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Category Marketing and Communication
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 5 September 2011
Date Policy Took Effect 6 September 2011
Last approved revision 12 June 2017
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)
Responsible officer Director, Marketing Services


The University of Otago's goal for its web presence is to provide a usable, informative, consistent and up-to-date online presence that represents and promotes the teaching, research, values, and culture of the University of Otago to all its students, staff, colleagues and external users.

This Policy provides a set of principles to support this overall goal. More specific advice is available in the University of Otago Web Guidelines.

Organisational scope

The Web Policy applies to the web presence of any department, group, centre or other organisational unit that is a part of, or owned, managed and staffed by the University, or run by funding won under the auspices of the University, irrespective of whether their website is hosted on University servers or otherwise.

The Web Policy differentiates between University websites, built specifically for the University of Otago and over which the University has comprehensive control, and the University's wider web presence, which includes material provided through external websites and third-party applications, over which control is more limited.

Joint venture collaborators are strongly encouraged to use this Web Policy as a reference.


University web presence
All webpages available via the internet which purport to represent all or part of the University of Otago, including webpages associated with applications, blogs, social media and other web-based services.
University  websites
A subset of the University web presence, encompassing all webpages created specifically for the University of Otago; for the purposes of this Policy this definition excludes third-party application webpages (e.g. Blackboard webpages) and external webpages upon which the University may have a presence (e.g. Facebook).
Content Management System (CMS)
Software, or a suite of software applications, that is used to prepare, publish and manage content in a web-ready format.
Heads of Departments
For the purpose of this policy, the term Heads of Departments includes Directors of Centres and Research Groups, and Directors of Service Divisions.
Web Contact Person
A nominated departmental, or cross-departmental, contact person who can direct queries on content and technical issues to the appropriate person for action.
Social media
The creation, dissemination and exchange of user-generated content in an electronic and online setting using (but not limited to) social networks.
Te Reo Māori
The Māori language.
Te Ao Māori
The Māori world or a Māori worldview.
Kaupapa Māori
Any particular plan of action created by Māori, expressing Māori aspirations and expressing Māori values and principles.


1. Branding

  1. University websites will convey the University's brand, be clearly identifiable as a part of the University, and reflect the University's broad values and culture.  A consistent and identifiable representation of the University will be prioritised.
  2. Other parts of the University's web presence should, so far as is practically possible, adhere to the requirements for University websites detailed in clause 1(a) above.

2. Web Content

  1. The University will maintain a high standard of communication through its web presence by managing the publishing, monitoring, maintenance and archiving of content.
  2. Content will be:
    1. up-to-date and accurate
    2. conveyed clearly and unambiguously, in a tone appropriate to the audience and consistent with the image and reputation of the University
    3. delivered in an appropriate format for its intended audience, and
    4. sourced from primary authoritative sources where practical.
  3. Te Reo Māori, Te Ao Māori, and Kaupapa Māori will be an integral part of the web presence.
  4. Social media content will be managed, including through appropriate monitoring and moderating, to ensure that the reputation, standards and policies of the University are maintained.
  5. Content of a confidential or sensitive nature will be restricted to the appropriate audience.
  6. Web content will be subject to appropriate record-keeping, including archiving of content which is no longer current.

3. Functional Specifications (including Accessibility and Security)

  1. University websites shall be built and operated using the University's designated Content Management System (CMS).
  2. University websites shall be built so as to be sustainable, flexible and robust, taking into account current applicable web standards and using syntactically correct code.
  3. University websites will be hosted on and served up through the University's network or through other services/networks approved by Information Technology Services.
  4. The University will commit to a high standard of accessibility for all web users, including those with disabilities or impairments, and will aim to meet or exceed the goals set by New Zealand Government Web Standards.
  5. Best practice security will be applied to the University's web presence, to prevent insecure websites and online applications from risking or causing significant damage to the University.

4. Responsibilities

  1. All participants in the University's web presence must comply with the laws of New Zealand.
  2. Heads of Departments are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Web Policy so as to maintain the integrity of the University's web presence; Heads of Departments are encouraged to appoint or nominate a Web Contact Person to assist with this at an operational level.
  3. Web Services is responsible for providing services to assist Heads of Departments to comply with the Web Policy, and for ensuring that these best practice standards are met in all websites produced using the central Content Management System.
  4. The Head of Web Services (in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or senior University officer) is responsible for taking appropriate steps to remove content and/or functionality that may result in legal liability or damage to the reputation of the University.
  5. The Manager, Information Security Office (in conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or senior University officer where appropriate) is responsible for managing the process of taking appropriate steps to restrict access to, or take down, websites or online applications where those websites or online applications pose considerable risk to the University.
  6. The Web Advisory Committee is responsible for the review of this Policy, and the related Web Guidelines, as required under the University's Policy Framework.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact the

Senior Strategy and Policy Adviser
External Engagement

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