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.
The consultancy application process is summarised in Appendix 1.
2.1.1 University staff may not undertake a University Consultancy without first submitting a consultancy application and receiving appropriate prior approval. Twenty (20) days prior to submitting the consultancy application, the staff member must first notify via email either Financial Services or the Office of Research (via the Research Development Team) with a copy to their Organisational Unit Manager.
Table 1 identifies the appropriate Organisational Unit to be notified in varying circumstances.
Table 1: Notification of application
Staff member has previously submitted a consultancy application and it is clear the consultancy does not involve research.
Financial Services (with copy to applicant’s Organisational Unit Manager)
Staff member is submitting their first consultancy application.
Office of Research (with copy to applicant’s Organisational Unit Manager)
It is unclear whether the consultancy involves research, or it is clear that it does involve research.
Office of Research (with copy to applicant’s Organisational Unit Manager)
2.2.1 The consultancy application to be prepared by the staff member must set out a business case detailing the strategic benefits to the University, any direct cost estimates, overhead cost estimates, terms for distribution of income, details of any University equipment required, expected profit and expected duration of the University Consultancy Work. Once completed, the staff member must forward the consultancy application, together with any supporting documentation, to their Organisational Unit Manager.
2.3 Following receipt of a consultancy application, the Organisational Unit Manager must check the application and business case, and if appropriate, endorse them when satisfied that they are complete, accurate and sound. If so satisfied, the Organisational Unit Manager must then forward the consultancy application to the appropriate Organisational Unit as identified in table 1.
2.4 If the Office of Research receives the application, they will review the consultancy application to determine the research component, if any. For applications deemed to be contract research, the External Research Grants – Academic Policy and Procedures will apply. If the consultancy is determined not to be research related, the consultancy application will be passed to Financial Services for administration.
2.5 Within five (5) working days of receiving the consultancy application, Financial Services will acknowledge receipt of the application, open a temporary consultancy file for the application, and enter the key information into the contracts register.
2.6 Financial Services will then check the business case and endorse it when satisfied that it is complete, accurate and legally appropriate.
2.7 Financial Services will then forward the application and business case to the Chief Operating Officer recommending University endorsement.
2.8 When the Chief Operating Officer has endorsed the application, Financial Services submits the application by the due date, clearly indicating who is the institutional contact for the application (relevant delegate within Financial Services).
2.9 Financial Services places a copy of the application, business case and covering letter/email to the funding body, onto the temporary file, and completes the contracts register as necessary.
2.10 Finally, Financial Services will notify the applicant and the Organisational Unit Manager of the outcome of the application.
3. Costing and Pricing
3.1.1 Where University Consultancies could also be undertaken by other professionals on a commercial basis, fees to be charged by the University should be comparable to normal professional fees. In particular circumstances where the University Consultancy can be demonstrated to be consistent with the University’s community service role, lesser fees may be charged. Internal approval must be sought prior to University staff submitting a proposal or quote to a client.
3.2 Direct costs
3.2.1 Fees to be charged by the University should cover all direct costs associated with carrying out the University Consultancy Work, including:
(a) salaries of the University staff undertaking the University Consultancy Work (including staff payroll costs plus staff on-costs, such as payroll tax and superannuation);
(b) administrative and technical costs;
(c) charges for the use of University equipment or space;
(d) provision of data services;
(e) travel and accommodation;
(f) consumables; and
(g) salaries and on-costs for persons hired specifically for the purpose of undertaking or contributing to the University Consultancy.
3.3 Overhead costs
3.3.1 The fees to be charged by the University should cover all overhead costs incurred by the University. 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, consultancy administration, audit, and financial management costs.
3.4 Distribution of income
3.4.1 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 as specified in the University Consultancy Work Contract:
(a) Organisational Unit – 70 per cent;
(b) Central University Fund (managed by the Chief Financial Officer) – 30 per cent.
3.4.2 With the approval of the Organisational Unit Manager, a staff member 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.
4. University Consultancy Work Contracts
4.1 Financial Services liaises between the lead consultant and the funding body to reach agreement on the final form of the University Consultancy Work Contract to be signed by the University and the funding body.
4.2 Financial Services obtains legal advice for University Consultancy Work Contract negotiations as required, in accordance with the requirements of USC’s Management of Contracts and Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) - Governing Policy.
4.3 When the terms of the University Consultancy Work Contract have been settled, Financial Services prepares copies of the University Consultancy Work Contract and the required contract cover sheet(s) for signing by the Chief Operating Officer and the authorised officer of the funding body.
4.4 If the final terms of the consultancy are different from the original application, the contract cover sheet is adjusted accordingly and newly endorsed by the Organisational Unit Manager and the Chief Operating Officer.
4.5 Financial Services forwards copies of the University Consultancy Work Contract to the Chief Operating Officer with a memorandum recommending that the University Consultancy Work Contract be signed.
4.6 When the Chief Operating Officer has signed the University Consultancy Work Contract, Financial Services submits copies of the University Consultancy Work Contract to the funding body for signature.
4.7 When copies of the University Consultancy Work Contract have been signed and returned, Financial Services places a scanned copy of the signed University Consultancy Work Contract into the contract register within three (3) working days of receipt of the signed University Consultancy Work Contract.
5. Consultancy Establishment
5.1 Financial Services opens a consultancy file in the University’s record management system for the consultancy and places the contents of the temporary consultancy file, the University Consultancy Work Contract, and any new contract cover sheet, onto the consultancy file and adjusts the contract register data as necessary.
5.2 Financial Services opens a special purpose account for the consultancy and provides a copy of the account name and number to the lead consultant and Organisational Unit Administrator within three (3) working days of the University Consultancy Work Contract being executed.
5.3 Financial Services provides access to the consultancy account for the lead consultant and the Organisational Unit Administrator and ensures the lead consultant and the Organisational Unit Administrator receives regular consultancy account activity reports.
5.4 Financial Services invoices the funding body according to the funding schedule in the University Consultancy Work Contract, ensures the funds are credited to the consultancy account, notifies the lead consultant and the Organisational Unit Administrator, and updates the consultancy file and contract register.
5.5 The lead consultant and the Organisational Unit Administrator, at the earliest opportunity, distribute funds from the consultancy account according to the terms of the contract cover sheet.
5.6 The lead consultant and the Organisational Unit Administrator manage consultancy funds so that consultancy expenditure matches the consultancy budget.
6. Consultancy Management and Administration
6.1 Consultancies are managed by the lead consultant, assisted by Financial Services and the Organisational Unit Administrator according to the University Consultancy Work Contract, particularly in relation to the specified consultancy milestones, progress reporting, consultancy budget and contract cover sheet arrangements.
6.2 Consultancy expenditure is authorised according to the consultancy budget by the lead consultant and appropriate financial delegate.
6.3 Financial Services provides regular and timely financial reports to the lead consultant and Organisational Unit Administrator.
6.4 Financial Services monitors consultancy management, ensuring lead consultants receive timely reminders about consultancy reporting, managing any contract variations, and maintaining the consultancy file and contract register.
6.5 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.
7. Completion of the consultancy
7.1 The lead consultant notifies Financial Services in writing when the consultancy has been completed.
7.2 Financial Services closes the special consultancy account and manages financial acquittal of the consultancy according to the terms of the contract cover sheet and University Consultancy Work Contract, including the distribution of the net proceeds in accordance with the original University Consultancy Work Contract (refer 3.4) and any auditing requirements.
7.3 Financial Services completes the records of the consultancy on the consultancy file and contract register, closes the consultancy file, and informs the lead consultant and Organisational Unit Administrator.
8.1 The aggregate of information on all University Consultancy Work undertaken by staff must be summarised by the Organisational Unit Manager in an annual University Consultancy Work Report. It is the responsibility of the Organisational Unit Manager to forward this report each year, to the Chief Operating Officer who will table the reports with the University Executive as required.
Appendix 1: Consultancy application process