1. Purpose of policy
This policy provides a framework and clear principles for the delegation of authority within the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and should be read in conjunction with the associated Delegations Schedule and Preamble.
2. Policy scope and application
2.1 This policy applies to all University staff and members of the University decision-making or advisory bodies.
2.2 Delegations outlined in this policy and the supporting Delegations Schedule and Preamble apply to all University activities across all campuses and locations.
2.3 This policy does not apply to the controlled entities of the University. Boards of these entities must ensure the development and approval of delegations of authority that are consistent with their constitution.
3. Regulatory background
3.1 In accordance with the University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (the Act), the University Council is the University's governing body (section 8(1)) and has been empowered to do anything necessary or convenient to perform its functions (section 9(1)). In particular, Council has been given the power to appoint the University's staff, to manage and control the University's affairs and property, and to manage and control the University's finances (section 9(2)).
3.2 Under the Act:
a) Council may delegate its powers to appropriately qualified members of Council, members of staff, or to committees that include at least one member of Council (section 11(1)).
b) Council may not delegate its power to make University statutes or rules, to adopt the University's annual budget, or to approve spending of funds available to the University by way of bequest, donation or special grant greater than A$100,000 (section 11(2)).
3.3 In accordance with the Act, the Vice-Chancellor and President (VCP) is the chief executive officer of the University and may exercise the powers and perform the functions conferred by the Act, the Council or another Act (section 32(4)).
3.4 The Vice-Chancellor and President may delegate the powers of the vice-chancellor under the USC Act or another Act to an appropriately qualified member of staff (section 32(5)).
Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions that are specific to this policy and are critical to the effectiveness of it, which are not already included in the Glossary, are listed below:
Delegate (noun) means the position/committee of the University who has been authorised to carry out the delegation outlined in this policy or Delegation Schedule.
Delegation means the conveyance of authority to a position or committee to act on behalf of the University, or to bind the University within the scope of authority to a legally enforceable obligation. Typically, a power or discretion is what is being delegated.
Source means the relevant legislative or University authoritative reference that permits the delegation.
5. Policy statement
5.1 The University considers that Delegations are a critical component of the University’s governance framework in order to ensure strong, effective and efficient governance and management of the University. This commitment to sound corporate governance and administrative practices represents a significant responsibility for those who hold delegations of authority.
5.2 Delegations are the mechanisms by which the University enables its officers to act on behalf of the University. Delegations provide formal authority to staff to commit the University and/or incur liabilities for the University.
5.3 Delegations of authority should:
a) Support the implementation of objectives and the achievement of goals in the University’s strategic plan;
b) Provide authority to University staff, committees and bodies in accordance with the University’s rules, policies, procedures and guidelines;
c) Be officially recorded and accessible to the University community;
d) Align responsibility and accountability in a way that facilitates efficiency and effectiveness, and also increases the accountability of staff for their performance;
e) Reflect the University’s commitment to probity and equity in all of its activities; and
f) Place decision-making powers as close as possible to the point of service delivery within the University, thus allowing decisions to be made more efficiently and effectively in response to stakeholder needs.
6. Delegations Framework
6.1 The Delegations Framework is guided by principles set out in the Governance Framework – Governing Policy.
6.2 The Delegations Framework comprises:
a) Powers and functions ensconced in Legislation, including –
- University of the Sunshine Coast Act 1998 (the Act)
- Other relevant legislation
b) This legislative power is vested in either the Council or the Vice-Chancellor and President.
c) The Council or the Vice-Chancellor and President may, in accordance with the relevant Act, delegate the authority, where it is legally able to be re-assigned or delegated.
d) The delegation of authorisations are conferred in Instruments of Delegations, such as –
- formal instruments of specific delegation to senior officers
- position descriptions or statements of responsibilities
- Council statutes, rules, codes, policies and plans
- terms of reference for Boards or committees
- formal written agreements
- other instruments as Council sees fit (including the University’s Delegations Schedule and Preamble).
d) Delegation may be for a specific occasion or on a continuing basis. All continuing Instruments of Delegations must be recorded in the University’s Delegation Schedule or associated sub-schedules.
f) The University’s Delegations Schedule and associated sub-schedules are the official record of any functions, duties or powers that have been delegated by the Council, Vice-Chancellor and President or under an Act, to a position, committee or entity, and will identify the source document to which the delegation relates (being the Act, University statute, regulation, or so forth).
7.1 General principles
a) Delegations must be exercised within the framework of the University's Acts, Statutes, Regulations, Rules, Policies and Procedures, and any external legislative requirements.
b) A delegation can only be exercised within the scope of the delegate’s responsibilities, regardless of financial limits imposed.
c) If a position or committee is abolished or re-named, the delegation should be taken to be a reference to the principal successor to the functions of that position or committee.
d) No delegate is authorised to on-delegate, any or all of the delegated function, to another person or group of persons. However, it may be appropriate in some cases that other officers may be authorised by the delegate to undertake certain administrative tasks and systems processes required to give effect to the exercise of the delegation. In these circumstances the delegate is to seek written approval from the Chief Operating Officer who will ensure that this is clearly stated in the Delegations Schedule or associated sub-schedule.
7.2 Delegations to committees or other bodies:
a) Delegations made to a committee or other body must be included in their Terms of Reference or constitution of the committee.
b) Delegations can only be exercised when the committee or body is acting as a whole in accordance with their Terms or Reference or Constitution. These delegations cannot be exercised by individual members unless so authorised by the committee or body in their Terms of Reference, Constitution or in accordance with this policy and the supporting Delegations Schedules and sub-schedules.
7.3 Delegations to positions:
a) Delegations are issued to a position in the organisational structure. Officers holding these positions are responsible and accountable for decisions that they make in exercising their delegations.
b) Delegations extend to the officer substantially appointed to that position and any person acting in that position for a specified period, unless otherwise excluded in the terms of the temporary appointment.
7.4 Delegate’s responsibilities:
When exercising delegations, delegates:
a) should act in a manner consistent with the University’s Staff Code of Conduct;
b) must advise of and avoid any actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest;
c) must be aware of and refer to all relevant University rules, policies, procedures and guidelines as well as external legislative requirements;
d) must maintain records, receipts and any other form of documentation relevant to the exercise of their delegation in accordance with the University’s Information Management Framework – Governing Policy;
e) are required to attend any University training or induction in relation to their delegations;
f) are required to follow any specific requirements of their delegation, in relation to:
- seeking advice before exercising the delegation,
- reporting to the relevant authority following the exercising of the delegation;
g) are not obliged to exercise a delegation if in their opinion there are special or unusual circumstances that would make it more transparent, equitable or ethical for the matter to be considered at a more senior level in the line of responsibility for their accountability area.
7.5 Breaches of delegations:
a) Delegates can only act within the limits of their power and delegation.
b) Breaches of the provisions of this policy and the Delegations Schedule or associated sub-schedules may be regarded as misconduct/serious misconduct and subject to disciplinary action. The University may also be obligated to report serious matters to external agencies such as the police or Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) for further action.
8. Authorities and responsibilities
8.1 In accordance with this Policy, Council gives authority to the Vice-Chancellor and President:
a) for amendment and maintenance of the Delegations Schedule and associated sub-schedules to ensure consistency with delegations from approved authorities such as Council resolutions;
b) to appoint an appropriately qualified officer to maintain the Delegations Schedule and associated sub-schedules.
8.2 In accordance with clause 8.1(b) above, the Vice-Chancellor and President gives authority to the Chief Operating Officer to maintain the Delegations Schedule and associated sub-schedules.
8.3 The USC Financial Management Schedule of Sub-Delegations is a sub-schedule to the USC Delegations Schedule. Under this Policy, Council gives authority:
a) to the Vice- Chancellor and President for this sub-schedule to be issued or amended for sub-delegations up to and including A$500,000;
b) to the Chief Financial Officer for this sub-schedule to be issued or amended for sub-delegations up to and including A$100,000; and
c) to the Chief Financial Officer to maintain this sub-schedule.
8.4 The USC Human Resource Management Schedule of Sub-Delegations is a sub-schedule to the USC Delegations Schedule. Under this Policy, Council gives authority to:
a) the Vice-Chancellor and President to delegate in writing, authority for specific Human Resource activities to an appropriately qualified staff member; and
b) the Chief Operating Officer to maintain this sub-schedule.
8.5 From the date approved by the Council, this policy and the supporting Delegations Schedules will supersede and revoke all previous delegations of authority. Acts performed under pervious delegations of authority are not invalidated by this policy and the supporting Delegation Schedule and associated sub-schedules.
The Chief Operating Officer is to review this policy and the related Delegations Schedule and Preamble every 12 months in accordance with recommendations from the University’s external auditors.
The University of the Sunshine Coast acknowledges the Delegations of Authority Policy from the University of Newcastle (as at 14 October 2011) and the Delegations Policy from Curtin University (as at 14 March 2012).
Appendix A –Delegation Schedule and Preamble (staff access only)