Summary

This Policy sets out the requirements and principles governing financial transactions, contracting, commercial activities, travel, procurement and insurance.

Objectives

This policy provides controls in relation to agreements, financial arrangements, expenditure and income-earning activities and sets out the University’s expectations of staff members engaged in those activities.

Scope

This policy applies to anyone committing funds or undertaking travel on behalf of the University in respect of all University activities. The requirements set out in this policy and University delegation limits also apply to University controlled entities. The activities and legal documents of controlled entities are also to be handled in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and any protocols adopted by the boards of those entities, provided those protocols are within the restraints set by this policy and University delegation limits.

1. Financial, Contracting and Commercial Authorities

1.1. Approvals

Depending on the type of expenditure or income-earning activity and the monetary value, activities require the approval of either:

a. Council

b. the VC

c. an authorised staff member.

An authorised staff member must only approve activities within their area of responsibility.

1.2. Limitations

Expenditure is to be within resources allocated to units, as defined by expenditure budgets, approved forecasts and approvals granted by Council, the VC or the responsible University senior executive.

All activities must comply with University legislation and the University’s applicable policies and guidelines and must be for university purposes.

There is a distinction between: (i) the authority to spend and (ii) the authority to sign legal documents and commit to performance obligations and assume rights and liabilities. Only an authorised signatory as set out in the University’s delegations can sign a University legal document.

Guidelines and systems specified for use by the University must be used.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/Action Responsibility*
Conditions and limitations
Specification of financial requirements, guidelines and systems for entering into agreements and arrangements and committing the University to expenditure and income-earning activities Chief Financial Officer

The guidelines and systems must be in a published Finance Procedure.

They must comply and be consistent with University legislation and the University’s policies.

Adhering to the requirements of Finance Procedures when entering into agreements and arrangements and committing the University to expenditure and income-earning activities Anyone committing funds on behalf of the University in respect of all University activities  

*(Staff includes those holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

1.3. Two levels of authority required

Two staff members must be involved in any transaction.

Expenditure relating to an individual staff member, expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements cannot be authorised for payment by either:

a. the payee, the person who incurred the expense, or the person who is the beneficiary of the expense

b. a member of staff of equivalent or lower rank.

Note: In normal circumstances authorisation should be by the staff member's direct manager.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/Action Responsibility*
Conditions and limitations
Other staff member required to be involved in an activity if the VC is the staff member directly responsible for the activity Executive Group member or Chief Financial Officer
 
Approving expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements of the Vice-Chancellor Chancellor (with University Secretary delegated to approve in the system) Must be in accordance with the requirements published in the Finance Procedures
Approving expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements of the Chancellor University Secretary

Must be in accordance with the requirements published in the Finance Procedures

*(Staff includes those holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

1.4. Delegations

The Governance Framework adopted by the University's Council describes the powers and requirements for University delegations. The power to delegate rests with Council and the Vice-Chancellor only.

Current delegations are documented in the University's delegation instruments maintained by the University Secretariat. 

The Vice-Chancellor’s delegations do not apply to a Commercial Activity decision or a Significant Impact Activity decision. Those must be approved by Council.

Please see the Delegations Wiki for current delegations.

1.5. Contract Management Framework

The Contract Management Framework establishes consistent practices to guide University staff through the contract life-cycle from:

a. contract planning and establishment,

b. managing and monitoring contract performance; and

c. ending and reviewing contracts.

2. Travel

VIEW TRAVEL PROCEDURES (STAFF LOGIN)
2.1 Travel approval and expenditure

The University aims to provide safe, sustainable, reasonable and economical travel arrangements for staff, HDR students, and other individuals undertaking international, interstate, or intrastate travel on behalf of the University. Arrangements consider the purpose and nature of the business, the destination and extent of the travel, and the amount of travel that an individual is required to undertake as part of their normal duties.

All travel requires approval from the line manager and/or authorised delegate prior to booking. 

Considering environmental sustainability, travel should be avoided where possible through use of information and communications technology.

The University only pays and is only responsible for university purpose-related travel. All expenditure while travelling must be reasonable and necessary to conduct the University’s business, within an approved budget.

2.2. Travel services

All travel services must be booked through the travel management provider(s) mandated by the University, unless it falls under one of the permitted exceptions or allowable expenses (refer to Travel Procedures).

All air travel is to be economy class. Limited exemptions for premium class travel is subject to approval (refer to Travel Procedures).

2.3 Staff travelling on the same flight

The number of staff travelling on the same flight should be kept to a reasonable minimum. 

If possible, no more than three members of the Executive Group should travel on the same flight.

2.4. Private leisure travel

Business travel may be extended to include private leisure travel, subject to the University not incurring any Fringe Benefits Tax and all arrangements and costs being the responsibility of the traveller.

2.5. Dependents and partners

The University will not pay for partners to travel unless approved in advance by the Vice Chancellor.

Financial assistance may be available to support travel for those with dependent (parental or carer) responsibilities through the SWAN Support for Academic Carers Program or the Carer Support Program (currently in pilot phase).

2.6. High-risk destination travel

Travel to destinations with serious security and/or other concerns is prohibited unless deemed essential for the University's purposes. Travel to high-risk destinations as identified by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Levels 3 or 4, or others by the University’s insurance provider, require specific additional approvals. 

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/Action Responsibility*
Conditions and limitations
Final determination of any issues relating to the application of paragraphs 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4 and payment for travel Chief Financial Officer or Staff members nominated by the Chief Financial Officer Must be consistent with requirements and guidelines set out in the Travel Procedure
Prohibition on travel to a destination due to serious security concern Vice-President (People, Planning and Culture)

Guided primarily, but not solely, by information provided by the warnings issued by DFAT.

In situations where a “DFAT Level 3 – Reconsider your need to travel” level is applied, or the destination is a policy exclusion under SUT Travel Insurance, only essential travel should be allowed.

In situations where a “DFAT Level 4 – Do not travel” level is applied, no travel should be allowed.

Waiver of prohibition on travel to a destination identified as of a serious security concern

For DFAT 3, Vice President People, Planning and Culture

For DFAT 4, Vice-Chancellor

Waiver to be on a case-by-case basis

Travel must be deemed essential for the University's purposes
Adhering to travel requirements set in the Travel Procedure All staff  


*(Staff includes those holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

3. Procurement

VIEW PROCUREMENT PROCEDURES (STAFF LOGIN)
3.1. Goods and services

The procurement processes prescribed by the University cover the acquisition of goods and services from external suppliers on behalf of the University, regardless of funding source.

The procurement processes prescribed by the University do not cover the provision or securing of grants, statutory appointments or the engagement of employees.

3.2. Guiding principles for procurement

The procurement of goods or services must:

a. Be for University-related purposes only and necessary to conduct the University’s business;

b. Be within an approved budget and/or approved in line with the University’s delegations;

c. Deliver a sound commercial relationship and value for money with outcomes that consider quality, risk, and other factors important to the decision along with price;

d. Consider environmental, social, and economic sustainability outcomes, with the objective of creating positive social impact, for example:

d.1. Environmental: reducing carbon emissions, waste, water and energy consumption, impact on the natural environment, reusing and recycling

d.2. Social: Indigenous suppliers and employment, social enterprise suppliers, reducing labour exploitation and modern slavery, diversity and inclusion alignment

d.3. Economic: local employment and businesses, educational outcomes, research outcomes and student work experience and placements;

e. Ensure market competitiveness by being open and transparent, and treating all prospective suppliers fairly and equally;

f. Promote probity in all procurement activities to demonstrate high levels of integrity consistent with the public interest;

g. Manage supplier risk in a manner consistent with the University Risk Management Framework;

h. Not expose the University to reputational or other risks without adequate mitigations;

i. Not disclose confidentially sensitive information to anyone without approval, and disclose only as necessary;

j. Always adhere to the University policies on anti-corruption, bribery, code of conduct, and conflict of interest; and

k. Not involve the acceptance of gifts, benefits, hospitality or inducements.

3.3. Modern slavery in our supply chain

The University deplores all forms of slavery and forced labour. 

The University will endeavour to take the necessary steps to reduce the risk of the University’s supply chain, both in Australia and overseas, causing, contributing to, or directly linking to modern slavery practices.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/Action Responsibility*
Conditions and limitations
Prescribing procurement processes Director, Sustainability & Procurement

The processes must be published in the Procurement Procedure

They must comply and be consistent with University legislation and the University's policies

Authorising an exception to prescribed procurement processes Director, Sustainability & Procurement May only be on a case-by-case basis and must be based on reasons set out in the Procurement Procedure
Adhering to the requirements set out in prescribed procurement processes Anyone undertaking procurement on behalf of the University  

*(Staff includes those holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

4. Insurance

VIEW INSURANCE PROCEDURES (STAFF LOGIN)

The University will publish an Insurance Manual setting out the types and level of insurance cover held by the University and general information to assist staff with insurance queries.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/Action Responsibility*
Conditions and limitations
Publication of Insurance Manual Chief Financial Officer  

*(Staff includes those holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

Delegation

This policy includes, where indicated in the tables of roles and responsibilities, delegation of power by the Vice-Chancellor under section 26(7) of the Swinburne University of Technology Act 2010.

Approvals

Version Date Approver Contact
V 1 9 December 2013 to commence 1 January 2014 Council Chief Financial Officer
V 2 31 May 2021 to commence 1 June 2021 Council Chief Financial Officer

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