Appointment by Invitation: Exceptional Circumstances Policy

Document Number000927
Date Approved14 December 2010


1.      Introduction

1.1      This policy supports the broad goals of the University’s Strategic Plan and its particular commitment to fostering excellence in education and research and valuing equity.

1.2      The University recognises that it operates in a competitive environment and at times will need to act quickly to secure exceptional staff who are recognised leaders in a professional or technical area.

1.3      This policy should be considered alongside the University’s Recruitment Policy (and related policies) which outlines the University’s commitment to selection on merit of new staff.

2.      Policy Intent

To provide for the flexibility and responsiveness necessary to ensure that certain fixed-term, strategic priority positions and senior appointments can be filled quickly outside the standard recruitment procedure.

3.      Definitions

In the context of this document:

Senior appointments means the appointment of a Director, Associate Director, Senior Manager or similar.

4.      Policy principles

4.1.     Merit is the overriding criterion and must be established by peer review and other forms of assessment such as qualifications, expertise and achievements of the individual.

4.2.     In exceptional circumstances the Vice-Chancellor may waive the requirement to advertise a position and make an appointment by invitation.

4.3.     Appointment by invitation outside the standard recruitment procedure will only be used in exceptional circumstances for the recruitment of a recognised leader with an outstanding reputation.

4.4.     Such an appointment will be made when the appointment is judged to be critically important to the strategic direction and reputation of the University and where the potential appointee would not normally seek an appointment or, because of their profile, would not wish to be seen to seek an appointment.

4.5.     The procedure will generally be used for the appointment of an external individual who is not a staff member of the University of Newcastle. 

4.6.     Approval to appoint by invitation in exceptional circumstances will be made on the basis of evidence provided through the following procedure.

5.      Procedure

5.1.     The procedure for appointment by invitation in exceptional circumstances will be initiated by a Divisional Head of the University.  The Divisional Head will make a recommendation to the Vice-Chancellor for consideration of the appointment of an external individual to a senior position at the University of Newcastle.

5.2.     The procedure can only be utilised where the proposed appointment is required to be made:

  1. In a short time frame to meet urgent or critical operational needs;
  2. Where the appointment would provide a major competitive advantage to the University and any breach of confidentiality would place the appointee and the appointment at risk, or
  3. In other exceptional circumstances with the approval of the Vice-Chancellor.

5.3.     The Vice-Chancellor will consult with the appropriate members of the Executive Committee prior to proceeding.

5.4.     Following approval to proceed, members of an Exceptional Circumstances Appointment Committee will be appointed by the Vice-Chancellor to assess the merits of the case. The Committee will consider relevant material which will normally include the following:

  1. a statement by the Director as to why the individual is so critical to the strategic direction of the University that the standard competitive recruitment process would not meet the needs of the University or the appointee within an acceptable period of time;
  2. a statement by the relevant Divisional Head in support of the individual appointment;
  3. the individual’s curriculum vitae and a brief statement on any selection criteria as determined by the Exceptional Circumstances Appointment Committee;
  4. reports from at least two referees if determined appropriate by the Vice-Chancellor, having regard to the particular circumstance;
  5. conflicts of interest are to be declared by members of the Exceptional Circumstances Appointment Committee; where conflict is identified the Chair of the Committee is to take appropriate action to mange any conflict before the Committee considers the proposal to appoint the individual and any subsequent recommendation it might make to the Vice-Chancellor, and
  6. other documents that may be requested by the Vice-Chancellor.

5.5.     The Exceptional Circumstances Appointment Committee will comprise:

  • Vice-Chancellor (Chair)
  • A Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Global Relations) or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
  • Director , Human Resource Services
  • Two Senior Managers as determined by the Vice-Chancellor

5.6.     Assessment

  1. The Committee will consider the case expeditiously.
  2. The individual may be interviewed by the Committee.
  3. The Committee will assess the individual against the same standards as used in any appointment process for a position at the same level.
  4. The exceptional circumstances process is about responding in a timely manner to a strategic need and opportunity; it is not about applying different standards. The standards applied in the exceptional circumstances process must support the Committee’s assessment that a process of advertisement and selection would not, in all probability, lead to a stronger appointment.

5.7.     Outcome

On the advice of the Exceptional Circumstances Appointment Committee, the Vice-Chancellor will determine the outcome.

5.8.     Conditions

An individual who is offered appointment through this process will be bound, as a condition of their employment, by any terms and conditions applying to the appointment determined by the Vice-Chancellor.

6.      Essential Supporting Documents

Recruitment Policy 000924

Conflicts of Interest Policy 000934 

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved14 December 2010
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Policy ContactManager, HR Services Team, Human Resource Services
Amendment History

Policy Owner modified from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and Global Relations) to Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to reflect structural changes from 1 January 2013, The Secretariat, 23 August 2013.

Minor amendments and addition of hyperlinks to Essential Supporting Documents by Governance & Policy, 16 April 2012.