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The following Governance Framework outlines how the Batchelor Institute is governed and managed.  As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and self-accrediting Higher Education Provider (HEP), the Institute is obligated to operate within specified legislative, funding, quality and reporting parameters.

The Governance Framework clarifies how the structures, policies and practices of the Institute support the achievement of outcomes and the respective roles of the Council, Chief Executive Officer and management.  The Framework also provides the foundation for the effective delegation of responsibilities and demonstrates the Institute’s commitment to good governance; while also encompassing issues of leadership, direction, control and accountability.  The Framework provides guidance to the Institute on how to perform at an efficient level, achieve strategic objectives and enhance stakeholder confidence in Institute decisions, while conforming to our external obligations and responsibilities.

The Institute is also unique in that it is the only dual-sector, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tertiary education and training provider in Australia.  This impacts directly on the strategic, operational, governance, legislative and cultural requirements of the Institute.

Our Governance Framework outlines the following:


    Individuals whose roles are encompassed within the Institute Governance Framework are expected to:

    • Act with probity and practice the principles of honesty, integrity and fairness.
    • Model the values of the Institute of authenticity, excellence, agility, dedication, integrity, team work and respect.
    • Ensure that engagement is undertaken with our stakeholders so that the Institute understands and involves stakeholders and their concerns and needs in our activities, and where relevant in decision-making processes.
    • Ensure that staff are supported through high standards of leadership and best-practice human resource management. and
    • Ensure students are provided with an educational environment that optimizes their prospects of achieving their goals in a safe environment.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people centred
    Institute financial, non-financial and academic decisions are made with due consideration given to their impact on student learning outcomes, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ language, culture and self-determination aspirations.

    The Institute ensures that individuals whose roles are encompassed within the Institute Governance Framework, either individually and/or as part of decision making bodies acknowledge and assume responsibility for their financial, non-financial and academic decisions;  and actions. They have the obligation to report, explain and be accountable to the Institute Council through the Chief Executive Officer.

    Transparency and Openness
    Individuals whose roles are encompassed within the Batchelor Institute Governance Framework and who engage in decision making bodies in the Institute will conduct themselves with the maximum transparency and openness consistent with any necessary confidentiality as is genuinely required. The Institute ensures transparency about:

    • where and how financial, non-financial and academic decisions are made,
    • where responsibility lies, and
    • procedures for how decisions may be questioned or challenged.

    Those charged with decision-making must have access to all necessary and relevant information.

    Diversity and Effective Collaboration
    The Institute recognises and respects the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from across Australia and values the diverse skills, knowledge and cultural knowledge that students and all staff bring to the Institute.

    Mechanisms are supported which actively seek to represent diversity including views and feedback from stakeholders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, staff,  including support staff and part-time staff, and students. The Institute maintains policies and procedures which are socially inclusive, responsible and are non-exploitative and non-discriminatory.  Integral to this is encouraging effective collaboration through such means as partnerships, agreements, Memorandums of Understanding and establishing clear roles and responsibilities.

    Excellence and Relevance in Higher and Further Education, and Research
    Batchelor Institute is driven by valuing the rights of Australia’s First Nations people to fully participate in, and contribute to, high quality dual sector education, training and research. It recognises the role it can play by also supporting effective engagement of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the First Nations space.

    To remain relevant in a continually changing and competitive environment, the Institute has adapted its training, research, business architecture, and services to respond more strategically; underwriting its approach with innovative solutions and service excellence.  The Strategic Plan 2015-2020 recognises as one of its five Pillars that excellence in the educational and research environment that we create and deliver is paramount to our success and relevance.


    The Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education Act (the Act) establishes the Institute as:

    “an educational institution for the tertiary education of Indigenous people of Australia and the provision of other educational and training programs and courses, and facilities and resources for research and study, and for related purposes”.

    The following By-laws have been made under Part 7 of the Act:

    • Batchelor Institute (Common Seal) by-laws,
    • Batchelor Institute (Powers and Functions of Director) by-laws,
    • Batchelor Institute (Rules) by-laws,
    • Batchelor Institute (Staff) by-laws, and
    • Batchelor Institute (Codes of Conduct) by-laws.

    The Batchelor Institute Council is the governing body of the Institute and has the following primary functions:

    • Approve the mission and strategic direction of the Institute;
    • Oversee and monitor the academic activities of the Institute;
    • Establish policy and procedure principles consistent with legal requirements and community expectations;
    • Oversee the management of the Institute, including by;
      • Review management practices and performance,
      • Review and monitor performance of the Chief Executive Officer,
      • Approve the budget and business plan, and
      • Approve significant commercial activities and assess risk;
    • Monitor systems of accountability implemented by the Institute;
    • Oversee and monitor the assessment and management of risk across the Institute;
    • Establish a system for dealing with grievances of students and staff and publish details of the system and procedures to be followed; and
    • Regularly review delegations.

    Structure and composition
    The structure, composition and membership of Council is mandated by the Act.  The Council comprises the following 10 members:

    The Council membership includes:

    • An appointed Chairperson. The current Chairperson is an Aboriginal person  with extensive and appropriate expertise;
    • Four appointed members to include the following;
      • One Indigenous member with advisory experience in Indigenous matters, and
      • One member with specialist professional or vocational knowledge or expertise in delivering education and training, preferably to Indigenous people in remote areas of Australia, and
      • One member with demonstrated commercial and financial expertise and experience, and
      • One with appropriate experience, knowledge or expertise for the effective exercise of powers and performance, not necessarily as above, as a Council member. and
      • One of the above must usually reside in the Top End, and
      • One of the above must usually reside in Central Australia.
    • One full-time staff member elected by full-time staff;
    • One student from the Northern Territory who has been elected by students;
    • One person nominated by the CDU Council;
    • The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute; and
    • Chief Executive of the Education agency (or their nominee).


    Key Document Approval or Endorsement
    In fulfilling their responsibilities, the Council approve or endorse a range of key strategic and operational documents.  These include:

    Staff Code of Conduct
    The Staff and Student Codes of Conduct are designed to assist each member of the Institute community, including members of Council, staff and students in discharging their obligations to act ethically and to observe the highest standards of behaviour. The Staff Code of Conduct is based on the Fair Work Act 2009 and underpins the Institute values.  It is ratified by the Council & reviewed annually.

    Student Code of Conduct
    The Student Code of Conduct describes the responsibilities, rights, and associated expected basic level of conduct, of all Batchelor Institute students, so that the Institute is a safe, healthy and harmonious academic and work environment, free from harassment for all members of the Institute community.

    Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA)
    The Enterprise Bargaining Agreement provides an industrial relations framework within which the Institute works towards the achievement of its strategic plan and to further consolidate and develop its position as a specialist provider of tertiary education, training and research for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  The EBA is ratified by Council and reviewed every two years through a rigorous staff and stakeholder consultation process.

    Strategic Plan
    The Institute Strategic Plan is developed on a five year cycle and is approved by the Council.  It includes the Institute’s vision, values, core services, intended outcomes and performance indicators.  Regular reporting is provided to the Council on achievement against the Strategic Plan.

    Budget, Business Plan and Risk Management Plan
    The Council approves the annual budget and business plan, and Risk Management Plan.  A Council committee, the ‘Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee’ oversees the more detailed monitoring and assessment against these plans.


    The Act establishes an Institute Advisory Board to assist the Chief Executive Officer and Council in ensuring that there is adequate and appropriate input in relation to Indigenous cultural, social and community issues.

    The functions of the Board are to:

    • Advise and make recommendations to the Council about Indigenous cultural and social issues that are likely to affect the Institute.
    • Consult with Indigenous people, communities and organisations to promote constructive dialogue and engagement between the Institute and Indigenous people.
    • Advise the Institute on systemic and structural changes aimed at improving outcomes for Indigenous students and clients of the Institute, with particular focus on vocational education and training and higher education.

    The Institute has in place a commitment to improving recruitment, retention and career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The goal is to achieve 50% employment by mid 2018.

    To support this commitment, the Institute has implemented a special measures plan to enable preference in recruitment to be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants for advertised vacancies across the Institute.  An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander applicant will be offered an advertised position if they are assessed by the relevant selection panel as meeting the selection criteria and suitable to perform the duties at the level appropriate for the position.

    While there is no requirement for a Council member or a senior executive to be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person the direction the Institute has been taking has seen an increase in representation within Council and the corporate executive group.


    Education provider legislation
    As a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) the Institute focuses on delivering quality education, training and assessment for individual students, industry and community partners, and the vocational education and training (VET) sector.The Institute conducts its RTO operations in compliance with the Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 which establishes the national VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), and the Standards for NVR Training Organisations 2015 National VET Standards.

    As a Higher Education Provider (HEP), the Institute is accountable to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) for registration and performance evaluation.  The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act (2011) creates obligations for HEPs to meet the requirements of the TEQSA Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards).

    The Institute also complies with the requirements of the Higher Education Support Act 2003 which provides for the Commonwealth to give financial support for higher education and certain vocational education and training to providers and students.

    The monitoring and control of the Institute is subject to continuous independent external audit through ASQA and TEQSA. These functions are managed through the Institute committee structure, in turn reporting to Council through the Senior Management Committee and the Academic Board.

    Other legislation
    The Institute also complies with a range of Northern Territory and Commonwealth legislation.  For example, legislation relating to Work, Health and Safety; Taxation, Fair Work and Employment, Information/Privacy, Anti-Discrimination, Food, Public and Environmental Health, Copyright and Intellectual Property.


    The Council and Chief Executive Officer are assisted and advised in their roles by Committees of Council and Chief Executive Officer’s Advisory Committees.

    Under the Act and By-laws the Council and Chief Executive Officer have a range of functions and powers to enable them to effectively govern the Institute. Many of the functions are delegated to committees and the Council and Chief Executive Officer need to ensure that these committees operate proficiently to achieve the identified outcomes.

    Terms of Reference
    Guidelines have been developed to assist in establishing and maintaining effective operations of Council and other committees.

    With the exception of the Academic Board which have Council approved Rules, each committee has a formal Terms of Reference which is a 2-3 page document containing the following information:

    • overall scope, role and responsibility – this is a statement of strategic intent for the committee,
    • functions – clearly stating the responsibilities and expectations of the Board for the committee and reviewed annually,
    • membership – list of all members including those required to be in attendance,
    • standing arrangements including quorum, terms of office, number and frequency of meetings,
    • meetings – minimum requirements for the number of frequency of meetings are specified,
    • committee support – a specific officer is identified as providing executive officer support to the Chair of the committee,
    • accountability –reporting requirements for the committee and the frequency of required reporting, and
    • any delegations.

    The Terms of Reference are widely communicated and updated.

    Planning and review
    Each committee, where necessary, has a work plan that identifies specific outcomes to be achieved as well as the expected flow of regular business and reports.   The planning is informed by members of the committee undertaking an annual self-review which includes:

    • consideration of the Terms of Reference,
    • how the business covered in that period relates to each Term of Reference,
    • reporting on the attendance record of members.

    Annual review reports are submitted to Council.  All committee processes include circulation to members of agendas, minutes, conflict of interest notification and standing items.




    The Institute is managed by the Chief Executive Officer. The Chief Executive Officer leads the Corporate Executive and Senior Management Committee (SMC), which meets fortnightly and engages in a responsive and energetic management approach in regard to the strategic direction and operational management of the Institute.  The Chief Executive Officer and Council also lead the academic direction and management of the Institute through the Academic Board and its Chair.

    Corporate Executive
    The purpose of the Corporate Executive Committee is to provide a forum for discussion regarding general direction in relation to strategic planning and implementation, corporate priorities and positioning of the Institute and its operations and business.  Operational issues would normally be referred to, and/or reported through, the SMC.

    Senior Management Committee
    The primary role of the SMC is to oversee and provide operational governance, policy and financial oversight for the Institute.  The SMC does not report to any other committee, but may take directions from the Corporate Executive and report to Council on particular matters through the Chief Executive Officer.

    Academic Board
    The Board provides full assistance to the Council and Chief Executive Officer in all matters relating to learning, teaching, vocational training, assessment, research and research training, together with the assurance and enhancement of the academic quality and standards of all Institute programs and awards.  The major responsibilities of the Academic Board are:

    • To make recommendations or report to the Council or the Chief Executive Officer on strategic academic direction and policy, process and implementation including admission, course design and delivery, assessment, student progress and discipline, course regulations and academic quality assurance.
    • Approve academic policies.
    • Make recommendations on academic objectives and goals of the Institute and actions necessary to sustain and develop such objectives and goals, and where appropriate advise Council on the impact of proposed organisational change on the academic aims of the Institute.
    • Review and make recommendations on the Institute’s teaching and learning, and research strategic directions and plans.

    Council, Corporate Executive, SMC and the Academic Board are also guided by the Batchelor Institute values and the Strategic Plan. Strategic planning is undertaken on a five year cycle, and is reviewed and monitored in an annual basis.  This ensures the attainment of the identified vision and goals of the Institute, and responds to external driving factors.  It identifies key outcome areas which are founded on the Institute shared values and ongoing commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; the ‘both-ways’ philosophy; student, staff and stakeholder satisfaction; quality service delivery; and the building of solid collaborative partnerships.

    Divisional operational plans are developed annually and mapped to the strategic outcomes identified in the Institute Strategic Plan.  Business and operational outcomes are identified by the Executive Directors as members of SMC.  Each Division sets operational targets, strategies and responsibilities across key performance areas identified in the operational plan.


    Institute governance and operations require a range of policies and procedures that apply across all areas of the Institute: academic; management, operations and workplace related.

    Institute policy is guided by the Institute Policy Framework, the Policy Development and Management Policy and a suite of supporting documents approved by the SMC.  The Batchelor Institute Policy Framework articulates and provides guidance to users with respect to the identified hierarchy of Batchelor Institute policy documents, and the methodology for policy development, dissemination, and review.

    Any Institute staff member can identify a policy need area.  A standard methodology is used for the development, approval, review, revision and version control of Institute policies and procedures to ensure currency, clarity and consistency.  Responsible staff are identified as policy owners to ensure due diligence and accountability.  Policies are developed and implemented in such a way that the intent of the policy is achievable within Institute resources.  Policies are developed and reviewed in consultation with key stakeholders and are accessible to the Institute key stakeholders from the policy library located on the Batchelor Institute website.


    Risk management is integrated into Institute Governance structures.  The Batchelor Institute Council has the overall responsibility for risk management of the Institute.  It achieves this through robust Institute planning, reporting and monitoring systems including its committees.  Council is committed to establishing, monitoring and reviewing a cost effective internal Institute control structure.  Under the Batchelor Institute Act the Chief Executive Officer is responsible for the establishment of this control structure.  This is a management responsibility and an integral component of the overall Institute management process.

    The Institute follows a Risk Management Strategy which incorporates the following elements:

    • Council,
    • Committees,
    • Risk Policy and Procedure,
    • Risk Register,
    • Risk Management Plan and guidelines,
    • Accounting and Property Manual,
    • Formal contingency plans for disaster recovery and business continuity,
    • Effective tools for business and project development and management through the Institute Business Sustainability toolkit,
    • Annual cycles of business planning, review, monitoring and reporting overseen by SMC, and
    • Delegation of decision making.

    The Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee, while not expressly required by any of our regulatory authorities, has been established as a committee of the Council to ensure that the relevant functions of the Council prescribed in the Act are undertaken to the highest standards.  The role of the committee is to review the financial management process to determine whether acceptable policies and procedures are being followed; legislative requirements and established standards are met; resources are used efficiently and economically; planned missions are accomplished effectively; and the objectives of Batchelor Institute are being achieved.

    The risk register forms a fundamental document for the Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee and for the Chief Executive Officer’s Advisory Committees.  The Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee also monitors Institute compliance through its Internal Audit and Risk Management Plan.


    Institute governance and management systems and processes are guided, supported, evaluated and continuously enhanced through a series of planning documents, including the Risk Register.

    Quality Management Strategy
    The Quality Management Strategy sets out the philosophy, framework and methodology for the quality framework that allows the creation of internal processes and sets of tools that develop into a full quality management system.

    Approach to Continuous Improvement Strategy
    The Continuous Improvement Strategy sets out the philosophy, framework and methodology for the quality framework that allows Batchelor Institute to create its own processes and sets of tools that will develop into a full quality management system. The Batchelor Institute philosophy that underpins this approach to quality is captured by these principles:

    • The organisation is a system,
    • Continuous improvement is a cycle,
    • The Institute has a unique business environment,
    • Management systems provide support for operational processes, and
    • ASQA RTO standards and TEQSA Threshold Standards provide essential criteria for measuring quality.

    VET Quality Management Plan
    The Quality Management Plan (QMP) describes the Institute’s quality system. The QMP is a requirement of the current National VET Standards Policy Framework and the Australian Vocational Qualification System Quality Framework.  It identifies the organisational structure, policy and procedures, functional responsibilities of management and staff, lines of authority, and its processes for planning, implementing, documenting, and assessing all activities conducted under the organisation’s quality system.

    Teaching and Learning Plan
    The Teaching and Learning plan provides a medium term plan for training, teaching and learning at the Institute.  It guides the Institute in general and it’s training and teaching staff specifically in their practice.  It is a public document which is available to Institute students, partners and government agencies to highlight the strategic directions of Batchelor Institute training, teaching and learning.  It is developed, managed, monitored and reviewed by the Institute Teaching and Learning Committee. (download from this page)

    Research Plan
    The Research Plan outlines the objectives and intended research outcomes of the Institute.  These are also directly correlated to the Institute’s Strategic Plan.  Central across our activities is the generation of research that affirms, promotes, and is guided by the contemporary perspectives of First Nations’ People.   Our approach privileges existing, emerging and aspirational First Nations’ Knowledges, and provides a platform for shared Knowledge-creation and wide dissemination.  The Research Plan is a public document which is also available to Institute students, partners and government agencies.  It is developed managed, monitored and reviewed by the Research Committee. (download from this page)

    Financial Delegations Manual
    The Financial Delegations Manual delegates financial authority in a tiered manner to Council, Chief Executive Officer, executive and other employees to achieve the functions of Institute operations that have a financial element.  The tiered approach relies on hierarchical levels and monetary values to align the delegations with levels of responsibility.

    This Financial Delegations Manual is further supported by a range of practices, procedures and forms to ensure efficient and effective financial operations and management.  For example, the Procurement and Contract Policies and Procedures detail the processes to achieve procurement which satisfies the principles of achieving best value for money, withstanding public scrutiny, providing the opportunity for suppliers to participate, and purchasing goods and services that meet workplace health and safety standards and the requirements of our regulatory authorities.


    Reporting requirements delegated by Council to officers of the Institute and committees of Council are articulated in the Batchelor Institute Act.  The Chief Executive Officer supports the flow of information in presenting to each meeting of Council a report on the performance of the Institute and also identifies impending issues and risks facing the Institute. For the Chief Executive Officer’s Advisory committees these are articulated in the Terms of Reference of each committee.  To safeguard integrity and accountability of the monitoring function of committees, Council has established a Register of Disclosed Interests which members of Council and Institute committees are required to keep up-to-date with their current active, perceived or potential conflicts of interest, in addition to declaring conflicts of interest at meetings.

    Annual reporting and control includes an external financial audit by the Auditor-General of the Northern Territory and the Annual Report to the Northern Territory Government, which incorporates the audited financial statements and a report on governance matters, as required under the Batchelor Institute Act.

    The Institute registers, monitors and annually reviews all agreements, contracts and Memoranda of Understanding.

    The five year Strategic Plan cycle integrates a reporting and monitoring process through the provision of a quarterly report to SMC and Council to identify progress towards achievement of the Strategic Outcomes according to quantitative and qualitative measures.  The outcome of the review mechanism also identifies changes in external and internal environments; and the recommended action to adapt strategies accordingly. (download from this page)

    The annual Operational Plans are reported quarterly between Executive Directors and the Chief Executive Officer. The outcomes are reported to Council through the Chief Executive Officer on a quarterly basis toward a process of continuous improvement and reviewed in response to strategic reviews and its impact of the implementation of operations.

    Policies, By-laws, Codes of Conduct and Rules
    Policies and procedures are subject to a process of periodic review to ensure that the information contained in the document is still correct, accurately reflects the practices of Batchelor Institute and ensures they remain compliant with Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government legislation.

    Scheduled reviews are usually every three years for policy documents.  By-laws, Codes of Conduct and Rules are reviewed as necessary.

    Reviews of documents can also be carried out at any time if it becomes evident that the document requires amendment. Where a review is required that is not a scheduled review or there are minor amendments to be made, these can be requested through and made by the Senior Policy Officer at any time.