Contracts are important legal documents that protect the interests of the University and its clients and affiliates. Sound management of contracts is critical to the University's ongoing operations and is a central element in the University's risk management strategies.

Here you will find information about the University's policies and procedures for managing contracts, and in the frequently asked questions and assistance pages, advice and contact points to assist staff in relation to contractual matters.

Authority to sign contracts

The University's Policy on the Delegation of Authority to Enter into Contracts establishes the principles, processes and requirements under which delegation of authority to enter into contracts must be exercised. The Policy also requires contracts to be registered on a database - the Contracts Register (for non-research and contracts) or ResearchMaster (for research contracts)- and stored in a secure location.

Only members of the senior Executive of the University (the Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice-Chancellors and the Vice-Presidents) or staff authorised under the provisions of the University's Policy on the Delegation of Authority to Enter into Contracts may sign contracts and other legally binding instruments on behalf of the University.

The Framework of Delegations of Authority to enter into Contracts lists the staff currently authorised to enter into contracts on behalf of the University ('Authorised Signatories').

Non-Research contracts

Non-research contracts should be submitted through the School/Faculty Office, and/or administrative division or unit most relevant to the contract purpose for formal recommendation to be signed on behalf of the University by the appropriate Authorised Signatory.

If an academic staff member performing a consultancy wishes to use the outcomes of the consultancy to publish, or if the contractor is intending to make the results of the consultancy public, the consultancy should be referred to the Research Services Office as a potential research contract.

Research contracts

All research contracts must be submitted through the Research Services Office for review and recommendation to be signed on behalf of the University.  In most cases the contract will be signed by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) (contracts up to $500k) or Director, Research Services (for contracts up to $50k).  The Research Services Office should be contacted to assist in the development and negotiation of research contracts as early as possible. For further information about research contracts please contact the Director, Research Services.

International and offshore activities

Contracts with an international partner will normally be signed by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) (contracts up to $200k). Advice must be sought from the International Office about the format and content of a Contract or Memorandum of Understanding with an international partner, whether for activities conducted off-shore or within Australia.

Collaboration with TAFE

Staff seeking to develop cooperative arrangements between the University and programs offered through the TAFE system should consult the Guidelines for Developing Agreements relating to Cooperative Arrangements between Flinders University and TAFE-SA (PDF 35KB) .

The Template for agreements relating to cooperative arrangements between Flinders University and TAFE-SA (PDF 7KB) , can be edited to form the skeleton of an agreement. If a variation to the contract is needed, refer to the Guidelines for developing variation of agreements relating to cooperative arrangements between the University and TAFE-SA (PDF 18KB) .

Note: these Guidelines do not replace professional advice. University staff should consult with staff in Faculty Offices and the Policy and Secretariat about the drafting of contracts or agreements.

Contracts database

All contracts signed under the Policy on the Delegation of Authority to Enter into Contracts must be entered into the appropriate database, being the Contracts Register (for non-research contracts) or ResearchMaster (for research contracts). The information stored on these databases assists the University to:

  • track the progress of contracts from draft stage to fully signed
  • locate the original or true copies of contracts and agreements
  • monitor its contractual obligations
  • track when contracts may need to be renewed or varied
  • identify existing contracts that may provide a guide for future contractual agreements.

Getting access to the Contracts Register

Contractual arrangements entered into by the University may contain or relate to commercially sensitive information. Access to the Register is therefore restricted to staff of the University with approved access rights. Applications for access to the Contracts Register must be approved by your supervisor. Download the Contracts Register - Application for access (PDF 41KB) .

Getting to the Contracts Register

Procedures

1. Registering the contract

The area that first receives or drafts a contract is responsible for ensuring that basic information about the contract is entered into the appropriate database at the earliest opportunity.  Staff in the Research Services Office will register all research-related contracts in Research Master.  All other contracts should be registered in the Contracts Register.  The contract's unique Contract Register or ResearchMaster identification number can then be referenced in all communications leading to the contract being signed.

2.  Recommendation to sign

For each contract to be signed, the officer recommending that the contract be signed is required to sign the Section B Recommendation of the  Report on Entry into Contract form (DOC 74KB)  for referral to the authorised signatory with the contract for signature.  The Contract Register or ResearchMaster ID should be clearly identified at the top of the Report on Entry into Contract form.

This form confirms that the officer signing the contract has the required authority and that any risks associated with the Contract have been addressed.  The Authorised Signatory should sign the contract and the Section C Declaration of the Report on Entry into Contract form at the same time.

All research contracts must be submitted through the Research Services Office for review and formal recommendation to be signed.

The University's Executive Officer (Legal and Contracts) will provide advice on legal/contractual aspects of non-research contracts, as required, and may recommend any contract for signing.  However, it is normally expected that non-research contracts will be submitted through the School/Faculty Office, and/or administrative division or unit most relevant to the contract purpose for recommendation to be signed and that the recommending officer will take responsibility for ensuring the subsequent tracking of the contract through the signing process to full execution.

The officer who recommends the contract be signed should be an appropriate officer commensurate with the contract value and/or level of risk, or there should be documentary evidence on the record that an appropriately senior officer has also approved the contract being entered into.

3.  Documentation

Documentation recording advice from University officers on specific matters or risks associated with the contract should be provided with the contract for signing and be accessible to the authorised signatory on the relevant file.  In addition, the Research Services Office will require a Certification Form (DOC 200KB) for any contract for external research funding.  The Grants Finance Office will require this form to be completed before establishing an account for any external funding.

4. Filing of Contracts with Central Records

The original or true copy of a fully executed contract must be sent to Central Records, where it will be scanned into the University's official electronic document record management system, TRIM and placed on a TRIM hard copy file in a secure location. 

In most cases, the contract should be forwarded along with the completed Report on Entry into Contract form to Central Records, unless the form has already been scanned to TRIM when the contract was partially executed.  If the contract is not accompanied by the Report on Entry into Contract Form, the Contract Register or ResearchMaster ID for the contract should be clearly identified.

Central Records will notify the relevant area of the TRIM file and record number to be recorded in the Contract Register or ResearchMaster.

For information on the filing of contracts, contact the Manager, University Records, tel: 8201 3056, email: central.records@flinders.edu.au

5. Tracking the contract

The officer who recommends a contract for signing is responsible for ensuring that:

  • a fully executed original or true copy of the contract is returned to the University and is sent to Central Records, for filing;
  • information about the contract that is held in the Contracts Register or ResearchMaster is accurate and up to date, and includes the file location/record number of the fully executed original contract, once filed.

Review of Contracts Management

A review of contracts management University-wide is underway and is intended to be completed over coming months.  Changes will be notified through this web-page.  In the meantime, the University has extended its arrangement with Flinders Partners to include contract management services for all non-research contracts for the Faculties.  This increased level of support will be available until 31 December 2013.  Thereafter it will be reviewed and, if appropriate, extended for a further period.