Policy for Members of the Academic Staff Engaging in Commercial Consultancy Activities

This policy is currently under review.

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A. Introduction

The University encourages members of academic staff to engage in consultancy work and related outside work to the extent that the activities are in the University's and the staff member's interest.  Such work can be useful in promoting the University's skills, and contacts in the community, which can lead to increased opportunities for research collaboration and support.

Where staff are engaging in commercial consultancies it is particularly important to be clear at the outset whether the outside activities are being undertaken on behalf of the University, or as a private individual.  This distinction is the basis on which the University does, or does not, take responsibility and carry liability for the activity.

B. University Consultancy Work

The attention of staff is drawn to the following general points of policy that apply to commercial consultancy work being undertaken in the name of the University.

1. The outside work in which the staff member is to be engaged must be of appropriate standard, demanding the particular knowledge, skill and standing of the academic.

2. The activity must have relevance to the particular academic's teaching or research duties and accordingly provide some benefit to the University.

3. The work should not be of a type, or under conditions, that would deprive the staff member of the independence which should characterise the status of members of the University academic staff.

4. The work must not interfere with the efficient discharge of teaching and research duties within the University.

5. All consultancy work undertaken in the name of the University requires the approval of the relevant Head of School, Director or equivalent and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or equivalent before any commitments are made. Approval must be in writing; this confirms that the University accepts responsibility and liability and that documentation is in place in the event that the University's insurers are called upon.

6. School or equivalent and Division or equivalent approval of outside professional activities does not extend to entering into formal agreements on behalf of the University.  Formal agreements involving the University must be formally considered through the Research & Enterprise Office before any arrangement is entered into.

7. The fees charged for consultancy work should normally be at full commercial rates.

8. Advice on rates to charge is available from the Research & Enterprise Office.  All finances must be handled through the central accounting system so that tax and audit requirements are properly attended to.

9. The provision of free advice does not make professional persons immune from liability if they are negligent.

C. Private Consultancy Work

With respect to work undertaken privately by members of staff the following points are of note:

1. In order to protect its integrity and reputation the University requires that full-time members of staff inform their Head of School, Director or equivalent and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or equivalent in advance of any private professional activities. Any activity which is substantial in use of time must be specifically agreed to by the appropriate Head of School, Director or equivalent and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor or equivalent.

2. Where outside professional activities are entirely a private matter involving no University resources, and a limited amount of time, the University has no claims or financial interests and seeks only to ensure that its reputation is protected and that it incurs no liabilities.

3. Staff undertaking private consultancy must ensure that they do not imply or state that such work is connected with their employment by the University or that it is covered by the University's Professional Indemnity insurance policy.  It is particularly important, therefore, that University stationery should not be used during the execution of private work.

4. No use whatever of University facilities and equipment is permitted for any private consultancy activity carried out by University staff or students.

5. Staff members may not engage in teaching, research, or consultancy for any institution or organisation which can be considered to be in competition with any part of the University.


The term 'School' in this policy includes Faculties and the term 'Head of School' includes Deans.

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