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Protocol for the Treatment of PBRF Quality Categories


The University of Waikato has, in conjunction with staff and Tertiary Education Union (TEU) representatives, established protocols for the treatment of PBRF Quality Categories. These protocols are based on recommended protocols published by the TEC in their Performance-Based Research Fund Quality Evaluation Guidelines 2012.
  1. The University of Waikato advises that
    1. maintenance of the confidentiality of individual Quality Categories (and Component Scores if known) is a priority for the University
    2. staff will not be required to divulge their Quality Categories
    3. staff may discuss their Quality Category and Component Scores with their manager if they wish
    4. in the event that a staff member advises a manager of her/his Quality Category, or Quality Category and Component Scores, that manager will not use that information other than for purposes authorized by the individual staff member concerned and within the restrictions specified in this document.
  2. Uses to which individual quality categories may be put
    1. The University of Waikato will restrict access to individual Quality Categories and to any information that might reveal individual Quality Categories to the minimum number of staff necessary to achieve the following purposes:
      • Validation of the accuracy of the Quality Categories, along with FTE and subject cost categories for individual staff
      • Internal management and allocation of financial resources (consistent with the purposes of the PBRF)
      • To identify strengths of Departments/Schools
      • As an externally-validated benchmark to help ensure appropriate internal calibration of assessments of research.
    2. Access to non-aggregated individual quality categories will be restricted to the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, PVC Research, Deans and/or the Dean’s Nominee, PBRF Manager and the PBRF Manager’s support staff.
    3. Staff with access to individual Quality Category information will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement and confirm they have read and understood and will strictly follow the procedures and protocols contained within this University of Waikato Protocol for Treatment of PBRF Quality Categories document.
  3. Uses to which individual quality categories may not be put
    1. The University of Waikato will not use individual Quality Categories for purposes other than those consistent with the TEC’s Sector Reference Group recommended protocol and advised to staff members prior to participation in the 2012 Quality Evaluation. In particular
      • the University of Waikato will not use individual Quality Categories as a basis for salary determinations
      • the University of Waikato will not request individual Quality Categories for recruitment purposes; if the University makes recruitment decisions informed by individuals’ Quality Categories, then the University will consider the Quality Categories in the context of other evidence of research performance and will take account of the University’s overall staff profile (particularly since the offered Quality Category cannot be verified by the University of Waikato)
      • the University of Waikato will not use individual Quality Categories for performance appraisals or for disciplinary action against staff.
    2. The University of Waikato will not divulge individuals’ Quality Categories to any third party without the prior authorisation of the individuals concerned. In particular, the University will ensure that individual Quality Categories of staff, either employed by the University of Waikato or by another TEO, are not revealed through marketing or advertising activity initiated by the University of Waikato.
  4. Communication of PBRF quality categories
    1. As part of the 2012 PBRF Quality Evaluation Round the University of Waikato will advise individual participating staff of their personal 2012 Quality Category (and any other data relating to the assignment of the Quality Category relevant to them that is provided to the University by the TEC).
    2. Prior to the TEC’s release of individual Quality Category information each Faculty/School will supply the names of PBRF eligible staff who have requested not to be advised of their individual Quality Category.
    3. Upon receipt of the TEC disk (or equivalent) containing the password-protected spreadsheet of individual quality categories, the disk (or equivalent) will be stored in a secure place until release of the password by the TEC.
    4. Upon release of the password by the TEC, the password-protected contents of the disk will be copied to a folder on the University of Waikato’s server. Electronic access rights to the folder containing the password-protected spreadsheet will be restricted to the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, PVC Research, Deans and/or the Dean’s Nominee, PBRF Manager and the PBRF Manager’s support staff.
    5. The TEC disk (or equivalent) will then be given to the Vice-Chancellor and will be stored in a secure place.
    6. The individual Quality Categories will be uploaded into an individual staff member’s secure, password-protected electronic site (unless the staff member has requested not to be advised).
  5. Procedures for making complaints against quality category confidentiality breaches
    1. A staff member who suspects that confidentiality with respect to his or her Quality Category has been breached is encouraged in the first instance to raise the matter with his or her Dean.
    2. Formal complaints about breaches of confidentiality may be lodged with the University’s Privacy Officer, the Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Executive), who will arrange for an investigation of any complaints of breaches of privacy.
    3. Any breaches of privacy will be dealt with under the University of Waikato’s Staff Code of Conduct.

Approved by the Vice-Chancellor: 17 June 2011


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