VIP Engagement Procedure

Document Number001012
Date Approved9 June 2013

 1.     Introduction

Engagement with VIPs, senior officials and other dignitaries is an important way to promote and enhance the University’s achievements, and help us to achieve our education, and research and innovation objectives. How we engage is an important reflection of the University’s reputation, and, when done well, can influence the University’s capacity to engage further in the future.

Despite its size and complexity, the University is often expected to speak with a single voice. Reflecting that perception is only possible when information is effectively shared within the University community. This protocol establishes the University’s procedures for interacting with VIPs, senior officials and other dignitaries.

2.      Scope

Its scope includes VIP visits to any University of Newcastle campus or site, as well as any other types of VIP engagement carried out in an official capacity by staff, such as meetings, conversations and correspondence with VIPs. The protocol also covers circumstances in which staff contact VIPs to invite them to meetings, events or activities held or sponsored by the University.

3.      Intent

This protocol is intended to support staff to engage with VIPs in the interests of the University and its objectives. The processes outlined are not intended to interfere with or replace the networks and connections that exist, but to enhance them by ensuring that:

  • We meet the needs of VIP guests, collaborators and stakeholders
  • We take full advantage of opportunities presented by engagement with VIPs, including the ability to amplify the impact of such engagement through involvement of senior staff where appropriate
  • Effective media planning can be undertaken, where necessary
  • Records of engagement across the UON are maintained centrally and information flow is smooth and consistent
  • The University continues to be viewed as a professional and high-quality institution. 

Who is a VIP?

Judgement is important when deciding who should be defined as a VIP. In some cases, the ‘importance’ of an individual may differ according to context. Examples of individuals who would be classed as VIPs include, but are not limited to:

  • Current or past representatives of Australian federal or state governments, including senior public servants and diplomats
  • Anyone elected to federal or state parliaments
  • Representatives of overseas governments or parliaments, including diplomats
  • Royal or Vice-Regal representatives (the Governor-General, State Governors and their staff)
  • Representatives of local governments in the University’s regions
  • Notable academics (e.g. Nobel prize winners, university presidents, vice-chancellors, chancellors or equivalent)
  • Senior representatives of major international agencies (e.g. the United Nations)
  • Senior figures in industry and commerce (e.g. CEOs, board members, etc)
  • Senior representatives of research funding bodies, domestic or international
  • Any others with a profile which might draw media attention or impact on the image of the University.

This protocol applies in all situations, although if a short notice request for VIP engagement is made, please notify the office of the Vice-Chancellor directly, including out of hours. Contact Christopher Price, Senior Advisor to the VC, by email: or by phone: (02) 498-54995 or 0418 954093.

4.      Protocol for VIP Engagement






Stage one

Planning engagement

Where staff are planning to engage with a VIP (or their office), or invite a VIP to campus, they should inform the office of the Vice-Chancellor as far in advance as possible.

Engagements may include:

· Visits to UON

· Letters

· Face-to-face meetings

· Emails

· Phone calls

Stage two

VIP is not visiting UON

If the engagement does not include a visit by the VIP to the University, UON staff will be briefed on relevant issues by the VC’s office before engagement with the VIP.

The briefing ensures staff are fully aware of recent interactions and any points to note in relation to the VIP.

VIP is visiting UON

Where engagement includes a VIP visit, an ‘event template’  should be completed and a project team formed. A briefing on timings, venues, live issues, protocol etc will be issued by the project team to all participants in the visit.

Project team should include: staff responsible for initiating engagement; VC’s office; media team; VIP’s representative. A project lead should be identified.

Stage three


Following engagement with the VIP, UON staff (or the project lead in the case of a visit) should send to the VC’s office an email summarising the VIP engagement. If possible, include copies of any letters or emails exchanged, follow-up actions required and potential strategic opportunities flowing from the interaction.

Note should include:

· Staff involved

· Date/venue

· Nature of VIP engagement

· Next steps agreed (if any)

· Potential strategic opportunities

· Other details relevant to UON

For more information, contact Christopher Price, Senior Advisor to the VC, by email: or by phone: (02) 498-54995 or 0418 954093.

5.      Related Documents

Protocols for Respecting and Acknowledging Country Policy 000808

Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved9 June 2013
Date for Review9 June 2016
Policy SponsorVice-Chancellor
Policy OwnerVice-Chancellor
Policy ContactSenior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor
Amendment History

New procedure approved by Vice-Chancellor 9 June 2013.