Policy JCU Delegations Policy

JCU Delegations Policy


This Policy provides the overarching principles and describes the structure for decision-making, accountability and the exercise of delegated powers within the University.


All Delegations will:

  • Establish appropriate responsibility and accountability for various University functions.
  • Recognise that governance matters are the purview of Council and Committees of Council and that operational matters are the purview of management, with appropriate levels of Council oversight.
  • Recognise that governance decisions, should predominantly be retained by Council or delegated to Committees of Council and operational decisions will be delegated to one or more positions.
  • Have multiple Delegates where possible (to ensure flexibility).
  • Be positioned close to the source of responsibility with the appropriate knowledge, skills and designated position (decision relevance).


This policy applies to all members of University Council, members of Committees of Council and all staff of James Cook University while acting in their official capacity.  This policy does not apply to Controlled Entities or Boards of Controlled Entities.


Act – means the James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld)

Authorisation - is a mechanism where Council, a Committee of Council, or a Delegate authorises an appropriate JCU Staff member to carry out actions which arise from a decision made by a Delegate where:

(a) such enactment of that decision requires significant administration; and

(b) does not involve further decision making.

Conflict of Interest – a Conflict of Interest arises where the personal or private interests of a delegate could, or could be seen to, improperly influence the performance of the delegate’s official duties and responsibilities to the University. A Conflict of Interest can involve a material personal interest, a fiduciary obligation to a person or organisation other than the University, the financial or non-financial interests of business partners, family members, friends or others with a close personal relationship to the delegate.  A Conflict of Interest may be reasonably perceived, potential or actual.

Delegation – is the authority granted to a Delegate by a person or body in whom a power is vested by legislation or otherwise, to independently exercise that power.

Delegate - an appropriately qualified officer or group of persons empowered to act, or make decisions, through a Delegation.

Sub-delegation - means that the Vice Chancellor may delegate powers granted to the Vice Chancellor by Council, the JCU Act or another Act, to an appropriately qualified member of the University’s staff

University – James Cook University



1.   All Delegations must be managed in accordance with this policy and the relevant Delegation Management Procedure.

2.   All powers exercised under a Delegation must be exercised:

(a)  in accordance with:

i.   the James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld);

ii.  Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld);

iii. industrial awards and agreements;

iv.  relevant legislation;

v.   the Policy and Delegations Framework; and

vi.  the University’s policies and procedures;

(b) with due consideration for the best interests of the University; and

(c) in accordance with the University’s values and beliefs.

3.   Section 11(1) of the James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld) allows the University Council to delegate its powers to:

(a) an appropriately qualified member of the University Council;

(b) a committee consisting of appropriately qualified persons, but which must include 1 or more members of the University Council; or

(c)  an appropriately qualified member of the University’s staff.

However, section 11(2) of the Act prohibits the University Council from delegating its power:

(a) to make an election policy; or

(b) to adopt the University’s annual budget

Section 11 (3) of the Act allows for the sub-delegation of a power conferred by the University Council to the Vice Chancellor.  The Vice Chancellor may sub-delegate power only to an appropriately qualified member of the University’s staff.

4.   Except for the Vice Chancellor, a Delegate is not permitted to sub-delegate their delegated power to another individual or group of people. The Vice Chancellor may sub-delegate their delegated power in accordance with s.11 (3) of the Act and when expressly permitted by Council.

5.   Where an operational power is not specifically delegated (as recorded in the Sub-delegations Registers) it is assumed the power is conferred to the Vice Chancellor through the delegation to manage the day-to-day operations of the University.

6.   Section 32(5) of the James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld) allows the Vice Chancellor to delegate their legislatively vested powers under this or any other Act, where appropriate, to an ‘appropriately qualified member of the university’s staff’.

7.   Delegations are limited to the Delegate’s area of responsibility, in terms of organisational unit or portfolio, and within budgetary limits, unless otherwise explicitly stated in the relevant delegations schedule or register.

8.   Delegations are attached to positions not to the occupant of the position and extend to a person temporarily acting in that position for the duration of their temporary appointment.

9.   Delegations to Committees of Council are to the Committee acting as a whole, not to individual members of the Committee.

10. Delegations are hierarchical following the relevant lines of organisational authority up to and including the Council. As such, the powers and authorities held by any delegate are included in those held by that delegate’s supervisor or line manager and each officer in line of organisational authority senior to that officer in turn.

11. Where the JCU Enterprise Agreement nominates a position as being responsible for a matter, and that matter amounts to a delegation of authority, then the delegation of authority is granted solely to the nominated position.  In this situation only, the delegation is not hierarchical, and the supervisor or line manager does not hold the same authority.  This does not prevent the Delegate from appointing another person or body to advise about the exercise of delegated authority, however the Delegate remains responsible and accountable for the decision or action.

12. Delegations must have a clear and traceable source of authority.

13. If a staff member holds delegation and is unable exercise that delegation for any reason, including an apprehension of bias or a potential or actual conflict of interest, in the first instance the delegation should be exercised by the delegate’s supervisor or other senior officer in the line of authority. The Vice Chancellor can sub-delegate a delegation to an appropriately qualified staff member outside the hierarchical line of authority to support the effective operation of the University.

14. A Delegate may provide an Authorisation. This is not a sub-delegation. An Authorisation is where a Delegate authorises an appropriate staff member to undertake actions associated with the decision made by the Delegate. The Delegate retains full accountability for the exercise of the Delegation. A Delegate cannot authorise any other person to make a delegated decision on their behalf.

15. A Delegate may appoint another person or body to advise about the exercise of delegated authority (including decision making), however the Delegate always remains responsible and accountable for the decision or action.

16. Delegates must act reasonably, in the interests of the University and in accordance with good governance practices at all times. Where a delegation arises from a University policy or procedure, the Delegate must act in accordance with the intent of that policy or procedure.

17. In accordance with the Staff Code of Conduct, Code of Conduct – University Council, Conflict of Interest Policy and Procedure or Conflicts of Interests Policy and Procedure – University Council (if applicable), a Delegate must not exercise powers under their Delegation if it involves a direct personal benefit or interest.

18. Delegates may not exercise powers under Delegations in respect of themselves or their own positions. Limited exceptions to this must be specifically identified in approved Policy, Delegation Schedules or Registers or other formal University instruments.

19. A Delegate who is found to have exercised a power under a Delegation improperly may be subject to staff disciplinary processes and the Delegation(s) may be revoked or temporarily suspended by the Vice Chancellor either during, or as an outcome, of any disciplinary process.

20. The Vice Chancellor may revoke or temporarily suspend operational delegations or sub-delegations at any time.

Delegations Schedule

20. The JCU Delegations Schedule records governance related delegations into a single schedule:

  • Council reserved powers, being the powers stipulated in the JCU Act that Council may not delegate;
  • Council retained powers, being the powers Council resolves not to delegate.  These powers will normally relate to governance and strategic matters;
  • Powers delegated by Council to Committees;
  • Powers delegated by Council to the Chancellor;
  • Powers delegated by Council to the Vice Chancellor, and the Council does not permit sub-delegation.
  • Powers delegated by Council to other positions

The JCU Delegations Schedule is approved by Council and will be reviewed every two years, or earlier if required.

Sub-delegations Registers

21. The Sub-delegations Registers record operational sub-delegations conferred by the Vice Chancellor in accordance with section 11 (3) of the JCU Act.

22. The Sub-delegations Registers are aligned with the relevant policy domain and sponsored by the relevant sponsor, as recorded in the JCU Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map.

23. There are three JCU Sub-delegations Registers:

  • Academic and Student Sub-delegations Register
  • Financial Sub-delegations Register
  • Human Resources Sub-delegations Register

24. The Vice Chancellor is responsible for managing and approving the Sub-delegations Registers.

Delegation management

25. All Delegations will be periodically reviewed by policy domain sponsors.

26. Where a Delegation is found to exist outside of any Sub-delegation Register, it must be brought to the attention of the relevant policy domain sponsor for inclusion in the relevant Sub-delegation Register.

27. Where inconsistency is found between a Delegation located in an approved Delegations Schedule or Sub-delegations Register and a Delegation contained in a Policy or Procedure, the Delegation located in the relevant Delegations Schedule or Sub-delegations Register is deemed to be the applicable Delegation. The inconsistency must be brought to the attention of the relevant policy domain sponsor.

28. Managing changes to the Delegations Schedule and Sub-delegations Registers is the responsibility of the relevant sponsor as identified in the Policy and Delegations Framework and in accordance with the relevant Delegation Management Procedures.

29. Proposed changes to Delegations shall be made in consultation with relevant stakeholders prior to submission for approval.

30. Delegates are responsible for communicating any policy, process and Delegation management issues to the relevant sponsor.


JCU Delegations Schedule

Policy and Delegations Responsibilities Map

Sub-delegation Registers

Academic and Student Sub-delegation Register

Financial Sub-delegation Register

Human Resources Sub-delegation Register

Related policy instruments

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct – University Council

Conflicts of Interests – University Council Policy

Sub-delegations Management Procedure

Related documents and legislation

James Cook University Act 1997 (Qld)

Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld)

Financial Accountability Act 2009 (Qld)

Financial Administration and Audit Act 1997 (Qld)

Integrity Act 2009 (Qld)

Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld)

Statutory Bodies Financial Arrangements Act 1982 (Qld)


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainCorporate Governance
Policy Sub-domainCouncil Matters

Policy Custodian

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority


Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Approved by

Implementation date



22-116/06/2022Council18/07/2022Added item 11 clarifying that delegations sourced from the Enterprise Agreement are an exception to the general principle of the hierarchical nature of delegations. Consequential amendments made to item 17 to reflect new and re-named policies. Subsequent items renumbered.

Director, Planning, Performance and Analytics



Council (3/20)


Policy established as part of the review of JCU Delegations and establishment of the JCU Delegations Schedule and JCU Sub-delegations Registers.  This policy replaces the Academic and Student Delegations Policy, the Financial Delegations Policy and the Human Resources Delegations Policy, which have been disestablished by Council (3/20).

Director, Planning, Performance and Analytics


Delegation, authority

Contact person

Director, Planning, Performance and Analytics