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Conference Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University recognises that conferences are an important part of the academic, community engagement and commercial activities of the University. There are significant benefits for the University and staff through appropriate involvement in conferences from the sharing of knowledge, enhancement of the image of the University and potentially, in increased earnings.

(2) This document sets out the policy of the University with respect to conferences involving the University which are open to participation by external parties. The nature of the involvement could include organisation, sponsorship, co-branding or funding. It excludes conferences which are open to participation by University staff, students and/or contractors only, which are covered in the Staff Conferences and Planning Days Policy.

(3) The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to all staff, students and contractors in the management of University resources and risks in order to facilitate the smooth conduct of conferences. Any conference proposal would need to comply with the Commercial Activities Guidelines of the University and other policies as applicable.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(4) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. conference - means any discussion or sharing of ideas through a formal event which involves the University and is open to participation by external parties by registration and involves single or multiple concurrent, or separate sessions and may involve payment of fees. (If further clarification is required on the definition, contact Commercial Services and Governance).
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) Conferences are an important part of the academic, community engagement and commercial activities of the University. There are considerable benefits for the University and staff through appropriate involvement in conferences from the sharing of knowledge, enhancement of the image of the University and potentially, in increased earnings. Given the value of conferences and potential risks if the University's involvement is inappropriately managed, this policy aims to ensure the achievement of the following key objectives:

  1. clear procedures and processes to staff organising conferences;
  2. risk management procedures and processes for conference organisers and the University;
  3. protection of the University image, reputation and assets including its intellectual property, facilities and staff;
  4. guidelines on avoiding conflict between the objectives of the conference and the interests of the University and/or its entities; and
  5. management of financial, human and systems risks.

(6) The University requires compliance with the University Policies listed in the Associated Information page in any involvement with conferences, including but not limited to:

  1. the right to specify financial returns on use of University resources in accordance with the University's Commercial Activities Guidelines. These include but are not limited to financial, human, systems and organisational resources;
  2. Work Health and Safety; and
  3. University Code of Conduct.

(7) In addition the University has specific compliance requirements with respect to the use of the University Brand (eg Logo) and University visual identity. Refer to the Brand and Visual Identity Management Policy.

(8) The University will not have any involvement with conferences that involve the promotion of the following:

  1. tobacco, alcohol or use of other addictive substances;
  2. gambling;
  3. use of weapons or ammunition;
  4. "Adult Services" and pornography;
  5. discrimination or vilification of a person or section of the community because of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, religion, disability or political belief;
  6. any illegal activity; or
  7. portrays, promotes, implies or suggests any other thing which, in the reasonable view of the University Executive, would damage the reputation, standing or brand of the University (Refer to the Brand and Visual Identity Management Policy).
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Section 4 - Procedures

(9) All Conferences must have a senior University sponsor who has overall responsibility and accountability for the involvement of the University. The sponsor may delegate operational responsibilities to a designated project manager to ensure the following:

  1. academic and professional standards and appropriate sign off;
  2. administration and organisation including advertising, administration, registration, revenue management, accounting, parking, signage, catering and cleaning practices of the University, where applicable;
  3. compliance with relevant University policies; and
  4. financial control including compliance with the Delegations of Authority Policy and the Commercial Activities Guidelines.

(10) Academic approvals should be sought from the Dean, as required.

(11) All proposals to host a conference require completion and approval of a Conference Business Case prior to commencing arrangements. Proposals are to be approved by the appropriate University Delegate in accordance with the University Delegations of Authority Policy - Delegations Schedule CC - Commercial Activities Delegations. Proposals that involve revenue or expenditure in excess of $100,000 are also to be endorsed by the University's Business and Infrastructure Development Committee (BIDC) and entered in the University's Commercial Activities Register.

(12) Assistance is available to complete the Business Case from Commercial Services and Governance.

(13) It is recommended that University facilities are utilised where available. If the conference is on campus, then coordination and booking is required with the use of facilities. Where a web presence is required for a conference, the business case must include provisions for both implementation and maintenance and/or a timeline for decommissioning. When a conference is hosted by the University on University facilities, administration and organisation can be outsourced, or alternatively needs to be coordinated in conjunction with the following areas:

  1. advertising, sponsorship and web presence - Office of Marketing (refer to the University Funded External Sponsorship Policy, the Brand and Visual Identity Management Policy and the Web Policy);
  2. on-site facilities booking and catering - Western Unlimited Ltd;
  3. insurance - Finance Office;
  4. parking and security - Campus Safety and Security;
  5. signage - Office of Estate Planning and Strategy;
  6. cleaning - University cleaning contractors through Infrastructure Services; and
  7. travel and accommodation - Finance Office using the University's contracted travel provider.

(14) Where the University organises a conference on behalf of an external organisation which involves the payment of monies from/to the organisation, a contract is required between the parties which clearly outlines the rights and obligations of the parties and should be executed by the authorised delegate in accordance with the University's Delegations of Authority Policy.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

Part A - Introduction

(15) A Business Case forms part of the approval process for conference hosting. It should contain sufficient information to brief the approval authority and/or the University's Business and Infrastructure Development Committee (BIDC) on background to the conference, as well as all the necessary information required to make an informed decision as to why the University should undertake this project. The Business Case should also elaborate any risks associated with the project as well as risk management measures that will be employed. The Business Case together with a Budget Summary are to be submitted to the approval authority and if required the University's Business and Infrastructure Development Committee prior to any arrangements being booked or confirmed.

Part B - How to use this Document

(16) This document provides guidelines on developing a Business Case. A template is provided in the Associated Documents to this Policy.

Part C - Sections and Structure of the Business Case

(17) The Business Case should cover the following areas:

  1. an analysis of the benefits and costs to the University, including a budget summary;
  2. a Risk Assessment and Management Plan and if required; and
  3. an outline Project Management Plan.

(18) In summary the recommended sections of the Business Case are:

  1. Introduction: Objectives of business case
  2. Background
  3. Benefits to the University
  4. Cost
  5. Conference Management Structure
  6. Risk Assessment and Management Plan
  7. Recommendations

(19) The Business Case template outlines the suggested and/or required content for each of the above sections.

Part D - Project Management

(20) Where the conference organisation is complex and involves several activities and/or parties, the Business Case should outline who is responsible for managing the project. The following activities should be considered as a minimum:

  1. Regular Work In Progress (WIP) meetings with the project team. Indicate the proposed frequency of these meetings.
  2. Maintaining an Issues Register where all the issues that arise together with the solution are documented
  3. Having defined change management procedures in place.
  4. Maintaining and updating the project's schedule on a regular basis.
  5. Tracking actual expenditure against approved budget. Indicate who will be accountable for this.
  6. Providing regular conference management reports using the Conference Organisation Progress Report Template.

(21) External organisers may be used to facilitate conference organisation.

(22) The University's contracted Travel Management Provider is to be used to coordinate travel, accommodation and non-University venue hire. They may also be used to coordinate other aspects of the conference depending on the complexity of the event.