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Delegations policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 5 December 2019.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy sets out how delegations are made and managed by the University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies across the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(4) Authority to make and implement decisions is distributed across the University in accordance with the University’s legal and organisational structure and to enable staff to carry out their responsibilities in support of the University’s objectives.

Delegation of authority

(5) The University Council may delegate powers in accordance with section 18 of the Deakin University Act. Delegations made by Council are recorded in the Register of Council Delegations. Each year Council will review:

  1. the Register; and
  2. a report on the exercise of the delegations listed in the Register during the year.

(6) Matters over which Council has specifically retained decision-making authority are listed in ‘Matters Requiring Council Decision’ approved by Council.

(7) The Vice-Chancellor and the Academic Board may delegate powers in accordance with Regulation 3.1(2) - The Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Regulation 2.2(1) - The Academic Board respectively.

(8) In accordance with this policy and to facilitate the effective operation of the University:

  1. members of the University Executive may delegate decision-making power or authority to managers within their faculties or portfolios
  2. University managers may delegate authority to implement decisions or undertake tasks to staff within their areas of responsibility.

(9) Staff members have authority to act in accordance with:

  1. any powers conferred on them by University legislation or policy
  2. any delegations conferred on them
  3. the duties and responsibilities set out in their position descriptions.

Persons or body delegation authority retains responsibility

(10) An officer or body of the University who has made a delegation does not abdicate responsibility for the matter. Such delegation does not limit that officer's or body's responsibility for the area or function from which the delegation was made.

(11) A delegate may appoint a person or group, such as a committee, to advise about the exercise of a delegation but the delegate remains responsible for making the decision.

(12) Any authority granted or delegated to an officer, committee or body of the University by a University policy may not be further delegated to any other person committee or body unless such further delegation is expressly authorised by that policy.

(13) Powers conferred upon an officer of the University via University legislation are not considered delegations and may therefore be granted to another person, committee or body of the University, unless otherwise stated in that legislation.

Delegations to positions

(14) Delegations are made to positions and include acting or temporary occupants of that position.

(15) If a position is abolished or changed, the delegation is inherited by the principal successor to the functions of that position.

Financial delegations

(16) Financial delegations to undertake expenditure are assigned to positions in bands as set out in the financial delegations table at clause 18 below.

(17) For the purposes of clarity the limits in the financial delegations table at clause 18 do not apply to:

  1. receipt of donations, gifts or bequests to the University which is not an expenditure
  2. write-off or impairment of assets which is determined by relevant Accounting Standards.

(18) Financial delegations table

Band Delegate category Limit
1 Vice-Chancellor $20,000,000
2 Chief Financial Officer
Chief Operating Officer
$10,000,000
3 Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s $2,000,000
4 Others Members of the Executive $500,000
5 Senior Managers (members of the Senior Management Group) $300,000
6 Deputy Faculty General Managers
Directors reporting directly to a Band 2-4 position
$100,000
7 Associate Deans not included at Band 5
Directors of Strategic Research Centres
Professional staff at HEW 9 and above
$30,000
8 Budget Centre Managers at HEW 8 and above $15,000
9 Administration or Finance Officers at HEW 5 and above $2,000
10 Credit card holders not included in any of the bands above Credit card transaction limit

(19) Staff members whose positions are listed in the financial delegation table hold the relevant financial delegation by virtue of their position and do not have to be appointed as a financial delegate by a separate instrument.

(20) The Vice-Chancellor upon the recommendation of the Chief Financial Officer may:

  1. confer a financial delegation on a staff members not included in the financial delegations table; or
  2. assign a position to a different band in the table
            provided that any such delegation:
                  i. sets out the limit of the delegation and conditions under which it may be exercised; and
                  ii. is recorded by the Director, Corporate Finance.

(21) Examples of delegations which the Vice-Chancellor may confer under clause 20 are:

  1. for the Executive Director, Human Resources to approve the University payroll
  2. for a staff member not otherwise holding a financial delegation to manage a defined project including being responsible for project expenditure.

(22) The Chief Financial Officer or the Vice-Chancellor can revoke a financial delegation assigned to a position at any time.

(23) Staff members holding a financial delegation in accordance with clause 18 are able to approve expenditure on the University’s financial system, DeakinUniFi, up to their delegated amount.

(24) The Director, Corporate Finance or nominee may authorise financial delegates who have been conferred by the Vice-Chancellor in accordance with clause 20 to approve expenditure on DeakinUniFi up to their delegated amount.

(25) Before approving expenditure a financial delegate must ensure that the expenditure:

  1. is a legitimate and reasonable business expense;
  2. aligns with the University’s strategic objectives and business needs;
  3. delivers value for money;
  4. does not exceed the delegate’s financial delegation;
  5. is properly described, documented and coded. Descriptions must include sufficient detail to allow an independent person to understand the nature of the expense, who the recipients are, and why it was incurred;
  6. is in line with the budget and that there are sufficient funds available; and
  7. where the expenditure falls into one of the categories below, that is also complies with the requirements relevant to the category:
Category Policy requirements
Business expenses reimbursement Business Expenses policy and Business Expenses Reimbursement procedure
Acquisition of shares Commercial Activities and Entities policy and procedure
Payment under a contract Contracts policy
Credit card transaction Credit Card policy and procedure
Procurement of goods and services Procurement policy and procedure
Travel expenditure Travel policy
Project expenditure clauses 29-36 of this Policy

(26) Approvals in DeakinUniFi must be completed within a reasonable timeframe.

(27) A financial delegate must not approve expenditure even though it is within their financial delegation if another University policy requires approval by a different officer. For example, only a member of the University Executive can approve overseas travel in accordance with the Travel policy.

(28) A financial delegate must not approve any expenditure where they are the recipient or beneficiary of a transaction. These must be escalated for approval the the manager of the delegate.

(29) The exercise of a financial delegation must relate to the costs of the transaction as a whole, including all taxes and duties. The splitting of transactions to circumvent delegation limits is a breach of this Policy and may lead to disciplinary action.

(30) Delegates can approve an increase to the cost of a transaction only if:

  1. the total costs of the transaction including the increase is within their delegation;
  2. the increase is no greater than 10% of the original costs; and
  3. all other requirements in this Policy are met.

(31) Increases of 10% or more and any further subsequent increases of any value must be escalated to the next level delegate for approval notwithstanding that they may be within the initial delegate’s level of financial delegation.

(32) By authorising expenditure, the financial delegate takes responsibility for the transaction. Non-compliance with this Policy may lead to disciplinary action.

Training

(33) The Director, Corporate Finance is responsible for providing training to staff who have a financial delegation, to ensure approvals are defensible and robust.

(34) Staff who hold a financial delegation must complete this training once every two (2) years, or more frequently as directed by the Director, Corporate Finance.

Project expenditure

(35) The University has established a Portfolio Board for the University-wide management of projects, which has Terms of Reference approved by the Vice-Chancellor and which reports on projects to the Finance and Business Affairs Committee and Council.

(36) Subject to clause 31 all University projects must be referred to Portfolio Board and approval or endorsement received in accordance with the Portfolio Board’s Terms of Reference prior to committing to any project expenditure even if it is within a person’s delegated financial authority.

(37) Clause 30 does not apply to:

  1. research projects, which are funded through external grant bodies or internal research allocations
  2. business as usual operational activities, which are approved through the University’s annual budgeting cycle.

(38) Projects involving expenditure of $10 million or more as designated by the Portfolio Board as major projects must be approved by Council on the recommendation of the Finance and Business Affairs Committee and endorsement of the Portfolio Board.

(39) Where a project originally budgeted under $10 million is subject to a change request taking the budget above $10 million it becomes a major project and approval for the revised budget must be obtained from the Finance and Business Affairs Committee and Council, on the endorsement of Portfolio Board.

(40) Projects involving expenditure of less than $10 million may be declared a major project, for example due to having a heightened risk profile, and must be approved by Council on the recommendation of the Finance and Business Affairs Committee and the endorsement of Portfolio Board.

(41) The Finance and Business Affairs Committee has authority to approve and report to Council on change requests to major projects budgets of up to 10 percent of the previously approved budget provided that the variation:

  1. is endorsed by Portfolio Board;
  2. does not exceed $10 million; and
  3. does not result in total project expenditure exceeding the Financial Plan.

(42) Council may require any major project to be submitted for renewed consideration of approval at any time.

Delegations of authority to enter contracts

(43) Delegations of authority to officers authorised to sign contracts on behalf of the University are set out in the Contracts policy and procedure.

Reporting and review

(44) Delegates are accountable for reporting on their exercise of delegated authority in accordance with the conditions attached to the delegation of University policy under which they are exercising authority.

(45) An officer or body who has made a delegation or series of delegations is responsible to considering reports on the exercise of those delegation and for regularly reviewing the appropriateness of those delegations.

Breaches

(46) The Director, Corporate Finance shall monitor compliance with this Policy and will maintain systems for detecting non-compliance, including auditing transactions.

(47) Breaches of this Policy will be reported in accordance with the Compliance Management policy and may lead to disciplinary action in accordance with the University’s Enterprise Agreement.

(48) The University has no tolerance for fraud or corruption. The Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Control policy and procedure sets out the University’s approach to preventing and dealing with fraud and corruption.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(49) There is no attendant procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(50) There are no definitions arising under this Policy.