Printer-friendly version

1.0 Purpose and Scope

The University of Queensland (UQ or the University) is committed to facilitating its Staff to partner with industry, government and other organisations to enable their specialised skills to be used to the benefit of our society. This may be achieved through UQ staff engaging in Consultancy. 

This procedure must be read in conjunction with the Consultancy, Secondary Employment and Internal Work Policy and the Research and Consultancy Costing and Pricing Procedures and outlines UQ’s requirements for consultancy including:

  • The types of consultancy;
  • Approval and management of personal payments from consultancy activities; and
  • Use of consultancy accounts.

All actual, perceived, and potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed and managed in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy and its procedures.

This procedure applies to University staff and Affiliates unless stated otherwise.

2.0 Process and Key Controls

  1. Standard and Teaching Consultancy must be approved by a Level 5 Authorised Officer (or above) in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule prior to contract signature and commencement of work.
  2. Individual financial consultancy projects are required to be established where the income and expenditure relating to a consultancy needs to be separately identified and managed. 
  3. Any consultancy activities that do not meet the criteria for an individual project may be recorded within the individual staff member’s consultancy account using the appropriate fund code.
  4. The staff conducting the work and those approving must ensure compliance with relevant University policies, procedures and tools. Consultancy funding is to be used in accordance with the contract conditions and all University policies and procedures.
  5. Consultancy costs, margin and surplus must be managed in accordance with table 1 of the Appendix (section 7.1) and in accordance with the Research and Consultancy Costing and Pricing Procedure.

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Consultancy types

Three different types of consultancy are distinguished in this section:

1. Standard Consultancy (section 3.1.1)

  • Type 1
  • Type 2
  • Type 3

2. Teaching Consultancy (section 3.1.2)

  • Type A
  • Type B

3. Academic Consultancy (section 3.1.3)

3.1.1 Standard Consultancy

Standard Consultancy includes, without limitation, professional services, expert opinion, advice, analysis, product testing, general testing services and process development.

Three distinct types of standard consultancy are applied to academic staff, based on a combination of significance and value, strategic importance and the operating model of the organisational unit are recognised:

Type 1 is based on the operating model and strategic requirements of the organisational unit rather than the monetary value of the consultancy work. The primary purpose of Type 1 is to support the budget of the organisational unit. Type 1 is currently limited to the Sustainable Minerals Institute, Institute for Social Sciences Research, and any research infrastructure services.

Type 2 is a contract or engagement that results in over $10,000 of direct costs to UQ. Type 2 is strategically important, usually collaborative, must be supported by a contract, and often has reporting requirements. The purpose of Type 2 is to develop external partnerships and/or receive discretionary research funds. All expert witness work, regardless of the value, is considered Type 2. The Consulting and Research Expertise unit is responsible for providing advice and support for all Type 2. May be eligible for Consultancy Performance Payments (CPP).

Type 3 is a contract or engagement that results in $10,000 or less of direct costs to UQ. Type 3 is usually the result of an external request, is not initiated as a strategic requirement, is within a normal workload allocation, and should be supported by a contract. The purpose of Type 3 is to generate connections, discretionary research funds, or enhance the personal development of a staff member.

All professional staff consultancy work, regardless of the value, is treated as Standard Consultancy Type 3.

3.1.2 Teaching Consultancy

Teaching Consultancy involves the delivery of programs, courses and professional development to non-enrolled students. Two types of Teaching Consultancy are recognised:

Type A is work of strategic importance to the organisational unit and is key to supporting its budget and core business. Type A typically utilises staff resources from other operational units and is work conducted outside workload. Type A is currently limited to the UQ Business School, Executive Education and the Institute of Continuing and TESOL Education, International Development. May be eligible for Teaching Consultancy Payments (TCP).

Type B is primarily to generate income for an organisational unit and to generate connections with industry and/or future students. Type B is work conducted within workload. Examples include CPD teaching and contract teaching to students from other universities.

3.1.3 Academic Consultancy

Academic Consultancy work profiles the University through academic engagement and provides a service to the discipline. Academic Consultancy involves services supplied to a government funding agency or another university, or solely supplied for the dissemination of knowledge. Academic Consultancy includes services such as honorariums; speaker fees; thesis reviews; grant reviews; journal editorships; allowances or stipends received while on Special Studies Program (SSP) from a host institution; reimbursement of travel costs; participation on grant award and academic review panels, and receipt of academic prizes.

Academic Consultancy work above the threshold value per transaction ($1,000) is within the scope of this procedure and should normally be transacted through the University’s financial systems. With prior approval, the payment from a government department or organisation may be made directly to the academic via the payroll of the organisation provided that the work falls under the definition of Academic Consultancy, and the organisation will not make payment directly to the University.

Staff can earn the proceeds of any work below the threshold value in their private capacity.

Receipt of funds above $1,000 into the University may be accomplished by:

  • Requesting the Finance Professional Services Transactional team to send a UQ invoice to the organisation intending to pay the staff member on the basis of a purchase order from the organisation, or a contract or agreement.
  • Complying with the requirements of the Receipting and Banking Procedures for all types of receipts.

The following should not be accepted for academic consultancy funds over $1,000:

  • Cash payments;
  • Cheques payable to individual staff members;
  • Payments into private bank accounts; and
  • The issue of non-UniFi generated invoices.

Book royalties are specifically excluded from the definition of Academic Consultancy in accordance with the Intellectual Property Policy.  Royalties may be received by staff members in their private capacity.

3.2 Personal payments from consultancy activities

The University recognises the value of consultancy work and seeks to encourage staff in undertaking consultancy projects of strategic value to the University. Payments to academic staff in their personal capacity (‘personal payments’) from Standard Consultancy Type 2, Teaching Consultancy Type A or Academic Consultancy activities are available under specific conditions in accordance with this procedure.

An academic staff member can access a Standard Consultancy Type 2 Consultancy Performance Payment (CPP) up to an approved annual limit and Teaching Consultancy Payments (TCP) if:

  • An annual proposal for the ability to access a CPP or TCP has been endorsed by the appropriate Level 5 Authorised Officer in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule, including the setting of the annual limit for the personal payment, after review of the staff member’s existing remuneration package and recent academic performance; and
  • The CPP or TCP plan has been approved by the appropriate Level 3 Authorised Officer in accordance with the HR Authorisation Schedule and processed through the University payroll system.

CPP will be paid annually and is subject to there being sufficient consultancy funds earned and available in the individual’s consultancy account under the applicable fund code, and the satisfactory performance of the individual staff member up to the time of payment.

TCP will be paid at the satisfactory completion of each individual teaching consultancy activity.

Academic Consultancy Personal Payments may be accessed on a transactional basis related to external income received, on written approval by appropriate Level 5 Authorised Officer or above.

Local areas are required to establish a set of standard rates applicable to all Teaching Consultancy Type A personal payments, which must be approved by the Level 3 Authorised Officer. Considerations in establishing these rates should include:

  • Market demand for the service,
  • Proportionate allocation of consultancy income split between TCP and the organisational unit,
  • The complexity of work,
  • Staff member’s experience and/or academic level, and
  • Repeat work (consider a reducing sliding scale for multiple deliverables of the same output).

3.3 Use of University consultancy accounts

Consultancy project surpluses are managed through the use of consultancy accounts which are a sub-set of the Academic Consultancy & Award (ACA) Accounts within the financial system. Fund codes associated with external Consultancies in Academic Consultancy & Award (ACA) Accounts are classified as Restricted in the University’s financial records.
Requirements for the use of consultancy accounts are:

  1. Consultancy funds generated at UQ are University-owned and cannot be transferred to other institutions when staff members leave the employment of the University;
  2. Consultancy accounts are subject to a maximum threshold balance accumulation of $200,000, unless approved by the Provost with an appropriate and achievable spend down plan in place in MyBalance.
  3. Project surpluses are allocated to consultancy accounts of staff members who were involved in the Consultancy project. Where a number of staff members contribute to a consultancy project, the project leader will determine the distribution of the surplus and will take into account local area guidelines in this regard.
  4. Unless otherwise agreed by the project leader, staff members who are recruited specifically to undertake consultancy work and whose salary is paid by that consultancy project, are not eligible for participation in the distribution of a surplus.
  5. Funds from consultancy accounts must be used for valid UQ business purposes, in compliance with requirements of all UQ policies and procedures, and with the primary objective of supporting research, teaching and academic-related service activities.
  6. Revenue earned by staff members as a result of secondary employment cannot be transferred to University consultancy accounts, as these earnings are taxable and must be included as income in their personal tax returns.
  7. The University wishes to encourage staff retiring from service to consider endowing unused consultancy funds to support the establishment of a new named endowment fund, or to add to an established endowment fund, to support areas of importance to both the staff member and organisational unit. Endowment of consultancy funds will be subject to the naming rules and recommended minimum gifts detailed in the Naming Policy and Guidelines, and must be approved by the appropriate Level 3 Authorised Officer.

Professional staff are not eligible to retain consultancy surpluses in consultancy accounts. Any consultancy income earned by professional staff is billed by the University and retained in the operating funds of the organisational unit. Professional staff performing significant consultancy to the benefit of the University may be eligible for additional recognition or reward in accordance with provisions contained in the UQ Enterprise Agreement and in any other applicable UQ policy or procedures.

3.4 Transitional arrangements

At the implementation of these procedures, all existing agreements and contracts with external parties signed and commenced prior to 1 May 2020 may continue under the existing arrangements until completion of the existing contracts.

However, any consultancy work that represents a conflict of interest will be required to be declared and managed appropriately in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. This may include immediate cessation of the activity.

Any arrangement in violation of the previous outside work and business interests for University staff policy must be ceased immediately.

The process and mechanism to support the payment of personal payments associated with Standard Consultancy Type 2 and Teaching Consultancy Type A will be effective from 1 May 2020. For consultancy contracts approved prior to 1 May 2020, personal payments, where applicable and permitted under the Consultancy, Secondary Employment and Internal Work Policy and these Procedures, will continue to be paid using existing payroll mechanisms and with the existing approval processes. Annual Consultancy Performance Payments for Standard Consultancy Type 2 will commence in 2021 for the performance period ending 31 December 2020.

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1 Provost

Provost approval is required for:

  • A consultancy account balance over $200,000; approval is subject to an appropriate spend down plan.
  • The classification of units or programs as Standard Consultancy Type 1 and Teaching Consultancy Type A.

4.2 Level 3 Authorised Officer

The Level 3 Authorised Officer in accordance with HR Authorisation Schedule has responsibility for the approval of CPP and TCP proposals, and the endowment of consultancy funds.

4.3 Level 5 Authorised Officer

The Level 5 Authorised Officer in accordance with HR Authorisation Schedule has responsibility within their relevant organisational unit to:

4.4 Staff member who is the consultant

The staff member conducting the consultancy work is responsible for:

  • Declaring and managing potential, perceived or existing conflicts of interest in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy;
  • Ensuring work relating to consultancy activities does not adversely impact on primary work duties;
  • Considering and complying with any regulations and ethical guidelines applicable to the nature and conduct of that work;
  • The management of all project income and expenditure;
  • Budget preparation and identification of all expenses that relate to the consultancy work;
  • Application and submission of consultancy work;
  • Delivery and reporting requirements of the project.

4.5 Finance and Business Services

  • Finance and Business Services is responsible for credit risk assessment, billing approval, collections and debt management relating to consultancy revenue.
  • Contract & Grants Accounting (CGA) is responsible for financial project account and consultancy account establishment, maintenance and close; and external financial reporting (if applicable).
  • Finance Professional Services Teams (PSts) are responsible for initiating the recording and billing of consultancy revenue.

4.6 Consulting and Research Expertise unit (CoRE)

Consultancy and Research Expertise unit administers Standard Consultancy Type 2 contracts and is responsible for providing advice and support in the processing, approval, pricing and project management of those consultancy contracts. Business development and similar staff within the specific organisational units are responsible for advice and support with all other types of consultancy contracts.

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

This procedure will be reviewed on a triennial basis by the joint procedure owners: Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) to ensure its ongoing relevance and effectiveness.

6.0 Recording and Reporting

The Integrity and Investigations Unit will manage reporting processes for conflicts of interest that are identified as a result of staff undertaking consultancy work, in accordance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.

Final contracts should be stored in TRIM.

Personal payments are made through the University payroll system.

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Related documents

The treatment of costs, margin and surplus for the different types of consultancy are available here.

7.2 Definitions

Affiliates - academic title-holders, visiting academics, affiliate title-holders, emeritus professors, adjunct and honorary title-holders, industry fellows, and conjoint appointments.

Personal payment – includes CPP and TCP and academic consultancy payments and will be made to the bank account of the staff member and is processed through the University payroll system. A personal payment is subject to satisfactory performance for the specific project and funds availability. To access a personal payment the approvals in accordance with these procedures must be met.

Staff - continuing, fixed-term and research (contingent funded) and casual staff members.

Chief Human Resources Officer Dr Al Jury