Principles - Delegations of Authority

These principles govern the exercise of all delegations of authority under s10 of the University of Adelaide Act 1971.

  1. In exercising their delegated authorities or powers, University staff must:

    • act in the interests of the University

    • act in accordance with any applicable legislative, regulatory, contractual or University policy requirements (including the Behaviour and Conduct Policy),

    • observe any limits or conditions attached to the delegation

    • apply their own informed discretion and professional judgement to the matter, based on consultation and advice as the situation requires, and

    • obtain sufficient evidence to confirm that goods and services have been received commensurate with the value of the commitment. (For example, this would include independent and appropriate expert advice in relation to capital works expenditures.)

  2. A delegate must not exercise a delegation in order to approve a recommendation made either wholly or partly by the delegate.

  3. A person who has been formally appointed to act in a position can exercise any delegations that attach to that position, subject to any limits or conditions that may be imposed. 

  4. A delegate cannot sub-delegate unless the instrument of delegation allows it. A delegate may appoint a person or group, such as a committee, to advise about the exercise of a delegation, but the delegate remains responsible for making the decision.

  5. Staff are not compelled to exercise delegations. The fact that a staff member holds a delegation does not oblige the staff member to exercise the delegation if, in the opinion of the delegate some special or unusual circumstances are involved which make it sensible that the issue should receive consideration at a more senior level. 

  6. The exercise of a delegation must relate to the whole of a transaction not to parts or instalments thereof. (For example, a delegation limit will have been breached when a delegate approves the payment of instalments for the acquisition of an item where the total cost is above the financial limit held by the delegate.) 

  7. Where a financial commitment extends over time, for the purposes of determining the appropriate delegation level the value attached to the commitment decision is the whole life of the contract or commitment at the time the commitment is made. (For example, the delegation level of a ten year lease would be determined by the total ten year expected outlay.) 

  8. Where there is an increase in the cost of an acquisition from the original commitment, or a variation in scope which results in an increase in the cost, the same delegate giving the original approval should also approve the supplementary amount. If the new amount (an Principles – Delegations of Authority instalment amount or new whole of life commitment amount) exceeds the delegate's level of delegation then another delegate with the appropriate level of delegation or Council must approve the transaction.

  9. No person may make, or authorise the making of, a decision that could reasonably be expected to result (whether directly or indirectly) in a cost or liability which exceeds the financial limit, if any, of that person’s delegated authority.

Amendment History:
Approved by Council 5/05, 26 September 2005
Reviewed and approved by Council 8/17, 5 December 2017