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Code of Conduct

Purpose

Scope

Principles

Policy statements

Ownership and support

Definitions

Approval information

PDF version

References

1. Purpose

1.1 The university is committed to its positive, ethical and inclusive culture, consistent with its values.

1.2 This Code of Conduct (the code) sets out the behaviour required of all UTS staff and affiliates in meeting this commitment and the consequences of not meeting these requirements.

2. Scope

2.1 This code applies to all UTS staff and affiliates performing any function or activity for or on behalf of UTS, in Australia or overseas.

2.2 This code operates in addition to the requirements of other university policies, including the Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy, Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy, Child Protection Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Research Policy and Academic Freedom of Expression Policy.

2.3 This code is not a term of any contract, including any employment contract, however it is enforceable as a policy of the university under the Policy Framework. It can be varied by UTS from time to time.

2.4 Members of UTS Council and/or its committees are subject to the UTS Council Code of Conduct. Staff who are also members of Council or its committees will be subject to this code and the Council's code (outlined in the Governance Overview Handbook (PDF) available at UTS Council).

2.5 The statements on conflicts of interest apply to students.

3. Principles

3.1 Staff and affiliates are responsible for their own conduct.

3.2 UTS expects all staff and affiliates to perform their work, duties or functions to the best of their abilities, ethically and impartially, in line with the university's values, vision and strategy and furthered in the Social Impact Framework and Sustainability Policy.

3.3 Staff and affiliates are expected to ensure their interactions with each other, students and the wider community are in line with this code and the Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy.

3.4 This code provides overarching expectations of personal and professional behaviour at UTS. It does not address all possible issues and scenarios that may be faced in the course of performing work, duties or functions for UTS (refer statement 4.4).

4. Policy statements

Personal and professional behaviour

4.1 UTS requires all staff and affiliates to behave with the highest standards of professionalism and conduct at all times. Specifically, UTS requires staff and affiliates to:

  1. treat all members of the university and wider community with dignity and respect in line with the Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy
  2. comply with all legal, industrial, contractual and administrative requirements, and lawful and reasonable directions given by or on behalf of UTS
  3. be aware of and apply any legislative and regulatory requirements relevant to their position, specialisation or line of work (eg anti-discrimination legislation, Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector and workplace health and safety legislation)
  4. make decisions reasonably and without bias guided by facts and best practice
  5. maintain timely, adequate and appropriate documentation to support decision-making
  6. act responsibly when becoming aware of any unethical or unacceptable behaviour in line with this code and the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy and Child Protection Policy
  7. exercise academic freedom and freedom of expression in line with the values and expectations outlined in the Academic Freedom of Expression Policy, and
  8. be familiar with, implement and comply with all relevant UTS policies, procedures and guidelines.

4.2 Where possible, staff responsible for contract development, contract management and/or engaging contractors must ensure that the behavioural requirements of this code are included in the contract. Where this is not possible, behavioural expectations, conflicts of interest and confidentiality must be otherwise managed within the contract.

4.3 Behaviour or conduct that is inconsistent with the code or the Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy is unacceptable and managed as a breach of this code or as a breach of contract (as appropriate). UTS will investigate any unethical or unacceptable behaviour brought to its attention, particularly that which may have an adverse effect on the wellbeing of staff or students, and take any necessary action.

4.4 If there is any doubt about how to apply this code, or the appropriate course of action to take in a particular scenario, staff and affiliates should discuss the matter with their supervisor (or an appropriate senior member of staff).

Use of UTS information

4.5 Staff and affiliates must maintain the confidentiality, integrity and security of university information during and upon cessation of their work, duties or functions at UTS.

4.6 Staff and affiliates must respect the personal privacy of all individuals at UTS by collecting and managing personal information in line with the Privacy Policy.

4.7 Staff and affiliates must manage UTS corporate data in line with the Data Governance Policy and are accountable for the data they collect and manage on behalf of UTS.

4.8 Staff and affiliates must be aware of the university's obligations under the Government Information Public Access Act 2009 (NSW) (the GIPA Act), ensuring certain types of information are made publicly available as outlined at right to information (Staff Connect) and right to information (UTS website).

4.9 Staff and affiliates must not take, or seek to take, improper advantage of, or gain or seek to gain, a financial or other benefit from any university information that they may have access to as a result of their work, duties or functions. This may be classified as corrupt conduct and managed under the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy.

Publication of information

4.10 Staff and affiliates who publish information (in any format) must ensure that it is professional, ethical and lawful, and consider:

  1. UTS's responsibilities under the GIPA Act
  2. the Data Governance Policy
  3. the Privacy Policy
  4. the Research Policy
  5. the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy, and
  6. the Academic Freedom of Expression Policy.

4.11 When publishing academic work, course materials and the results of research, staff and affiliates must be aware of the ethical and legal requirements with regard to authorship and the acknowledgement of work done by others (including students) as required by the:

  1. Intellectual Property Policy
  2. Subject Descriptions and Subject Outlines Policy
  3. Open Access Policy, and
  4. authorship requirements in the Research Policy.

Use of UTS resources

4.12 Staff and affiliates must use UTS resources (eg materials, funds, equipment, facilities, email, UTS logo and letterhead) efficiently, professionally, honestly, ethically and lawfully. Issues of serious and substantial waste are managed under the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy. Further guidance on the use of IT resources is covered in the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy.

4.13 UTS resources must not be used for private purposes (unless other university policies, procedures or guidelines allow or permission has been granted).

Academic integrity

4.14 Academic integrity is described as 'the moral code of academia' (see TEQSA guidance note on academic integrity). Integrity and academic integrity are defined and outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy. These statements apply to staff and affiliates and any person undertaking academic work for or on behalf of UTS.

4.15 Academic staff and affiliates must:

  1. show integrity in their teaching and research and model the kinds of behaviours expected of students (ie to uphold recognised standards of integrity and honesty in scholarly work)
  2. demonstrate academic integrity with all aspects of a student's work (eg when assessing a student's work)
  3. comply with the Research Policy, and its associated procedures, when undertaking research (refer research governance (Staff Connect)).

Conflicts of interest

4.16 Conflicts of interests may arise from time to time for staff, students and affiliates in the performance of their work, duties or functions.

4.17 Conflicts of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following examples.

  1. Financial interests: where a person who has a financial interest in an external entity (eg company, sole trader, government authority) is in a position to influence contracts between that entity and UTS, for example as part of a role on a committee.
  2. Personal interests: where a person uses or manipulates their official position or external affiliation in order to gain a personal benefit (or could be perceived to act in this manner). See also potential conflicts when leaving UTS.
  3. Personal and family relationships: where a person works with family members or with other persons with whom they have a close (or hostile) relationship. For example, when a person is involved in a decision relating to the selection, appointment, promotion or performance management of another staff member or affiliate with whom they have a relationship. This may include situations where there is an indirect supervisory relationship that compromises the ability of a supervisor to be objective or impartial.
  4. Personal and family relationships between staff and students: where a person is responsible for supervising, teaching and/or assessing a student, or indirectly by affecting a student's interaction with UTS, that compromises the person's responsibility to all UTS students to behave reasonably, objectively and consistently.
  5. Outside work or private consulting: in some circumstances staff may engage in paid and unpaid work outside the university in line with the Outside Work Vice-Chancellor's Directive. Any outside work or private consulting must not adversely affect the performance of their work, duties or functions for UTS or give rise to a conflict or potential conflict of interest.
  6. Other external conflicts: where a person has an affiliation, or other relationship, with external or foreign companies or entities that may result in external influence on their teaching, research or decision-making. Staff and affiliates must also comply with the Gifts and Benefits Policy to avoid any potential interpretation of influence via the receipt of gifts as well as the Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector.

4.18 It is the responsibility of all staff, students and affiliates to ensure they identify and declare any perceived, actual or potential conflicts of interest as soon as they arise in line with this code. However managers, supervisors and colleagues must also be empowered to help others recognise when a conflict may occur.

4.19 Unreported conflicts of interest are considered a breach of this code. UTS may intervene if it reasonably considers that a conflict of interest has arisen, or may arise, between the private interests of staff, students or affiliates and their work, duties or functions at UTS.

Disclosure of conflicts of interest

4.20 Staff, students and affiliates must immediately disclose to their supervisor any actual or perceived conflict of interest. Any disclosure pertaining to a research project must also comply with the Research Policy and associated procedures.

4.21 Disclosures must be made by completing the conflict of interest disclosure statement (disclosure statement) available at staff conduct and responsibilities (Staff Connect). Staff, students and affiliates may also request the necessary disclosure documents from their supervisor, a Responsible Academic Officer, Faculty Manager, Human Resources Unit or Governance Support Unit.

4.22 In the case of affiliates, disclosure of conflicts of interest must be dealt with in accordance with the terms of the contract under which they provide services to UTS, where the contract specifically deals with the disclosure of conflicts of interest. If there is no contract, or the contract does not contain an obligation to report conflicts of interest, then the disclosure procedure set out in this code applies.

4.23 A conflict of interest disclosure is recognised by the university only once a disclosure statement is completed and provided to a supervisor, and the supervisor acknowledges that they have received the statement. The fact that a matter may be known by others, or is considered public knowledge, is not a substitute for disclosure in the disclosure statement.

4.24 The conflict should be discussed and the arrangements for conflict management agreed prior to completing the form. The disclosure statement must be signed by the supervisor (or Responsible Academic Officer) and the appropriate dean or director (or appropriate member of the Senior Executive if the person is a dean, director, the University Librarian, the University Secretary, the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor or a member of the Senior Executive).

4.25 Completed disclosure statements must be submitted to the Human Resources Unit (as outlined on the statement). The Human Resources Unit is responsible for keeping a central register of conflicts of interest declarations.

4.26 Supervisors must take action in relation to conflicts of interest that arise in their work areas. Supervisors must discuss potential courses of action to reach agreement with the individual making the disclosure and record all actions and/or directions on the disclosure statement. Actions may include reassigning work, duties, responsibilities or functions to another person to ensure that the conflict of interest is managed. This protects both the university as well as the individual(s) concerned.

4.27 Issues arising from the management of conflicts of interest will be referred to the Provost for academic staff and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) for all other staff and affiliates for resolution. Where the issue arising from the management of a conflict of interest involves the Provost or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) this should be referred to the Vice-Chancellor for resolution.

Fraud and corrupt conduct

4.28 Staff must report or disclose corrupt conduct, maladministration or serious and substantial waste in line with the Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy and Guidelines.

Public comment

4.29 Staff are free to make public comment in line with the Academic Freedom of Expression Policy, however they must ensure that all public comments made in a private capacity (in any format), whether during or outside work hours, are not attributed as official comment of the university.

4.30 Public comment that is considered a breach of this code, Academic Freedom of Expression Policy or Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy resulting in a complaint to the university will be managed as a code and/or policy breach.

4.31 Official stationery, email accounts or any media displaying the UTS logo or name must not be used for private correspondence or for purposes not related to university work, duties or functions.

Leaving UTS

4.32 Staff and affiliates must not disclose confidential UTS information which must remain confidential once their employment, appointment, engagement or association with UTS ends.

4.33 Staff and affiliates should not use or take advantage of personal or confidential information obtained during their time at UTS and should be aware of their responsibilities under the Privacy Policy.

4.34 Staff and affiliates must not allow their work to be influenced by plans for, or offers of, external employment, appointment or engagement that would conflict with, or compromise in any way, their obligations to UTS or the best interests of UTS.

4.35 Staff and affiliates must notify their supervisor as soon as they have accepted an offer of external employment, appointment or engagement in order to:

  • identify and rectify any potential conflicts of interest resulting from an offer
  • manage outstanding activities or apply any control measures (for example access to resources, data, equipment or funds).

4.36 Staff and affiliates must exercise care in their dealings with former UTS staff and affiliates to make sure they do not give them favourable treatment or access to personal or confidential information.

Breaches of the code

4.37 Breaches, or suspected breaches, of this code (either identified or reported) should be reported to the relevant manager or supervisor and must be managed in line with the enterprise agreement (sections on disciplinary action), contract of employment or other form of engagement.

4.38 UTS may take action against staff or affiliates who are found to be in breach of this code. Such action may include disciplinary action or sanctions for misconduct or serious misconduct under any applicable university enterprise agreement, contract of employment or other form of engagement, including, where relevant, termination of employment or contract. Breaches by honorary award holders, honorary title holders and affiliates with an honour name will be managed in accordance with the Honorary Titles and Awards Policy.

4.39 In some circumstances, breaches of this code may also result in UTS notifying a relevant statutory authority and/or agency, and action being taken by a statutory authority and/or agency where relevant legislation is breached. This may result in criminal action, fines or imprisonment.

5. Ownership and support

5.1 Owners:

  • The Provost is responsible for enforcement of and compliance with this code for academic staff.
  • The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Services) is responsible for enforcement of and compliance with this code for professional staff.

5.2 Contact: The Director, Human Resources is responsible for the implementation of this code and acts as the primary point of contact for advice on implementing its provisions.

5.3 Others

All staff and affiliates must:

  1. behave ethically and professionally, in line with the code's requirements
  2. create an environment where the code's requirements are reflected in the day-to-day management of staff and affiliates
  3. encourage staff and affiliates to maintain high standards of conduct in the workplace, and
  4. receive and act on reports of actual or potential conflicts of interest in accordance with this code.

6. Definitions

The following definitions apply for this code.

Academic integrity is defined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.

Affiliate includes honorary award and title holders, honour name holders, contractors, volunteers, agency staff, members of university/faculty committees (excluding UTS Council and its committees), and any other person appointed or engaged by UTS to perform work, duties or functions for UTS.

Conflicts of interest mean conflicts between an individual's work, duties or functions (academic, research, administrative, other), and their personal interests and/or the interests of the university as described in this policy. Such conflicts could directly or indirectly compromise the performance of their work, duties or functions or influence decision-making. UTS, drawing from the Managing conflicts of interest in the public sector standards (PDF) at Conflicts of interest outlined by the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), understands that conflicts of interest can be actual, perceived or potential.

  • Actual: involves a direct conflict between current work, duties or functions and existing private interests.
  • Perceived: where it is perceived, or appears, that private interests could improperly influence the performance of work, duties or functions whether or not this is the case.
  • Potential: where private interests could conflict with official work, duties or functions.

Integrity is defined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy.

Staff means any person employed by UTS, including professional, academic or senior staff, either full-time or part-time, permanent, casual or on a contractual basis in line with the university enterprise agreements.

University information includes, but is not limited to, UTS papers, documents, registers, files, photographs, microfilm, passwords, data or information stored in digital or printed form.

Approval information

Contact Director, Human Resources
Approval authority Council
Review date 2023
File number UR20/1771
Superseded documents Code of Conduct (UR 92/597)
Workplace Behaviour Statement

Version history

Version Approved by Approval date Effective date Sections modified
1.0 Council (COU 20-6/133) 25/11/2020 08/12/2020 New code.

PDF version

Code of Conduct (PDF 219KB)

References

Internal references

Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement available at staff conduct and responsibilities (Staff Connect).

Governance Overview Handbook (PDF) at UTS Council (for the Council Code of Conduct)

Research governance: research ethics and integrity guidelines (Staff Connect)

Right to information (Staff Connect) and right to information (UTS website)

Responsible Academic Officers

Staff conduct and responsibilities (Staff Connect)

UTS Enterprise Agreements

UTS 2027 strategy: values, vision and strategy

External references

Guidelines to counter foreign interference in the Australian university sector

Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)

TEQSA guidance note on academic integrity

University policy

Acceptable Use of Information Technology Facilities Policy

Child Protection Policy

Data Governance Policy

Equity, Inclusion and Respect Policy

Fraud and Corruption Prevention and Public Interest Disclosures Policy and Guidelines

Gifts and Benefits Policy

Health and Safety Policy

Honorary Titles and Awards Policy

Intellectual Property Policy

Open Access Policy

Outside Work Vice-Chancellor's Directive

Policy Framework

Privacy Policy

Research Policy and Procedures

Social Impact Framework

Student Rights and Responsibilities Policy

Subject Descriptions and Outlines Policy

Sustainability Policy

Legislation and regulatory instruments

Government Information Public Access Act 2009 (NSW)

Contact

Human Resources (Client Services): hrclientservices@uts.edu.au