Following the 2011 events giving rise to the resignations of Professors Greenfield and Keniger, the University of Queensland immediately commenced implementing a wide-reaching package of reforms to strengthen the integrity of its systems and processes. Much of this work was encompassed within the integrity and accountability reform program. This program was initiated to strengthen UQ in the areas of compliance, capacity and culture.

In parallel with this the CMC initiated its own review into how UQ handles and prevents official misconduct.

The review of UQ’s admissions rules and procedures recommended by the Carmody Review was undertaken in late 2011. The review’s recommendations were fully implemented in early 2012, including more robust admissions rules and additional checks and balances.

In May 2012, the University launched a comprehensive Integrity and Accountability Reform Program designed to strengthen the University's overall governance framework.

In February 2013, an independent review of the program was undertaken by Emeritus Professor Sutton (former Vice-Chancellor, Wollongong University and Chair of Universities Australia) and Dr David Watson (former Qld State Minister). They were asked to review all elements of the program and to advise on actions to further strengthen UQ’s reform initiatives and governance systems. The recommendations in the draft CMC Quality Review were taken into consideration by Professor Sutton and Dr Watson when preparing their report. The report Independent Review of The University of Queensland’s Integrity and Accountability Reform Program was publicly released in March 2013. The report recommendations are now in the process of being implemented.

The University’s Integrity and Accountability Reform Program has led to the implementation of a number of initiatives in the key areas of: Compliance - governance and integrity; Capacity - Education and communication; and Culture - cultural development. These initiatives are in-line with the recommendations of the CMC’s Quality Review of the University of Queensland, but in many instances go further to ensure that the tighter policies and processes are underpinned by a robust values-based framework and a strong commitment to capacity-building and cultural change.

A brief status report on the initiatives is provided below.

Compliance - governance and integrity

  • Admission rules and procedures: As outlined above, the recommendations from the Carmody Report on the 2011 admission irregularity have been fully implemented.
  • University’s policies: Major reviews of the University’s Public Interest Disclosure, Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest policies have been undertaken. A revised Public Interest Disclosure policy was approved by Senate in May 2013. The Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest policies have been drafted and are currently undergoing consultation. Further policy reviews will take place in response to the recommendations of the CMC Quality Review.
  • Assurance and risk management: An external review of UQ’s assurance and risk management structures was undertaken in late 2011. The recommendations of the review have been fully implemented (link - http://www.uq.edu.au/reform-program/compliance)
    • Three new units (Enterprise Risk; Internal Audit; and Investigations – links) have been established with revised charters and clear reporting lines to senior management and Senate oversight committees.
    • A new Associate Director (Investigations) commenced in late 2012, since this time:   
      • An on-line complaints form has been developed (as part of an enhanced website presence).
      • An Issues Management Group has been established to oversee investigations. It meets weekly and is chaired by the VC.
      • A Complaints Management System database has been purchased to assist with reporting obligations and to provide better information on patterns or emerging trends.
      • An Investigations Unit portal page had been developed within the University website. It provides fact sheets, assistance to staff and links to external agencies such as the CMC and the Ombudsman. 
      • A single complaints page has been developed. It has been designed to assist any person wishing to make a complaint to obtain the correct advice and assistance in a timely manner.
      • There is clear evidence that the new Investigations office is having an impact with: issues being reported more promptly and not anonymously and advice from the Office is being sought regularly. The Unit has established a strong working relationship with the CMC.
    • Two new financial auditors have been appointed.
    • A Legislative Compliance Framework is under development.
      • Work is underway to map the legislation that the University is required to comply with and the staff responsible for ensuring compliance. This will result in a Register of Legislation database. Also being developed are attendant policy, procedures and guidelines. It is anticipated that these will be presented to Senate in November 2013.
    • A Delegations Framework is under development.
      • A project is underway to establish a University Delegations of Authority Framework in the form of a database. A delegations policy will accompany the framework. As this is an extensive undertaking, the project has been divided into two phases: phase one being finance, human resources, and research; and phase two being teaching and learning and the remainder of the polices. Draft policy and procedures for phase one have been developed and consultation is about to take place. It is anticipated that these will be presented to Senate in November 2013.
    • A Strategic Procurement Unit is to be established.
      • The Unit will be responsible for all aspects of strategic procurement for the University and represents a shift to a more strategic approach involving new policies and procedures.  In addition to streamlining processes and identifying areas for savings, the Unit will provide an increased emphasis on risk management.  We are aware that there has been a number of procurement related matters referred to the CMC, which arose in part from staff not having the knowledge required for appropriate decision making. The new Unit will be responsible for the development of tools, training and education resources and will provide support and guidance for staff managing tender processes.

Capacity - Education and communication

  • Education: CMC capacity-building presentations were delivered to the University Senior Management Group and Senior Staff Forum in April 2012.  Both sessions were very well received. The key points from these events are now embedded in ongoing staff development programs.
  • Ethical decision-making and leadership: Half-day Ethical Leadership sessions were held in July/August 2012 for all members of the Senate and the University Senior Management Group.  Dr Simon Longstaff (Executive Director, St James Ethics Centre) conducted the sessions.  All participants engaged very positively, and the outcomes of the sessions have informed work to drive both culture change and the development of a robust values-based framework for UQ.
  • Improved communication of policy changes: All current policies have been transferred to the new UQ Policy and Procedures Library. Staff can more easily search the library and subscribe to automatic live updates of any new content.
  • Senior staff development: Staff development programs for senior staff have been comprehensively reviewed, with a specific focus on the points raised in the CMC’s Quality Review.  The new Investigations Unit has a strong brief around capacity-building and education. In late 2012, as a part of the UQ reform program, the reassessment of the University’s mission and values, and addressing the outcomes of the report on the UQ culture survey, the Vice-Chancellor requested that a working party on senior staff development be established to look at the options for the development of senior staff leadership capability across the University. Some of the key outcomes of this group include the establishment of a UQ Leadership Capability Framework, a Leadership Development Program, and the introduction of 360 degree performance reviews and coaching for the senior management of the University.

    A new approach to induction for new Heads of School (HoS) will include a personalised process that introduces a new HoS to the role, responsibilities and accountabilities of a HoS, including: the regulatory environment; the role of government in Higher Education; the role of the Senate; and the roles, responsibilities and legal obligations of University office bearers and specifically HoS. Key contacts across the University will be identified to provide ongoing support.

Culture - cultural development

  • Values framework: A highly consultative process has been undertaken to review UQ’s mission and vision statements, and to identify an agreed upon values framework for the institution. This body of work is now complete and Senate approved the new mission, vision and values statements in late June 2013. The new framework will guide decision making, strategic planning and ongoing efforts to build a stronger, more constructive workplace culture.
  • Culture survey: In 2012, the Nous Group was engaged to conduct an independent survey of UQ’s workplace culture.  The Nous Findings Report was released to all staff in March 2013 and there is a strong and clear commitment to respond to the survey findings and build a more constructive workplace culture. The Vice-Chancellor and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor have held six open forums to discuss the results of the survey with staff. A culture working group (chaired by the Vice-Chancellor) has been formed and a detailed body of work has been mapped out in order to address the findings of the culture survey. Specific actions include:
    • Inclusion of the need for cultural change as a major component of the Vice-Chancellor’s address to all staff on 31 May 2013.
    • Commencement of a 360 degree feedback process for all members of the Senior Management Group as part of developing senior staff capability. It is envisaged that this program will be rolled-out to other senior staff in the future.
    • Establishment of a number of sub-groups that will identify a range of actions to drive changes to organisational culture in the specific areas of: leadership; communication; introducing and managing change; workloads; bureaucracy; and UQ’s staff community.