Submissions to Government and Other Public Inquiries Procedure

Document Number001011
Date Approved9 June 2013
 

1.      Introduction

In a complex and rapidly changing external environment, it is important that the University takes full advantage of opportunities to contribute to public debate and shape public policy. One key channel for public comment by the University is submissions to government, non-government and other public inquiries. Such inquiries will often canvass issues of substantial importance to the University, its strategic direction, or the higher education sector, and it is critical that the University’s response is cohesive, coordinated and designed to maximise strategic impact.

2.      Intent

This protocol is intended to support staff to make a submission to a public inquiry in the interests of the University and its objectives, and recognises and affirms the principles outlined in the University’s Media Policy in relation to expert comment by our staff. In engaging with government and non-government agencies through submissions to public inquiries, expert commentators can expect the support of the University. This does not imply endorsement of a particular view expressed, but means that their right to speak as a University staff member in their area of expertise will be upheld. The University also recognises and respects the concept of academic freedom. It expects that staff will accept the responsibility that academic freedom imposes: to ensure that information provided to the public through such submissions is supported by peer-reviewed evidence.

3.      Scope

What is a public inquiry?

Public inquiries may be conducted by a range of government and non-government bodies, and are usually established to investigate and advise on specific issues. As part of the process of most inquiries, public participation is actively sought through public hearings, open fora, and written submissions from members of the public and relevant interest groups. The outcome of the majority of inquiries will be the delivery of a report with recommendations that is submitted to government or other relevant bodies.

Public inquiries may include, but are not limited to:

  • Matters referred by the House of Representatives or the Senate for investigation and advice to a Committee
  • Commonwealth and State Parliamentary inquiries
  • Commonwealth and State Royal Commissions
  • Inquiries initiated by Commonwealth statutory bodies (such as the Productivity Commission or the ACCC)
  • Inquiries initiated by a particular Federal or State Minister
  • Inquiries conducted by private associations, lobby groups and other non-statutory organisations
  • Inquiries of external international bodies, such as the United Nations or the OECD

For more information, contact Christopher Price, Senior Advisor to the VC, by email: Christopher.Price@newcastle.edu.au or by phone: (02) 498-54995 or 0418 954093.

4.      Protocol for Submissions

 

STAGE

ENGAGEMENT

ACTION

DETAILS

Stage one

Decision to make a submission

Once calls for submissions to a particular inquiry have been released, any staff member wishing to make a submission should notify the Office of the Vice-Chancellor as soon as possible. The Office of the Vice-Chancellor can provide advice on other planned submissions and past submissions of relevance, as well as offer strategic input where appropriate.

Calls for submissions may be published electronically, via newspaper or website notices, or through direct contact with the University or an individual.

Stage two

Preparing a submission on behalf of the University

If the proposed submission canvasses issues of substantial importance to the University, its strategic direction, or the higher education sector, the submission should be made on behalf of the University. Where a proposed submission falls into this category, the Office of the Vice-Chancellor will coordinate the response with relevant staff and the Media team (where appropriate).

Submissions made on behalf of the University will generally need to be approved and issued by the Vice-Chancellor or nominated member of the Executive.

Preparing a submission as an expert commentator

Where staff are making a submission on the basis of their area of expertise, the University’s policy on expert comment will apply.

While such submissions do not require formal approval from the Vice-Chancellor, staff are encouraged to contact the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for relevant advice on maximising the strategic impact of the submission.

Preparing a submission as a private individual

A University staff member may make a submission to any inquiry as a private individual, rather than in their capacity as an employee of the University. In this circumstance, University letterhead and electronic materials should not be used.

If unsure about whether to prepare a submission as an expert commentator or private individual, contact the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

Stage three

Follow-up

Once the submission has been provided to the relevant external body, a copy of the final submission should be provided to the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for placement in the resource library. Depending on the nature of the submission, it may be published on the University’s website or reproduced in part or in full. Please advise the Office of the Vice-Chancellor if the submission needs to remain confidential, and ensure that confidentiality is recorded on the submission.

Where possible, submissions should be provided as a web-optimised PDF.

For more information, contact Christopher Price, Senior Advisor to the VC, by email: Christopher.Price@newcastle.edu.au or by phone: (02) 498-54995 or 0418 954093.

5.      Related Documents

Media Policy 000894

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved9 June 2013
Date for Review9 June 2016
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerVice-Chancellor
Policy ContactSenior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor
Amendment History

New procedure approved by Vice-Chancellor 9 June 2013.