University Consultancy Work - Operational Policy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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University Consultancy Work - Operational Policy

1. Purpose of policy

1.1 This policy specifies the principles for establishing and managing consultancy work.

1.2 University consultancy work refers to the full range of services that may be provided to commercial, government or other clients in the broader community by staff of the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) for an agreed cost. The University would usually make a profit on the consultancy and any funding remaining after work on the consultancy has finished does not have to be returned to the client.

2. Scope and application of Policy

2.1 This policy applies to university consultancy work conducted within the time allocation allowed by USC for this purpose or where University resources and facilities are utilised to deliver a service as a consequence of the reputation of USC and the individual's affiliation with and skills/knowledge demonstrated at USC.

2.2 This policy applies to all staff of the University of the Sunshine Coast including full-time and fractional staff (above 50 per cent) on fixed-term or ongoing appointments, as well as to staff on leave.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Term for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Consultancies involve the provision of expert advice or assistance by staff on behalf of the University on a commercial basis to an external organization, for an agreed cost. The University would usually make a profit on the consultancy and any funding remaining after work on the consultancy has finished does not have to be returned to the client.

University Consultancy Work Contract is a contract agreed between the University and a commercial, government, or other legal entity to deliver a consultancy. Refer to USC’s Management of Contracts and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) - Governing Policy.

University Consultancy Work is a form of consultancy work, conducted under a University Consultancy Work Contract, and compliant with this policy and related procedure. Note that the existence of a University Consultancy means that by definition, a Consultancy Work Contract has been made.

4. Participation and benefits of university consultancy work

4.1 This policy encourages staff participation in university consultancy work that brings benefits to staff, the University and the community. Some of the benefits to USC may include:

  • the ability to attract and retain high quality staff, particularly in some professional areas
  • opportunities for staff to maintain their professional skills and professional memberships
  • opportunities for the University to perform its community service role

4.2 Some of the benefits to staff include:

  • cover by University's professional indemnity and public liability insurances;
  • access to advice in contractual arrangements, administrative support including invoicing of the external organisation for funding, assistance with expending project costs, and distribution of any surplus;
  • access to the University's resources: technical and other expert staff, equipment, administration and telecommunications, approved by the Chief Operating Officer on recommendations from the Cost Centre Manager as applicable; and
  • ability to use the University's name.

5. Amount of consultancy work

5.1 The workload time allowance for engaging in approved university consultancy work for staff is up to 20 per cent of a working year averaged at one day of a five day working week, unless there is a specific benefit to the University, in which case this cap can be agreed and exceeded.

5.2 Staff may be required to undertake particular University Consultancy Work. Subject to the approval of the Chief Operating Officer on recommendations by the Cost Centre Manager, such University Consultancy Work is regarded as part of normal employment. Under these circumstances, the University Consultancy Work may comprise the full workload of the staff member.

6. Key principles

There are five key principles central to USC staff performing university consultancy work. These are:

Principle 1 Maintaining Priorities: The priority activity for staff is to fulfil their employment/contractual obligations to USC in such areas as teaching, research and servicing core functions that further the mission of the University. Consultancy work should be approved only in those cases where there will be no undue impact on the workload of colleagues or on the staff member’s contribution as an academic citizen of the University.

Principle 2 Ethical Behaviour: In discharging their contractual obligations and in any other external liaison with members of the community, a staff member will display the highest possible ethical standards. The employee should be cognisant of any apparent (or perceived) conflict of interest arising out of the University consultancy work and ensure that USC and other parties are advised.

Principle 3 Accountability: University consultancy work will occur within an accountability framework with clear requirements for approvals, recording and reporting of these activities on behalf of USC. Failure to comply with these accountability requirements will be considered as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.

Principle 4 Legal and Financial Arrangements: USC accepts liability for the conduct of approved University consultancies and provides professional indemnity cover for staff members undertaking University consultancies to the normal limit and under the regular conditions of the University’s insurance policies.

Principle 5 Market Competition: The opportunity to engage in University consultancy work is not given to staff for the purpose of enabling them to supplement their incomes, but any fees charged (where the consultancy is not community pro bono work) should not be less than the normal professional fee. Additionally, no individual staff should solicit University consultancy work by any form of public advertisement.

7. Approval and responsibilities

The following authorities are delegated under this policy:

Activity University Officer
Review business case and put forward recommendations Cost Centre Manager
Determine whether the business case is research in nature and thereby subject to the External Research Grants – Academic Policy Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)
Approve consultancy business case proposals Chief Operating Officer
Administration and management of consultancy work Chief Financial Officer (in conjunction with chief principal and Cost Centre administration)