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External Relationships and Partnerships policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 10 July 2023.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy governs the University’s relationships with external partners.

(3) While the University maintains established governance frameworks in respect of partnership activity within the University’s core activities (eg, research, teaching, philanthropy, business services and many others), this Policy aims to provide a review and approval framework for new partnerships that are either: 

  1. not already governed by a University policy or procedure noted in this Policy; or
  2. are not directly related to core University activities, such as industry-wide or sectoral partnerships, organisational memberships, and other affiliations.
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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to all partnerships between the University and any external partner.

(5) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. any controlled entity or commercial activity of the University governed by the Commercial Activities and Entities policy and Commercial Activities and Entities procedure (as well as any agreements or contracts between the University and a controlled entity);
  2. the procurement of goods and services in the ordinary course of University operations, including without limitation, goods and services under the Procurement policy and Procurement procedure, consultancy services under the Contractors and Consultants Procedure, external legal services procured under the Legal Services policy and the University’s external and internal audit activities;
  3. the University’s information technology infrastructure and software services governed by the Information and Communications Technology Security policy;
  4. the University’s investments governed by the Investment Policy; and
  5. the University’s engagement with governments, politicians, political parties and their representatives, which are governed by the Government and Political Engagement policy.
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Section 4 - Policy

Partnership Principles

(6) The University recognises that partnerships are a critical tool to deliver Deakin’s strategic objectives and maximise the social, cultural and economic impact that the University delivers regionally, nationally and globally.

(7) The University’s partnerships should:

  1. reflect the University’s values and support the Deakin University Strategic Plan, Deakin 2030: Ideas to Impact;
  2. be consistent with the University’s governance framework;
  3. support academic freedom as a foundation principle of the University;
  4. demonstrate ethical decision-making and good organisational citizenship; and
  5. not compromise the integrity or reputation of the University.

Approved Partnerships

(8) Any staff member may propose that the University enter into a partnership, which must be approved under this Policy.

(9) A partnership is automatically ‘approved’ under this Policy if the partnership is entered into as part of the following core University functions:

  1. all research and ancillary activities conducted by the University under the Research Conduct policy and any supporting procedures;
  2. any academic partnership governed by the Academic Partnerships Policy;
  3. all donations and external sponsorships governed by the Philanthropic Gifts policy and any supporting procedures;
  4. an approved student placement under the Student Placement procedure;
  5. the delivery of services by DeakinCo to its clients under contracts approved under the Contracts policy;
  6. any partnership that is approved by the Vice-Chancellor or University Council under the University’s governance framework and reflects the principles of this Policy; and
  7. the design, construction, disposal, lease or licence of any ‘Business Asset’ under the Business Assets Management policy and procedure, including related asset management services under that policy and procedure.

(10) Any partnership entered into by the University before the effective date of this Policy that is consistent with the principles and intent of this Policy and otherwise compliant with the University’s governance framework is deemed ‘approved’ under this Policy, including any renewal or restatement of such partnership.

New Partnerships 

(11) Where a proposed new partnership is not covered by clause 9, that proposed partnership must be approved by the member of the Senior Executive Team who leads the area that will be primarily responsible for the management of the partnership.

(12) The relevant member of the Senior Executive Team may approve a partnership upon receipt of a proposal that includes:

  1. an outline of the partnership’s alignment with the University’s strategic objectives, including Deakin’s 2030 Strategy and values;
  2. a risk and benefit analysis of the proposed partnership;
  3. a due diligence analysis on the proposed partner;
  4. the extent of any consultation undertaken with other relevant areas in the University;
  5. whether the external partner is a concurrent or former partner of the University (whether in the Executive’s area and elsewhere); and
  6. compliance with relevant Deakin policies and procedures, including, without limitation, the Contracts policy and Delegations Policy.

Records and Review

(13) All staff members responsible for managing a partnership under this Policy must ensure appropriate records are maintained with respect to the partnership in accordance with the University’s Information and Records Management policy and Information and Records Management procedure (eg, ensuring a signed copy of the partnership is included in TRIM).

(14) Members of the Senior Executive Team must review all current partnerships in their area at least every 12 months or prior to the end of any relevant term or duration.

Prohibited Partnerships

(15) Consistent with the University’s values and strategic objectives, the University will not enter into partnerships with entities from the following industries:

  1. tobacco, being any entity that directly or primarily engages in the production, manufacture, sale, promotion or marketing of nicotine, tobacco or tobacco products as their primary business or an entity that is funded primarily by the tobacco industry; or
  2. gambling and gaming.

(16) Partnerships with entities that operate primarily within the alcohol industry will be considered on a case-by-case basis and may only proceed with the written approval of the Vice-Chancellor, with input from other relevant Executive members.

International Partners

(17) Any partnership that involves an international partner, whether under clauses 8 or 11-12, must comply with the International Relations Regulation policy. When proposing a new partnership or managing a current partnership, staff should consider the rules and guidance provided under that policy.

Compliance with Other Policies

(18) All partnerships must comply with the Contracts policy, Contracts procedure and the Delegations Policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(19) As noted in clause 9(b), the Academic Partnerships Policy documents how to comply with this Policy in respect of academic partnerships.

(20) Any Deakin staff member or student who is or proposes to engage in any activity or partnership with a foreign government, foreign university, foreign business or any other foreign organisation or entity as part of their University business must undertake an evaluation of the risk of foreign interference, foreign influence and/or statutory reporting or regulatory obligations that is posed by the proposed activity or partnership. For further information see the International Relations Regulation policy, the Deakin University Foreign Interference page or contact the Office of General Counsel as to how the University assesses and manages the risks associated with its foreign interactions.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(21) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. external partner: any individual, organisation or entity that is separate from the University and includes international partners;
  2. international partner: any individual, organisation, entity that is separate from the University and resident outside Australia and its territories;
  3. partnership: any written arrangement, commitment, agreement or contract with an external partner, regardless of whether it is legally binding or not;
  4. University’s governance framework: all Federal, State and Territory laws and regulations, and the University’s legislation, regulations, policies and procedures, as applicable to the University from time to time.