Staff Consultancy

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Under Review - With Editor 29 March 2021

Staff Consultancy Policy

Policy Code: HR1473


  • To foster staff participation in consultancies that bring opportunities and benefits to the University, its staff, students, community and clients;  
  • To facilitate the negotiation of, and entering into, consultancy contracts of benefit to the University and its staff, while ensuring full cost recovery to ensure compliance with the Trade Practices Act and the National Competition Policy;
  • To provide a flexible management framework to cover the range of consultancies whilst using the University’s name, services, space, facilities, equipment or paid work time, including consultancies directed toward charitable purposes and community service;
  • To define the University’s management and quality control expectations for consultancy contracts involving or implicating the University, including those relating to risk management and accountability;
  • To provide guidance to persons within and external to the University as to when and how consultancies may be undertaken using the university’s name, services, space, facilities, equipment or paid work time.
  • To provide guidance to staff on academic freedoms and freedom of speech when participating in consultancies, with reference to the University’s Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy 2021.


This policy covers three distinct types of consultancy:

  • General Consultancy
  • University Consultancy
  • Private Consultancy

This policy applies to full-time and part-time staff of the University or where other arrangements are made for staff specifically employed in a consulting role.

While academic staff usually undertake consultancy activity, TAFE teachers and general staff may also undertake consultancy activity.  However TAFE teachers are required to perform any task within the range of professional duties for a minimum of 38 hours per week.  For general staff consultancy work may be specified in their employment contract and standard weekly work responsibilities. 


Term Definition

The provision of professional services to an external party for a fee or other consideration.  Consultancy is generally based on the application of an existing body of knowledge. 

Within this definition consultancy does not include:

  • Matters relating to publicly-available University courses;
  • Work predominantly relating to Research and Development;
  • Professional services provided for a fee or consideration by one employee or part of the University to another part of the University (an ‘Internal Consultancy’);
  • Writing any book, chapter of a book, journal or other publication where the subject matter is within the staff member’s academic discipline and attribution of the author’s affiliation with the University is set out with the publication;
  • Moderation activities conducted for “Third Party Providers”.  Such responsibilities and work will be regarded as part of the required duties of academic and teaching staff with such responsibilities being part of the allocated work load;
  • Examining a thesis for an award of a University or setting and marking examinations for another institution;
  • Occasional broadcasts, lectures and/or appearances (but excluding a contracted series of such lectures, appearances, etc).
  • Work that is undertaken for charity, community or public purpose, or as corporate citizenship by employees in their capacity as University employees or using University resources where such activities involve low risk of litigation. Examples: strategic planning for community groups; design of a community attitudes survey for, example, a local Rotary Club, commissioned creative work or performances rendered to a community group or agency. Activities such as employees serving on the Board of a Government Agency, professional body etc. are also not considered as consultancy activities.
General Consultancy: The provision of a professional service requiring the use of the University’s name, services, space, facilities, equipment and paid work-time, or other resources. An employee, with the approval of the University, initiates the consultancy, takes the role as a Principal Consultant and provides professional services, through the University, to an external party for a fee or other consideration.  General Consultancy activities must only occur outside of full-time workload unless the Principal Consultant’s salary is deducted from gross profit before any Net Profit is declared.
Private Consultancy: Consultancy undertaken for remuneration or other consideration by a staff member in his or her personal capacity as an individual or through a partnership, private company, trust, or any similar entity, as opposed to in his or her capacity as an employee of the University.  Directorships and Partnerships are included in this category.
Principal Consultant:

The staff member acting as the initiator of the consultancy or, where more than one staff member is involved, the staff member designated as the principal or consultant undertaking the major part of the work involved.  The Principal Consultant has the overall responsibility for the performance of the consultancy including financial management and reporting requirements.

University Consultancy: Includes provision of all professional services requiring the use of the University’s name, services, space, facilities, equipment and paid work time, or other resources.  It involves the provision of professional services and products to external parties for remuneration or other consideration.  In a University Consultancy, the University adopts the role of Principal Consultant through the appointment of a Project Leader.  Staff members involved in this type of consultancy will not normally receive a proportion of this profit, as they will undertake this activity as part of their normal duties.  Examples include, but are not limited to, laboratory testing, data analysis, surveys, and field trials.
Academic freedom
  • The freedom of academic staff to teach, discuss, exhibit artistic works or public performances, research, as well as disseminate and publish the results of their research
  • The freedom of academic staff and students to engage in intellectual inquiry, to express their opinions and beliefs, and to contribute to public debate, in relation to their subjects of study and research
  • The freedom of academic staff and students to express their opinions in relation to the higher education provider in which they work or are enrolled
  • The freedom of academic staff, without constraint imposed by reason of their employment by the university, to make lawful public comment on any issues in their personal capacities
  • The freedom of academic staff to participate in professional or representative academic bodies
  • The freedom of students to participate in student societies and associations.
Freedom of speech The freedom of staff, students, and invited visitors to the University to express lawful opinions publicly, without undue restriction

Policy Statement

This policy is to explain and regulate the University Consultancy activities.


The Director, Human Resources is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of this policy.

Heads of School/Directors are responsible for ensuring staff comply with this policy and for ensuring appropriate approval, financial, record keeping and legal procedures are in place where relevant.

Legislative Context


The Staff Consultancy Policy is to be implemented throughout the University community. This implementation will be via an Announcement Notice under FedNews website and on the ‘FedUni Policy – Recently Approved Documents’ website to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy. The Staff Consultancy Policy applies from the date of Council approval.