Contracts management

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.

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.

As indicated in the University's Policy on the Delegation of Authority to Enter into Contracts, contracts can be authorised only by original signatures in ink.  Oral contracts, which are contracts made verbally, when one party promises to provide goods or perform services in return for a form of payment, must be avoided. Oral contracts are as enforceable as written contracts. When discussing the terms of a contract that is being developed, staff should take care not to bind themselves and/or the University inadvertently. Contact Legal Services if a party claims that you have entered into an oral contract.

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 Centre 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.

Procedures

1. Maintaining good records

The area that first receives or drafts a contract is responsible for ensuring that good records are maintained.  It is important that there is a complete evidence trail in relation to the negotation process of a contract.

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 (ROEC) form (DOCX 35KB) for referral to the authorised signatory with the contract for signature. 

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 top of the ROEC form has provision for the ResearchMaster ID.  Research Master is a database used by the Research Services Office to support their research project and contracts administration activities.

The Legal Services Team 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 business owner 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 180KB) 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. Tracking and Filing of Contracts

The business owner of a contract is responsible for ensuring that the original or true copy of a fully executed contract is returned to the University and sent to Central Records for retention in hard copy.

The contract should be forwarded to Central Records along with the completed Report on Entry into Contract form, unless the form has already been registered in the Record Management System (TRIM) when the contract was partially executed. 

All contracts signed under the Policy on the Delegation of Authority to Enter into Contracts must be registered in the University's Record Management System (TRIM).  The registration information stored in TRIM assists the University to:

  • track the progress of contracts ie. partially or fully signed, or terminated;
  • meet external and internal reporting requirements;
  • track when contracts may need to be renewed or varied.

Detailed requirements are provided in the Records Management System Rules and in the procedures for registering a legal document in TRIM.  For further information on the filing of contracts and supporting documentation, contact the Manager, University Records, tel: 8201 3056, email: central.records@flinders.edu.au

5.  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, Flinders Partners will provide contract management services for all non-research contracts to the Faculties.

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