Delegations Register

Register of Delegations

The Charles Darwin University Act 2003 gives Council, as the governing body of the University, the responsibility for the control and management of the affairs and concerns of the University. The Act and associated By-laws gives the Vice-Chancellor powers to manage the University. 

It is not possible for Council or the Vice-Chancellor to act on all of these powers and this is recognised in the Act under section 42 - Delegation. 

A power or function delegated (or passed down/transferred) under section 42 of the Act, is the partnership of authority and not responsibility to another staff member (normally to a subordinate) to act on their behalf to carry out specific activities.

When a power or function delegated under this section is exercised or performed by the delegate, it is taken to have been exercised or performed by the Council or Vice-Chancellor, as the case may be.

A delegation under this section does not prevent the exercise of a power or the performance of a function by the Council or Vice-Chancellor and they remain accountable for the outcome of the delegation and associated activities.

The Register of Delegations sets out the majority of the functions which Council has authorised staff members and bodies of the University to carry out regularly. It is intended to improve the efficiency of the administrative processes by the devolution of authority and accountability to appropriate staff members and committees to enable the proper discharge of their responsibilities and to ensure that internal controls are effective.

The reasons for operating under a Register of Delegations include:

  • Risk mitigation and management;
  • Ability to confirm that a decision is being made by a staff member with the appropriate authority;
  • Transparency, comparability and fairness across the University;
  • Exercise of responsibility and judgment across different levels of the University hierarchy;
  • Decision making in a timely way by staff members with the appropriate level of knowledge; and
  • Enhanced reputation as a University of high quality that enjoys good governance.

The Register of Delegations is not the source of all authority.  Not all potential actions can be foreseen.  Many actions will be taken by staff of the University under implied authority arising from position descriptions, policies, procedures, guidelines, practices, By-laws and Rules.

The Delegations Register applies to staff members of the University, its controlled entities, any affiliated institution, any college and any educational institution located on University premises who are engaged in business activities of the University.

 The following principles are to be applied in the exercise of a delegated power or function:

  • University staff members are required to comply with: any relevant legislation, including the Charles Darwin University Act 2003, By-Laws and Rules; industrial awards or agreements and the University's Governance Documents.
  • An Authorised Officer must not exercise a delegation in order to approve a recommendation made either wholly or partly by the Authorised Officer.
  • A person who has been formally appointed to act in a position can exercise any delegations that is attached to that position, subject to any limits or conditions that may be imposed.
  • An Authorised Officer cannot sub-delegate. An Authorised Officer may assign a person or group, such as a committee, to advise about the exercise of a delegation, but the Authorised Officer remains responsible for making the decision.
  • An Authorised Officer is not compelled to exercise a delegation. The fact that an Authorised Officer holds a delegation does not mean they are obliged to exercise that delegation if, in their opinion, there exists some special or unusual circumstances where it makes sense that the issue should receive consideration at a more senior level.
  • Certain basic approval authorities are provided under human resources delegations to staff members who exercise direct supervisory responsibilities. They are able to exercise the delegated authority conferred on them, but may only do so for staff under their authority.
  • The exercise of a delegation must relate to the whole of a transaction not to parts thereof. (For example it is not possible to approve the payment of instalments for the acquisition of an item where the total cost is above the financial limit held by the delegate).
  • Where there is an increase in the cost of an acquisition from the original commitment, the authorised officer giving the original approval should also approve the supplementary amount. If the new amount exceeds the authorised officer’s level of delegation then another authorised officer with the appropriate level of delegation must approve the transaction.
  • Staff members who act outside approved delegations including exceeding their position's delegation level may be subject to disciplinary action.