Delegations of Authority - Policy

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1. Purpose and Objectives

This Policy sets out the principles and framework for delegations of authority by the Senate of The University of Queensland.

The University of Queensland Act 1998 provides that Senate may delegate most of its powers. This allows Senate to make delegations of authority granting formal authority to commit the University to action and to incur liabilities.

In addition, this Policy meets the requirements of:

  • the Higher Education Standards Framework issued under the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 which requires Senate to ensure that its financial, academic and managerial delegations are appropriate, documented, observed and regularly reviewed; and
  • the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 which requires the University (as a statutory body) to establish a delegations system which supports the University's objectives and operations.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Academic rules means rules pertaining to the admission to, and delivery of, the academic programs of the University.

Delegate (noun) means a Staff member, a member of Senate or a Senate Committee to whom or to which a delegation of authority has been made.

Delegate (verb) means to authorise or entrust a Staff member, a member of Senate or a Senate Committee with decision-making power or authority to decide to take action in a specified area.

Delegation of authority means authority delegated by Senate or legislation to a Staff member, a member of Senate or a Senate Committee.

PPL means the University's Policy and Procedures Library [http://ppl.app.uq.edu.au]

Senate Committees

  • Buildings and Grounds Committee
  • Finance Committee
  • Honorary Degrees Committee
  • Legislative Committee
  • Membership and Nominations Advisory Committee
  • Risk Committee
  • Senate Committee of Equity, Diversity and the Status of Women
  • Student Appeals Committee

Staff means full-time and part-time academic and professional staff.

UQ Act means the University of Queensland Act 1998.

3. Policy Scope/Coverage

This Policy applies to all Staff members, members of Senate or a Senate Committee.

The scope of the powers delegated in accordance with this Policy is limited to the powers of Senate; a Delegate cannot exercise a power that Senate itself is not permitted to exercise.

This Policy does not apply to the controlled entities of the University. Boards of those entities must implement their own delegations of authority, consistent with their constitutions.

This Policy must be read with –

  • the University’s Code of Conduct, and
  • the Delegations Framework.

4. Policy Statement

This Policy sets out the authority by which Senate can Delegate its powers.

The UQ Act establishes the University and sets out its functions under the leadership of Senate, the University’s governing body which has the power to give effect to these functions. In particular Senate has the power to appoint the University’s Staff, manage and control the University’s affairs and property, and manage and control the University’s finances.

The UQ Act provides that Senate cannot Delegate its power to make university statutes or rules, or adopt the University’s annual budget, however in all other cases it may Delegate its power to an appropriately qualified –

  • member of Staff; or
  • committee that includes one or more members of Senate; or
  • member of Senate.

Via this Policy, Senate specifically Delegates those powers to:

  • Staff, as contained in the PPL, and
  • Senate Committees, as contained in the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

If Senate Delegates a power to a member of Senate, this will be done by a Senate Resolution.

Even though Senate Delegates its powers in this way, it retains and can still exercise all those same powers.

5. Delegations Framework

The Delegations Framework comprises an extract of Delegations of authority granted under the University’s Policies. It is intended as an easy reference of the major decision points within the University; there is no intention to cover all decisions.

The Delegations Framework must be read in the context of this Policy and accompanying Procedures. This Policy and the Delegations Framework do not relieve Staff members, Senate members, or Senate Committees from their duty to be fully conversant with the source materials which affect them and which give the context and rationale for the exercise of their delegated powers.

The adoption of this Policy and the publication of the Delegations Framework by Senate does not have the effect of making any of the Delegations of authority referred to in the Delegations Framework.

Delegations of authority are primarily established within particular Policies, but are also created by Statute or Delegations of authority recorded in Senate minutes. These Delegations of authority are merely recorded in the Delegations Framework for convenience.

While the main purpose of the Delegations Framework is to record the Delegations of authority, for completeness, the following are also included in the Delegations Framework:

  • Non-delegable functions of Senate under the UQ Act,
  • Any delegations under other legislation, and
  • Terms of reference of Senate committees.

6. Principles of Delegation

6.1 Vice-Chancellor’s authority and direction

Subject to any Policy which limits the authority of the Vice-Chancellor with respect to any issue, the Vice-Chancellor has authority to exercise all Delegations of authority made by Senate to Staff, except Delegations of authority relating to the terms of appointment, resignation or retirement of the Vice-Chancellor.

Delegates are always subject to the general direction and authority of the Vice-Chancellor.

Delegates are answerable to the Vice-Chancellor for the proper exercise of Delegations of authority in their area.

6.2 Delegations in accordance with legislation, PPL, academic rules

Delegations of authority must be exercised in accordance with legislation, in particular the UQ Act, the University’s PPL which includes the Code of Conduct, and all University Academic rules.

6.3 Delegations within any limits

Delegations of authority must be exercised in accordance with any limits to which the Delegation of authority is subject.

6.4 Staff may not commit the University without a current delegation in place

Staff must not commit the University to any action unless they hold a current Delegation of authority.

A Delegation of authority applies only to a Delegate’s area of accountability unless otherwise specified.

6.5 Delegations apply to higher positions

In most cases, Delegates are subject to the direction and supervision of Staff members more senior in the line of accountability than the Delegate.

Staff members more senior than the named Delegate hold the same delegated function as the named Delegate, provided there is no legal reason why the named Delegate alone must exercise that Delegation of authority.

6.6 No sub-delegation

Delegates cannot sub-delegate their delegated function under a Delegation of authority.

A Delegate may appoint a person or group, such as a committee, to advise about the exercise of a Delegation of authority, but the Delegate remains responsible for the exercise of the delegated power.

6.7 Delegate not compelled to exercise delegation

The fact that a Delegate holds a Delegation of authority does not oblige the Delegate to exercise the Delegation of authority. There may be instances where it would be more transparent, equitable or ethical not to exercise a Delegation of authority. If, in the opinion of the Delegate, special or unusual circumstances exist then the matter should be referred to Staff members more senior in the line of accountability than the Delegate, or the Vice-Chancellor.

6.8 Delegations are assigned to positions not individuals

Delegations of authority are assigned to positions not individuals. However, the individual occupying the position is responsible and accountable for the decisions made under a Delegation of authority.

Where Senate or a Delegate approves a change to the University’s administrative structure or to the title of a Staff position – with the effect that there is a reassignment of responsibility for a particular delegated function – authority to perform that delegated function is reassigned accordingly.

6.9 Acting positions

A Delegation of authority assigned to a position extends to Staff formally acting in that position. In such instances, the acting Staff member has the equivalent Delegation of authority as the person holding the substantive position.

6.10 Delegations must not be exercised where there is a conflict of interest

Delegations of authority must not be exercised where there is a perceived or actual conflict of interest (e.g. approval of own travel).

Delegates must understand and act in accordance with the provisions of the University’s Conflict of Interest Policy.

6.11 Approval of own recommendation not allowed

A Delegate must not exercise a Delegation of authority so as to approve a recommendation made either wholly or partly by the Delegate.

6.12 Authorisation of routine functions

A Delegate may not sub-delegate a function but may authorise a member of Staff (‘Authorised member of Staff’) to perform routine administrative tasks and systems processes required to carry out a Delegation of authority within their area of responsibility.

Certain delegated functions may not be authorised, where:

  • The terms of a Delegation of authority require the Delegate to personally exercise any significant, independent decision (e.g. whether a member of Staff has met the criteria for probation);
  • The decision would significantly affect the rights of an individual (e.g. expulsion of a student);
  • The decision requires the expenditure of funds by the University; and
  • The decision requires the signing of University contracts and agreements.

The actions of an Authorised member of Staff are taken to be the Delegate’s actions.

A Delegate retains personal accountability for the exercise of the Delegation of authority including compliance with applicable laws and the PPL.

An authorisation is to a particular member of Staff, not to a Staff position. An Authorised member of Staff holding an authorisation cannot delegate this authority.

If the Authorised member of Staff is required to provide a signature on behalf of the Delegate they must clearly indicate that they are acting under the authority of the Delegate, by stating ‘For and on behalf of <name of Delegate>‘.

The Delegate must ensure that:

  • The authorisation is within the Delegate’s limits as set out in the Delegations Framework.
  • The authorisation is given only to Staff members within the Delegate’s line of authority.
  • The Authorised member of Staff is qualified to exercise the function and is properly fulfilling their responsibilities at all times.
  • The Authorised member of Staff is appointed in writing by the Delegate which sets out the scope of the authority.
  • A list of Authorised members of Staff and their authorities is kept by each Delegate. At any time the Vice-Chancellor may request a Delegate to provide details of Authorised members of Staff.
  • The Authorised member of Staff receives adequate training to perform the authorised function, and is familiar with the relevant Policy in the PPL.

6.13 Delegations relating to Senate Committees

Delegations of authority assigned to Senate Committees are contained in the Committee’s Terms of Reference.

The Delegations of authority apply to the Senate Committee acting as a body.

6.14 Financial delegations

In addition to these general principles of delegations, specific principles relating to financial delegations are contained in the Financial Delegations Policy.

7. Delegate’s Responsibilities

A Delegation of authority represents a significant responsibility for those who hold them. Delegates must exercise care and diligence when carrying out their Delegations of authority. This Policy and the Delegations Framework do not relieve Delegates from their duty to be fully conversant with the source materials which affect them and which give the context and rationale for the exercise of their powers.

Delegates always remain responsible for making the decision.

Delegates must observe all the principles in this Policy.

Delegates can only act within the limits of their Delegation of authority.

Delegates must keep a record of all authorisations granted.

8. Breach of Delegations

A breach of the provisions of this Policy or the Delegations Framework may be regarded as misconduct or serious misconduct and may be subject to disciplinary action.

9. Auditing of Delegations and Authorisations

The exercise of Delegations of authority and authorisations will be subject to periodic review by the Chief Operating Officer.

A report of the review will be provided to the Senate Risk Committee, including any recommendations arising from the review.

10. Report Misuse of Delegations or Authorisations

Staff members who believe that a Delegation of authority or authorisation has been improperly exercised should refer the matter to the Vice-Chancellor or Chief Operating Officer who will investigate and act according to the outcome of the investigation.  

11. Queries or Comments

Queries or comments on any delegation matters should be directed to the Delegations Administrator.  

Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle
Chief Operating Officer
Mr Greg Pringle