Academics will still need to obtain the approval of their Head of Department in the first instance before starting any consultancy and should be able to demonstrate both a close link between the consultancy and their Department's strategy, and that the work complements the University's mission. As long as the assignment has been properly approved and contracted by the University before the work starts, it should be covered by the University's Professional Indemnity Insurance. This insurance cover is one of the principal benefits of carrying out consultancy through the University.
Consultancy is administered through the Consultancy Services Manager within Research and Innovation Services. The Consultancy Policy, approval forms and processes can be found here.
Clarifying the Procedures for Private Consultancy
To avoid any conflicts of interest, academics should always inform their Head of Department before starting a private consultancy assignment. It is particularly important that no use is made of University premises, stationery, email and other support systems which could imply involvement of the University in the work and also exposure to liabilities. Private consultancy work is not covered by the University's insurance policies and academics consulting in a private capacity are strongly advised to take out their own professional indemnity insurance.
It is important for staff to remember that they are personally responsible for the consequences of performing private consultancy work and for ensuring that clients are fully aware that the University is in no way responsible or liable in respect of consultancy work which is carried out privately by members of its staff. In order to minimise the risks to the University, from 1 August 2007 academics working in a private capacity are required to obtain a disclaimer signed by their clients. This highlights that:
The University is not responsible or liable for the work
The University's professional indemnity insurance does not cover the work
The University is aware of the work and the academic has compiled with institutional requirements in respect of this type of work.
Disclaimer of Liability for Private Consultancies, signed by the consultant and countersigned by the client.