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Asset Management Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) The Western Sydney University has a significant investment in its fixed assets ('assets'). The Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 (NSW) ('the Act') establishes the framework under which the University must operate to ensure this investment is properly managed, controlled and recorded.

(2) This policy provides the principles and procedures for managing the University's assets.

(3) The policy applies to all University members, employees, contractors and appointees and any other person acting for or on behalf of the University.

(4) The policy should be read in conjunction with the Procurement Policy and the Delegations (Administrative) Policy.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) For the purposes of this policy:

  1. Fixed asset (also known as a non-current asset) means any item of plant or equipment which has a life expectancy (i.e. usage period) of more than one year. Items with a life expectancy of one year or less are considered to be consumable items.
  2. Responsible person means the person responsible for managing the assets of a functional area, ensuring compliance with related procedures, performing stocktakes and being a local contact for the Finance Officer, Fixed Assets.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(6) The University is committed to meeting its obligations under the Act.

(7) Effective asset management is part of the University's overall strategic decision-making.

(8) All assets purchased from funds administered by the University, including purchases from consultancy and research funds, are the property of the University, except where an agreement to the contrary is a condition of a particular grant or contract.

(9) All University members, employees, contractors and appointees are responsible for the proper care, protection and maintenance of University assets under their control, and must ensure those assets are only used for proper and authorised purposes.

(10) A person must hold the relevant delegation under the Delegations (Administrative) Policy to purchase, dispose of and write off assets.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(11) University members, employees, contractors and appointees must comply with the following procedures to implement the policy.

Part A - Classification of Assets

(12) The University's assets and asset account codes are classified as follows:

  1. Land (0531). All land purchased, donated or held on trust (Crown Land) is recorded. Land acquired without cost is recorded at valuation (at the date of acquisition);
  2. Buildings and Infrastructure (0541). These include buildings and inclusions such as ducted air-conditioning, electrical and plumbing installations, car parks, roads and underground services;
  3. Library Collection (0701). This comprises general book collection, rare books, manuscripts, DVDs and other recorded media;
  4. Works of Art (0721). These include paintings, sculptures and tapestries;
  5. Motor Vehicles (0586). These include sedans, utilities, buses and grounds vehicles;
  6. Printing Equipment (0601). This includes printing machinery and photocopiers;
  7. Computing Equipment (0581). This includes networking equipment, peripheral devices, PCs and printers;
  8. Audio-visual Equipment (0596). This includes sound systems, televisions and projectors;
  9. Science Equipment (0641). This includes all science and laboratory equipment;
  10. Other Equipment (0621). This includes all items not falling into the above categories;
  11. Buildings acquired under a financial lease arrangement (0774);
  12. Leasehold Improvements (0573);
  13. Investment Property (0761);
  14. Non-current Assets classified as held for sale (0410);
  15. Precious Objects. These include items of historical significance (recorded against the relevant account codes above).

Part B - Recording of Assets

(13) The Finance Office will record University assets as follows:

  1. for assets costing $2,000 and over, in the Oracle Financials Fixed Assets module;
  2. for assets costing $2,000 or more and having a useful life of more than two years, in the central Asset Register.

(14) The Asset Register is maintained by the Finance Office and:

  1. provides information to operational units of assets under their control;
  2. provides information to management to aid decision-making;
  3. provides information for external reporting;
  4. enables the University to calculate annual depreciation and losses/gains on the sale of assets to comply with accounting requirements; and
  5. for each asset, includes a description, location, cost, current depreciated amount, depreciation written off to date, estimated useful life and residual value.

(15) For leased assets, the Finance Office will enter into the Assets Register only assets that are subject to a Finance Lease.

(16) Each operational unit must record the following items in a local asset register:

  1. assets costing between $500 and $2,000 and having a life expectancy of more than 12 months;
  2. items at high risk from theft even if below $500, including portable and common use items such as hand drills, cameras and printers;
  3. assets on loan to the University, which must be shown in the register as 'On Loan to the University'; and
  4. assets on loan outside the University for periods under six months.

(17) Local asset registers should contain sufficient information to enable positive identification of assets, including at a minimum:

  1. a unique asset number;
  2. date of acquisition;
  3. cost;
  4. description;
  5. serial number;
  6. location; and
  7. for assets on loan outside the University:
    1. date of loan;
    2. borrower's name;
    3. borrower's signature;
    4. borrower's location;
    5. approving officer's name and signature;
    6. date of return;
    7. acquitting officer's signature.

Part C - Dealing with Assets

Asset Acquisition

(18) When deciding whether to acquire an asset, staff must consider whether:

  1. the purpose for which the fixed asset is required is in keeping with the objectives of the University and will provide significant, direct and tangible benefit to it;
  2. the purchase is necessary as there is no alternative University asset that could be upgraded or adapted;
  3. the asset is appropriate to the task or requirement and is cost effective over the life of the asset;
  4. the asset is compatible with existing equipment and will not result in unwarranted additional expenditure on other assets or resources;
  5. space and other necessary facilities to accommodate the asset are in place;
  6. the most suitable and appropriate type, brand and model etc. has been selected; and
  7. the proposed procurement process, which depends on the level of expenditure, complies with the Procurement Policy.

(19) Operational units must complete and submit to the Finance Office an Asset Acquisition Form in relation to the following assets:

  1. any new asset over $2,000 in value that is:
    1. donated to the University;
    2. constructed within University premises; or
    3. purchased by a University Corporate Credit Card;
  2. any asset subject to a Finance Lease;
  3. assets purchased by operational units through established consulting fund accounts, e.g. computers;
  4. upgrades or additions to existing assets over $2,000 in value;
  5. upgrades or additions to existing assets that will take the original asset value over $2,000;
  6. assets for which deposits or other part payments have been made once full payment has been made;
  7. assets purchased from funds administered by the University, except where an agreement that the assets are not the property of the University is part of the conditions of a contract;
  8. assets on loan to an organisation or individual outside the University for a period exceeding six months; and
  9. assets the subject of Major Periodic Maintenance which requires the replacement of a component asset e.g. replacement of a discrete sub-asset, or which increases the asset's originally assessed standard of performance or useful life.

Asset Use

(20) All employees must use University assets:

  1. for the purposes they were acquired; and
  2. with care and in a manner which ensures the property will be subjected to the minimum wear and tear or damage.

(21) The relevant Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Vice-President, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Dean or Director may approve University assets being installed or located off-campus.

Asset Performance

(22) Each unit head should nominate one or more responsible persons for their area (where necessary on a campus by campus basis).

(23) The responsible person is to:

  1. obtain and record:
    1. supplier maintenance contracts, ensuring they provide the most economic servicing and repair;
    2. relevant warranties for their unit's assets; and
  2. ensure as far as possible all plant and equipment assets are maintained in good working order by:
    1. arranging for care and servicing as recommended in manufacturers' manuals;
    2. identifying the most efficient repair and maintenance strategy; and
    3. developing an operation and maintenance plan which establishes responsibility and standards for the level of use, condition, servicing and performance of their unit's assets; and
  3. ensure asset performance is regularly reviewed to identify under-utilised and under-performing assets and take appropriate action, in conjunction with the unit head.

Asset Safeguard

(24) Unit heads must secure assets under their control, including ensuring only authorised persons use assets, safeguard assets against theft and damage, and allow assets to be removed from University premises only with their approval.

(25) Employees must take particular steps to limit the risk of loss or theft of PCs, laptops, tablets and cameras because of their portable nature and the confidential information they may contain, including:

  1. keeping offices locked when unattended and when travelling;
  2. not leaving items unattended in public places, particularly in motor vehicles;
  3. transporting portable items in other than normal laptop bags or cases and removing all confidential information not required for the trip.

(26) As far as possible, the responsible person is to ensure all non-leased assets are permanently marked as being the property of the University by engraving or some other effective means.

Part D - Stocktake of Assets

(27) Each year, operational units will undertake a stocktake of:

  1. fixed assets in the Asset Register on a progressive cyclical basis or at a selected stocktake date; and
  2. minor assets (value below $2,000) in local asset registers, and maintain records of the stocktake for audit purposes.

(28) The Finance Officer, Fixed Assets will provide support to operational units undertaking stocktakes of fixed assets. The Finance Officer, Fixed Assets and the Office of Audit and Risk Assessment may conduct sample checking of finalised stocktakes.

Part E - Accounting for Assets

(29) The University uses depreciation to allocate the cost to particular accounting periods of 'using up' the service potential of the asset over its useful life. Depreciation does not result in funds for future asset purchases.

(30) The Finance Office will undertake all depreciation accounting of University assets on a straight-line basis, i.e. over time basis using the rates applied in the Applicable Depreciation Rate Table. In particular, the Finance Office will:

  1. depreciate assets costing $5,000 or more;
  2. not depreciate assets costing between $2,000 and $5,000, which are treated as 'non-capital' items and are expensed at purchase; and
  3. not depreciate land, works of art, precious objects and rare books forming part of the Library Collection, and non-current assets classified as held for sale.

(31) Depreciation charges commence at the beginning of the month in which the asset is first used or held ready for use. No depreciation charge is assigned in the month of the disposal of an asset which has not already been fully depreciated.

(32) The Finance Office will not capitalise furniture and fittings where their individual value does not exceed the University's $5,000 capitalisation threshold, which are expensed.

Periodic Valuations

(33) The responsible person is to ensure asset values and their remaining useful lives are regularly reviewed to reflect the true financial position. Assets that do not lend themselves easily to a depreciation calculation will be valued periodically.

(34) The Finance Office will arrange for valuations to be undertaken of land and buildings, artwork and precious objects by an independent professional valuer every three years. The Finance Office will reflect any changes resulting from the periodic valuation in the Asset Register and depreciation provision.

Reconciliation to General Ledger

(35) Each month, the Finance Office will reconcile the Asset Register with the General Ledger asset accounts, investigate any discrepancies and take corrective action.

Part F - Assets on Loan Outside the University

(36) Assets may be loaned to organisations or individuals outside the University, where the responsible person:

  1. obtains approval for the loan, in accordance with Schedule A of the Delegations (Administrative) Policy;
  2. obtains evidence from the organisation or individual of adequate all-risks insurance;
  3. notifies the organisation or individual that they are:
    1. responsible for paying all expenses associated with the removal and return of the asset;
    2. responsible for items under their control; and
    3. liable for any loss or damage not recoverable from the University's insurers.

(37) The responsible person may request the temporary return of assets on loan for the purposes of a periodic stocktake.

(38) Unit heads must ensure employees return any asset on loan to them before their last day of service.

Part G - Insurance

(39) The University insures all assets that are subject to significant risk.

(40) All losses are subject to a deductible amount of $10,000 per claimed event and an operational unit that incurs a loss will receive the insurance replacement value less the deductible amount.

Part H - Disposal of Assets

Authority to Dispose of Assets

(41) Only staff who hold the appropriate delegation under the Delegation (Administrative) Policy may approve the disposal of assets.

(42) Information Technology Procurement Unit must coordinate the disposal of all University Non-Leased IT assets.

(43) The Procurement Unit must:

  1. coordinate the disposal of all motor vehicles and all other plant and equipment; and
  2. organise any asset for sale or auction through Ebay.

Disposal Method

(44) Employees must comply with the following requirements when disposing of University assets:

  1. Assets must be disposed by the method which offers the best return to the University.
  2. Any disposal that involves financial consideration must be undertaken in consultation with the Procurement Unit.
  3. Auctioneers holding a government contract must conduct auctions of University assets.
  4. The calling of tenders must be undertaken in accordance with the Procurement Policy.
  5. Assets may be disposed by private sale only where:
    1. there is only one apparent customer;
    2. there is an established market price for the asset;
    3. the cost by sale by another means would likely exceed the anticipated proceeds; or
    4. the sale is to an educational or charitable organisation.
  6. Donations to charities or community organisations of University assets should only be made where no sales market exists for the asset or where the costs of alternate methods of disposal would exceed the expected proceeds. The Vice-President, Finance and Resources or the Executive Director, Financial Operations must approve any donation of items on the asset register.
  7. Disposal of University assets by destruction should only be used when all other methods have been explored.
  8. Due regard should be given to the transfer of University assets to government bodies even if fair market value cannot be obtained for such transfer.
  9. An asset that was purchased from funding provided for a research project that has subsequently been transferred to another organisation, may also be transferred to that organisation where:
    1. the particular grant or contract states the assets are not the property of the University;
    2. the assets were purchased from external research funds; and
    3. the Vice-President, Finance and Resources or Executive Director, Financial Operations agrees with the other organisation to the transfer.
  10. An asset may only be written off up to the value of the original purchase price.

Theft and Loss of Assets

(45) The unit head must immediately notify the Director, Campus Safety and Security and the Accountant, Tax and Insurance of the theft, loss or malicious damage of any University asset and prepare and submit to the relevant delegate a written report which:

  1. seeks approval for write-off action;
  2. specifies any insurance claim to be made; and
  3. recommends referral of the matter to the Police if appropriate.

(46) The delegated authority may write-off plant and equipment losses, thefts or destruction only after all reasonable action has been taken to recover the relevant asset. The Finance Office must report all exercises of this delegation to the Finance and Investment Committee.

Proceeds on Sale of Assets

(47) The Finance Office will usually credit any revenue obtained from the disposal of an asset to the Cost Centre/Project from which the asset was purchased.

Advice of Disposal

(48) The responsible person of an operational unit that disposes of an asset by sale, transfer, loss, theft, trade-in or destruction must provide an Asset Disposal Form to the Finance Officer, Fixed Assets.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(49) Details of the IT asset disposal process and the return process for leased computing equipment are located at the ITP website.