University Consultancy Work - Procedures - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Accessibility links

University Consultancy Work - Procedures

1. Applications

1.1 Staff intending to prepare consultancy applications notify the Office of Research/Financial Services via an email to the Research Development Team with a copy to the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager, at least 20 days prior to submitting the application.

1.2 The applicant prepares a business case detailing the strategic benefits to USC, any direct cost estimates, overhead cost estimates, terms for distribution of income, details USC equipment required, expected profit and expected duration of the consultancy work, and forwards the completed documentation with the consultancy application to the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager.

1.3 The Head of School or Cost Centre Manager checks the application and business case, endorses them when satisfied that they are complete, accurate and sound, and forwards them to the Office of Research/Financial Services at least 10 working days prior to submission of the application.

1.4 The Office of Research reviews the business case to determine research component, if any. For projects deemed to be contract research, the External Research Grants – Academic Policy and Procedures will apply. If deemed to be a consultancy (i.e. non-research), the project will be passed to Financial Services to commence administration.

1.5 Financial Services acknowledges receipt of the application within 5 working days, opens a temporary file for the application, and enters key information into the relevant contracts system.

1.6 Financial Services checks the business case and endorses them when satisfied that they are complete, accurate and legally appropriate.

1.7 Financial Services forwards the application and business case to the Chief Operating Officer recommending University endorsement.

1.8 When the Chief Operating Officer has endorsed the application, Financial Services submits the application by the due date, clearly indicating who the institutional contact for the application is (relevant delegate within Financial Services).

1.9 Financial Services places a copy of the application, business case and covering letter/email to the funding body, onto the temporary file, and adjusts the contracts system as necessary.

1.10 Financial Services notifies the applicant, Head of School or Cost Centre Manager of the outcome of the application as soon as it is notified.

2. Costing and Pricing

Where University consultancies could also be undertaken by other professionals on a commercial basis, fees charged should be comparable to normal professional fees. In particular circumstances where it can be demonstrated to be consistent with the community service role of USC, lesser fees may be charged. Internal approval must be sought prior to University staff submitting a proposal or quote to a client.

2.1 Direct costs

The price should cover all direct costs associated with carrying out the University consultancy works, including:

  • salaries of the University staff undertaking the consultancy work (including staff payroll costs plus staff on-costs, such as payroll tax and superannuation)
  • administrative and technical costs
  • charges for the use of equipment or space
  • provision of data services
  • travel and accommodation
  • consumables
  • salaries and on-costs for staff hired specifically for the purpose of undertaking or contributing to the consultancy.
2.2 Overhead costs

The price should cover all overhead costs incurred by USC. These typically include costs associated with the use of facilities (for example lights, power, telephone, computer and certain equipment), administrative support, legal costs, insurance costs, cleaning and maintenance, project administration, audit, and financial management costs.

2.3 Distribution of income

Net proceeds from University consultancies after all direct and overhead costs have been paid will be distributed as follows, unless prior arrangements have been made with the Chief Operating Officer:

  • Staff member/School/Cost Centre (at the discretion of the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager) – 70 per cent
  • Central University Fund (managed by the Chief Financial Officer) – 30 per cent.

With the approval of the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager, staff may elect to receive the proceeds from University consultancy work by direct payment through the University’s payroll and therefore form part of their taxable income, or contribute the proceeds to a University restricted account for use in ways that benefit both the University and individual staff, for example, through defraying the costs of conference participation, travel and the purchase of work-related equipment.

3. Contracts

3.1 Financial Services liaises between the lead consultant and the funding body to reach agreement on the final form of the contract to be signed by the University and the funding body.

3.2 Financial Services obtains legal advice for contract negotiations as required.

3.3 When the terms of the contract have been settled Financial Services prepares copies of the contract for signing by the Chief Operating Officer and the authorised officer of the funding body.

3.4 If the final terms of the project are different from the original application, the cover sheet is adjusted accordingly and newly endorsed by the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager and Chief Operating Officer.

3.5 Financial Services forwards copies of the contract to the Chief Operating Officer with a memorandum recommending that the contract be signed.

3.6 When the Chief Operating Officer has signed the contract, Financial Services submits copies of the contract to the funding body for signature.

3.7 When copies of the contract have been signed and returned, Financial Services places a scanned copy of the signed contract in to the contract system within 3 working days of receipt of the signed contract.

4. Project Establishment

4.1 Financial Services opens a file in the University’s record management system for the project and places the contents of Financial Services file and the contract, and any new cover sheet, onto the file and adjusts the contract system data as necessary.

4.2 Financial Services opens a special purpose account for the project and provides a copy of the account name and number to the lead consultant and School Administrator within 3 working days of the agreement being executed.

4.3 Financial Services provides access to the project account for the lead consultant and the School Administrator, and ensures the lead consultant and the School Administrator receives regular project account activity reports.

4.4 Financial Services invoices the funding body according to the funding schedule in the contract, ensures the funds are credited to the project account, notifies the lead consultant and the School Administrator, and updates the file and contract system.

4.5 The lead consultant and the School Administrator, at the earliest opportunity, distribute funds from the project account according to the terms of the cover sheet.

4.6 The lead consultant and the School Administrator manage project funds so that project expenditure matches the project budget.

5. Project Management and Administration

5.1 Projects are managed by the lead consultant, assisted by Financial Services and the School Administrator according to the contract, particularly in relation to the specified project milestones, progress reporting, project budget and cover sheet arrangements.

5.2 Project expenditure is authorised according to the project budget by the lead consultant and appropriate financial delegate.

5.3 Financial Services provides regular and timely project activity reports to lead consultant and School Administrator.

5.4 Financial Services monitors project management, ensuring lead consultants receive timely reminders about project reporting, managing any contract variations, and maintaining the project file and contract system.

5.5 The lead consultant forwards progress reports and final reports to Financial Services in a timely manner, and Financial Services submits them to the funding body.

6. Completion of the project

6.1 The lead consultant notifies Financial Services in writing when the project has been completed.

6.2 Financial Services closes the special project account and manages financial acquittal of the project according to the terms of the cover sheet and agreement, including the distribution of the net proceeds in accordance with the original agreement (refer 2.3) and any auditing requirements.

6.3 Financial Services completes the records of the project on the file and contract system, closes the project file, and informs the lead consultant, School Administrator and Financial Services.

7. Reporting

The aggregate of information on all University consultancy work undertaken by staff must be summarised by the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager onto an annual University Consultancy Work Report. It is the responsibility of the Head of School or Cost Centre Manager to forward this report each year, to the Chief Operating Officer who will table the reports with the University Executive as required.