University Consultancy Work - Operational Policy | UniSC | 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 University Consultancy Work.

1.2 University Consultancy Work refers to the provision of professional advisory services to commercial, government or other clients in the broader community by staff of the University on agreed commercial terms.

2. Scope and application of Policy

2.1 This policy applies to University Consultancy Work conducted by University employees, and where relevant students.

2.2 University Consultancy Work must be approved by the University and conducted in a commercial manner. The application of this policy and associated procedures will outline the process regarding whether consultancy work is permitted and if approved, the commercial fees required.

3. Definitions

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

University Consultancy involves the provision of professional advisory services by University staff on behalf of the University on a commercial basis to an external organisation.

University Consultancy Work Contract is a contract agreed between the University and a commercial, government or other legal entity for the delivery of a University Consultancy. Refer to the University’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.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 The University is committed to ensuring the provision of consultancy work is conducted in a commercial manner for the benefit of all parties involved.

5. Principles

5.1 There are five key principles central to University staff performing University Consultancy Work. These are:

Principle 1 Maintaining Priorities: The priority activity for staff is to fulfil their employment/contractual obligations to the University in such areas as teaching, research and servicing core functions that further the mission of the University. 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 of the University.

Principle 2 Ethical Behaviour: In discharging the University’s contractual obligations under the University Consultancy Work Contract a staff member will display the highest possible ethical standards. The staff member should be cognisant of any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest arising out of the University Consultancy Work and ensure that the University is advised in such circumstances.

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 the University. Failure to comply with these accountability requirements will be considered as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.

Principle 4 Legal and Financial Arrangements: In general, the University accepts liability for the conduct of staff undertaking an approved University Consultancy and provides them with professional indemnity cover, however this is subject to the 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 rather to benefit the University. 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.

5.2 Participation and benefits of University Consultancy Work

5.2.1 This policy encourages staff participation in University Consultancy Work that brings benefits to staff, the University and the community. Some of the benefits to the University may include:

(a) the ability to attract and retain high quality staff, particularly in some professional areas;

(b) opportunities for staff to maintain their professional skills and professional memberships; and

(c) opportunities for the University to perform its community service role.

5.2.2 Some of the benefits to University staff include:

(a) access to advice in contractual arrangements, administrative support including invoicing of the external organisation for funding, assistance with expending consultancy costs, and distribution of any surplus;

(b) access to the University's resources: technical and other expert staff, equipment, administration and telecommunications, approved by the Chief Operating Officer (following endorsement of the relevant Executive member) on recommendations from the Organisational Unit Manager as applicable;

(c) ability to use the University's name; and

(d) cover by University's professional indemnity and public liability insurances

5.3 Amount of consultancy work

5.3.1 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 exceeded (subject to agreement by the Organisational Unit Manager).

5.3.2 Staff may be required to undertake particular University Consultancy Work. Subject to the approval of the Chief Operating Officer on recommendations by the Organisational Unit 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. Authorities/Responsibilities

6.1 The following authorities are delegated under this policy:


University Officer

Responsible for the administration of the terms of the Agreement, including financial administration

Delegate authorising agreement

Review proposed consultancy and put forward recommendations

Organisational Unit Manager

Determine whether the proposed consultancy is research in nature and thereby subject to the Externally Funded Research – Academic Policy

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)

Approve proposed consultancies.

Chief Operating Officer following endorsement from the relevant Executive member

Administration and management of University Consultancy Work

Chief Financial Officer (in conjunction with lead consultant and Organisational Unit Administration)