Procedures

Special Payments - Procedures

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1. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this document is to outline the procedures regarding special payments made on behalf of the University.

2. Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Prescribed Special Payments - include ex-gratia payments, extra-contractual payments, out of court settlements and court ordered damages.

Ex-gratia Payments - are payments made when it is not legally due either under a contract or otherwise, e.g. when a special bonus payment is made to an employee or when a payment is made to a contractor on the grounds of hardship because of an excessive loss on a fixed price contract.

Extra-contractual Payments - are payments made when, although there is no clear legal obligation to make a payment under the terms of the contract, the circumstances are such that a Court might hold that an obligation exists e.g. a contractor who incurs additional costs as a result of a department's inaction.

Other Special Payments - payments that are normally of a personal or private nature.

3. Procedures Scope/Coverage

These procedures apply to all University staff who request payment for products or services that fall under the "special payment" classification.

4. Procedures Statement

The University monitors all prescribed special payments made by the University through the use of a Prescribed Special Payments Register.

All special payments are to be approved in accordance with the University's delegations.

It is the responsibility of all UQ staff making the prescribed special payment to identify and report all special payments over $5,000 to the Accounting and Reporting Section within FBS.

The Accounting and Reporting Section within FBS are responsible for maintaining the Prescribed Special Payments Register of prescribed special payments over $5,000.

5. Types of Other Special Payments

Some types of payments require additional information or a special approval to be submitted.  Items that fall under this category of official expenditure must clearly relate to the category of official duties and responsibilities.  The benefit to the University of incurring these costs must be clearly documented and approved by the appropriate delegate. All authorisations of expenditure need to be "publicly defensible".

This applies for example, to the following:

Other Special Payments:

  • Journal subscriptions and book purchases
  • Membership subscriptions
  • Sponsorships
  • Donations

5.1 Journal subscriptions and book purchases

University policy allows Schools to purchase books and subscribe to journals and periodicals which provide a direct benefit to the University and are not of a personal nature. Where possible, the subscription must be in the name of the University. However, if the organisation does not provide for an institutional subscription rate, subscription in the name of an individual would be acceptable. Payment of individual books and subscriptions is at the discretion of the Head of School/Centre. The following details must be provided with the purchase order/reimbursement form:

  • Benefit to the University, and
  • Confirm that the book/journal/periodical is available to all staff members.

5.2 Membership subscriptions

The payment of a personal membership of a professional association or other organisation or of a specialist registration may not be made from University funds. These fees are a personal expense of staff members.

Memberships may be paid however, from University funds where:

  • An association allows the corporate body (the University) to become the member, thus extending coverage to all relevant staff members. Details as to the benefit of the subscription to the University must be provided with the purchase order.
  • At the discretion of the Head of School/Unit, personal memberships may be paid where they allow the member access to benefits including journals, published by a specialised interest group or association, which are not otherwise attainable. The following details must be provided with the purchase order/reimbursement form recorded by the School:
    • The benefit of the subscription to the University, and
    • Confirmation that the journal/periodical is available to all staff members (where applicable).

Memberships for recreational, sporting or social clubs are the personal expense of staff members and may not be paid or reimbursed from UQ administered funds, including consultancies.

Airline memberships are excluded from this policy.

5.3 Sponsorships

Sponsorships of events and activities provides the University with an opportunity for marketing and other publicity. In other cases the sponsorship may assist the organisation providing a service that is of benefit to students and which would be costly for the School to provide from in-house resources. Payments for sponsorship require:

  • Justification of the reason in terms of benefit to the University, and
  • Approval from the Head of School.

Refer to PPL 9.30.04 Scholarships and Prizes for further information.

5.4 Donations

Donations to authorised charities of more than $100 require the approval of the Head of School and a written justification as to the reasons for the donation. Refer to PPL 9.30.05 Donations and Bequests for further information.

6. Types of Prescribed Special Payments

The schedule dictionary of the Financial Accountability Act 2009 defines special payments as ex-gratia payments and other expenditure that is not under a contract.

As per Accounting Policy Guideline 5 (APG5), a payment is 'ex-gratia' when it is not legally due either under a contract or otherwise, e.g. when a payment is made to a contractor on the grounds of hardship because of an excessive loss on a fixed price contract.

Expenditure which is not under a contract can relate to:

i) Out of court settlements arising from the normal course of operations.

ii) Extra-contractual payments which occur when there is no clear obligation to make a payment under the contract terms, however, a court might hold that an obligation exists e.g. a contractor who incurs additional costs a result of an agency's inaction.

Section 20(1) of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009 requires that the University keep a register of prescribed special payments of more than $5,000.

The register of prescribed special payments is maintained by the Accounting and Reporting Section of FBS.

The following information pertaining to each prescribed special payment made by an officer of the University is to be forwarded to the Accounting and Reporting Section of FBS for entry into the register:

  • The date of the payment.
  • The recipient of the payment.
  • The reason for the payment.
  • The approval given for the payment.
  • Any other details considered as relevant.

Disclosure in the financial statements is required of the total amount for each class of special payment (not just those greater than $5,000). In addition, the note must include a description of the nature of all special payments greater than $5,000.

7. 'Grey Areas' - Non-official or Private Expenditure

In a situation where there is some doubt about the validity of claiming particular expenditure (e.g. where there is doubt that an activity or function relates to the employee's official duties), the appropriate Executive Dean and others should make a determination in relation to the principles of these guidelines. Decisions should be able to withstand the public defensibility test. In particularly ambiguous situations, advice should be sought from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts

Forms

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Donation or Community Sponsorship Payment - Form

Donation or Community Sponsorship Payment - Form

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Description: 

This form is used to authorise and process the payment of donations or community sponsorship.  Beneficiaries of these payments are not required to be established as vendors in UniFi.  

This form is designed for electronic completion.

Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts
Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts
Custodians
Chief Financial Officer
Mr Andrew Betts