Policy vs Procedure

Policy vs Procedure


Qualities of a Policy In the Handbook of Operating Procedures (“HOP”)


Policy provides the governing framework within which the institution functions. Collectively, they steer focus and resources on critical and priority issues enabling alignment of efforts to achieve the university’s mission. They provide the university community with the “what” is important, “why” the policy is required and “who” is responsible for its execution. Policies in the HOP may also be created to meet requirements of federal and state laws and regulations, UT System Board of Regents Rules and Regulations, or UT System policies affecting the university.


Policies belonging in UT Austin’s Handbook of Operating Procedures should:

  • have a broad application throughout the university or affect a broad range of the campus community
  • enhance the university’s mission, mitigate institutional risk, and/or promote operational efficiency
  • contain governing principles or rules which mandate or constrain action or articulates desired outcomes and provides the minimal procedures for implementation (See note regarding procedures)
  • may assist in further compliance with applicable laws, regulations, UT System Board of Regents’ Rules and Regulations, or UT System policies. not require frequent change by nature of its inclusion in the HOP
  • be sponsored by a least one university executive and have a designated policy owner
  • be approved by the Vice President for Legal Affairs
  • be approved by the president after completion of the HOP policy development process

Qualities of a Procedure


Procedures are the operational processes necessary to implement institutional policy. They define the specific instructions necessary to perform the task. They detail:

  • "who" performs the procedure
  • "what" steps should be taken
  • "when" steps should be taken
  • "how" steps should be performed