
  4. The review will assess the process’s effectiveness as an operational tool across all relevant University sections.
  5. The review will examine the outcomes of previous reviews and the implementation of recommendations to improve performance indicators.
  6. The review will evaluate the adequacy of quality assurance mechanisms in place.
  7. The review will assess whether the University is providing sufficient resources for the process to meet its expectations.
  8. The review will evaluate the consistency of the process with University policies and procedures.
  9. The review will consider confidential submissions and reports submitted through an open consultation process.
  10. The Vice-Chancellor, in consultation with the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee, may approve additional or amended terms of reference for any review or raise specific questions for the review panel to address.

5.4 Review Documentation for Processes

  1. The process review will be accompanied by several documents::
    1. Process analysis
    2. Progress report on action plan from the previous review
    3. Proposals for process enhancement
    4. Schedule of review activities
    5. Most recent process review
    6. Information package including the University Strategic Plan, Operational Resource Management Plan, Organizational Charts, and the University Handbook. The Reference Group will develop documents a) to c), while the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will develop or provide documents d) to f).
  2. The documents should be clear and succinct, avoiding unnecessary detail. Whenever possible, existing documentation, information, and data should be utilized.
  3. When preparing the documents, the goal is to present a truthful and straightforward evaluation of the process. Emphasis should be given to the process’s role and importance to the University, a reflective analysis of past performance, and a clear outline of strategies to improve future performance.
  4. All personnel who are affected by the process should be consulted and provided with the chance to contribute to the documents.
  5. The review documentation should be submitted for review by the Planning, Quality, and Review Committee at least six weeks prior to the panel’s arrival. The Reference Group will be given the opportunity to participate in this discussion. During this meeting, any strategic issues, problem areas, or parameters that should be drawn to the attention of the review panel will be discussed, and it will be determined whether any additional material should be provided in the documentation. The Chair of the Reference Group will be responsible for implementing any agreed-upon actions from this meeting.
  6. Two weeks before the review panel arrives, copies of the review documentation and the proposed Schedule of Activities will be provided to all panel members. The panel members will also receive an invitation to request additional information or suggest changes to the proposed schedule. The invitation should also inform the panel that it has the option to handle some aspects of the review on a sub-committee basis.
  7. The analysis will provide:
    1. A clear description of the process and its components.
    2. A clear statement of the process’s goals and objectives.
    3. An examination and evaluation of relevant policies and procedures.
    4. An unbiased evaluation of the process’s effectiveness in meeting its objectives, based on input from all relevant stakeholders.
    5. A thorough analysis, using both quantitative and qualitative data.
    6. Recommendations for how the process can be improved.
  8. Progress Report against Action Plan from Last Review See 5.6.3.
  9. If the process analysis highlights the need for change or improvement, an Action Plan should be developed. This plan should include strategies for improvement, a timeline for implementation, identification of responsible parties and necessary resources, and clear goals for desired outcomes.
  10. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in consultation with the Chair of the Reference Group will be responsible for creating a Schedule of Review Activities. This schedule should include, but not be limited to, the following activities:
    • The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) in consultation with the Chair of the Reference Group is responsible for developing the Schedule of Review Activities, which should include, but not be limited to, the following:
      • A meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning & Quality) and the Chair of the Reference Group at the panel’s first session to explain the review’s context, and any strategic issues, problem areas, or parameters that require special attention.
      • Meetings with staff and students (refer to 5.4.11).
      • Soliciting input from internal and external stakeholders.
      • A meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality), and the Chair of the Reference Group at the panel’s final session to discuss the draft recommendations and the report’s thrust.

      The Schedule of Activities should clearly identify the role of each person for the benefit of the review panel member.

  11. The review panel will receive the most recent review report of the process along with any subsequent commentaries made to that report (see 5.6.1 and 5.6.2), the action plan developed in response to the last review (see 5.6.3), and a progress report on the implementation of this action plan (see 5.6.5). Additionally, the review panel can request access to any earlier reviews of the relevant organizational section.
  12. All stakeholders of the process, including internal and external ones such as staff and students, will have the opportunity to provide written submissions to the review. The panel will also invite representatives from these groups to meet with them whenever possible and practical. Strategies will be developed to inform stakeholders and clients about the upcoming review and to invite their submissions.

5.5 The Review Process

  1. The development of review documentation will be carried out by the responsible parties outlined in section 5.1, with support from the Quality and Review Officer and staff from relevant departments as required.
  2. Review panel members must be available for three days to conduct interviews, discussions, and deliberations.
  3. The Chair of the review panel will coordinate the preparation of a report detailing the review’s findings and conclusions.
  4. The Chair will stay an additional day to complete the report, which will provide an overall assessment of the process under review, a numbered list of recommendations, and the panel’s argumentation. The draft report will focus on the recommendations, which should cover all necessary actions. It will also evaluate any recommendations or action plans submitted as part of the initial review documentation.
  5. The report will include an executive summary with the numbered recommendations and should be written with the understanding that it will become a public document. However, in rare cases, the review panel may attach a confidential appendix or discuss additional matters in their final meeting with the Vice-Chancellor.
  6. Draft reports will be submitted electronically to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality). Within two weeks of receipt, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality), Chair of the Reference Group, and senior staff from the organizational sections responsible for the process being reviewed will meet to discuss and review the draft report. The report will be marked as confidential at this stage. Any factual errors, areas requiring clarification, reconsideration, or gaps agreed upon during this meeting will be recorded by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality), who will subsequently inform the Chair of the review. After consulting with other panel members, the Chair will submit the final report within one week of the conclusion of the review meetings.

5.6 Review Outcomes

  1. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will oversee a consultation process to gather feedback on the review panel’s final report from major stakeholders, including staff. A report summarizing this consultation process will be produced.
  2. The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) will ensure that the review report and the consultation report are discussed and minuted at the Planning, Quality and Review Committee meeting. Specific review reports may also be reviewed by the Vice-Chancellor’s Committee.
  3. Within four weeks of receiving the final report, the head of the organizational section responsible for the process, in consultation with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Planning and Quality) and the relevant Head of Division or Chair of the Reference Group, will develop an action plan based on the panel’s recommendations. This action plan will be submitted to the Planning, Quality and Review Committee for approval.
  4. After approval by the Vice-Chancellor, the action plan will be made available on the USQIndex and included in the organizational section’s strategic plan. The Process Owner and the Manager, Planning and Quality, will coordinate the publication of the Action Plan on the USQ website within 4 weeks of its incorporation into the strategic plan.
  5. As part of the preparation for the next review cycle, the head of the organizational section responsible for the process, or the Quality and Review Officer if the process is managed by more than one administrative head, will develop a progress report on the implementation of the action plan described in 5.6.3.