• HR Home
  • Outside professional activities

Rules Governing Outside Professional Activities



The University's functions of teaching and research can flourish only when they are sustained by continuing interaction between the University and the community it is intended to serve, including relationships with industrial, governmental and other organisations.

Such interactions are of particular value to the University when they offer opportunity for professional development or otherwise enhance the effectiveness of staff as members of the University.

The University encourages staff participation in outside activities which contribute to professional development by providing opportunities for interaction with industry, business, government or other institutions. The University facilitates such interaction by allowing academic staff substantial freedom in arranging their working lives. At the same time, this freedom is granted subject to the overriding principle that the primary professional commitment of a member of staff during their contract is to the University.

1.2 However, there is considerable risk of conflict between outside professional activities and the University's own function, and it is therefore necessary to set up orderly procedures to ensure:

For such procedures to be effective, it is necessary that:

1.3 In accepting a University appointment, members of staff agree to place their professional careers within the scope of the activities of the University, and to carry out their duties in ways best calculated to help the University to attain its objectives.

As a broad guideline, the time spent in pursuit of outside professional activities without loss of salary should not exceed the equivalent to one day a week (pro-rata for part-time staff). Where involvements might go beyond this limit, and if such activities are to be permitted, the University has the right to require a renegotiation and revision of the contract of employment.

1.4 The rest of this document provides guidelines which the University applies to the conduct of outside professional activities by members of staff employed on grade 6 and above. The aims of the University in this regard are; to encourage members of staff to undertake such work within an agreed framework, acknowledging that this work benefits the institution; to provide indemnity for members of staff in appropriate cases; and to provide institutional and individual incentives on an equitable basis. Advice is given on avoidance of conflict of interests and the use of the University's name and letterhead.

1.5 This document should be read in conjunction with the procedures to apply to carry out consultancy work via Lancaster University Consultancy Services (LUCS). Full details are given on the Research and Enterprise Services web site at: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

1.6 Further guidance on external paid work for all appointed staff can be found in the ‘Exclusivity of Service’ section of the relevant Terms and Conditions of Appointment.

2. Definitions

2.1 Outside Professional Activities

These are private professional activities carried out within a member of staff's professional field of expertise and which are additional to the duties laid down by the University to support its primary functions of teaching and research, whether or not such activities are a source of extra income to the member of staff.

For the purposes of these guidelines, consultancy is the provision of expert advice given on the basis of existing knowledge in a professional capacity by members of staff to Outside Bodies. The purpose of the consultancy is to provide an opinion based on member of staff’s know how and existing expertise. The consultancy will be undertaken by a member of staff under a contract with a third party.

Outside Professional Activities fall into the following broad categories:

(a) Consultancy via LUCS: Such work is where the member of staff acts in a private capacity via LUCS (Lancaster University Consultancy Services) where LUCS is the contractor to the outside body and the member of staff is the sub-contractor to LUCS.

Further details about the way in which LUCS can assist staff if requested are given on the RES site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

(b) Consultancy not via the University or LUCS: Such work is wholly private where the member of staff contracts directly with a third party and where the University has no responsibility or liability for the individual or their work. No University facilities or resources can be used for such private consultancy.

(c) Other Commercial Activities: These activities are private activities and they include business partnership or ownership, board membership in a company, private professional practice and software development. Regular teaching commitments (where the contractor is the member of staff rather than the University) undertaken outside the University are also included. These are treated by the University as outlined in this document.

While the University has no direct financial interest in 2.1(b) and (c) above, all such private activities must nevertheless be declared (as detailed in section 3 below).

2.2 Interest

Any matter which would lead a reasonable observer to conclude that a member of staff's objectivity might have been impaired.

2.3 Roles

Reference in this document to head of department and Dean should be taken to mean broadly equivalent roles within non-academic areas

3 Disclosure of Outside Professional Activities

In advance of committing to undertake any new Outside Professional Activities staff must obtain prior written consent from their Head of Department. Form HR/791/A should be used for this purpose.

Consent will not be withheld unreasonably. The Head of Department or equivalent will withhold permission to undertake activities likely to prevent staff from fulfilling the full range of their obligations to the University. This may be a particular risk where an activity would involve obligations and responsibilities concerned with the active management of outside business entities.

Consent will be for no more than 1 year and will be subject to renewal thereafter on an annual basis (such further permission will also not be unreasonably withheld). The member of staff will be responsible for seeking further consent from their Head of Department at the appropriate time.

Other staff will seek consent for their own activities as follows: Head of Departments from Deans; Deans from appropriate Pro Vice-Chancellor; Pro Vice Chancellor the Vice Chancellor.

Once consent has been granted, the procedures below apply. (A copy of the authorisation form should be attached to the appropriate written response.)

4 Procedure for Undertaking Outside Professional Activities

4.1 Procedure for Consultancy via LUCS and for Consultancy not via LUCS (2.1(a) and (b) above).

The HoD will respond to the application to undertake consultancy using the ‘Letter approving private consultancy’ on the RES web page. Full details can be obtained from the RES web page, see Lancaster University Consultancy Service

4.2 Procedure and Other Commercial Activities (2.1(b) and (c) above).

The HoD will respond to the application using ‘Letter approving Other Commercial Activity’ (HR/791/B(i). In addition to written consent from the Head of Department, a letter expressly releasing the University from all liabilities must be received by the relevant Head of Department from the person or body for whom the work is to be undertaken before the work commences, seeHR/791/B(ii).

4.3 Reporting Outside Professional Activity.

Head of Departments should retain records of consent given for outside professional activity and be prepared to report on them as and when required.

5 Treatment of Income from Outside Professional Activity

5.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

Full details are given on the RES web site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

5.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

The University has no direct financial interest in these areas.

6. Member of Staff Liability

6.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

The University will make available professional indemnity insurance via LUCS for staff carrying consultancy work under a head contract between LUCS and the employer. Further details are given on the RES web site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

6.2 Consultancy not via LUCS and Other Commercial Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

Members of staff should understand that, where work is carried out which falls under these headings they will carry personal responsibility for all financial and other risks.

It is an obligation of members of staff to ensure that any work undertaken for an outside company, business or institution, shall be preceded by the signing of a letter of agreement which expressly releases the University from all liabilities. Such a letter shall state that since the work done is in a private capacity, the University is not responsible for and will not be liable for:-

Further, the person or body for whom the work is undertaken shall agree that the University accepts no liabilities whatsoever in connection with the work performed or the advice given and that there is no right of claim against the University resulting from the private contract.

A copy of this letter (signed) must be passed to the Head of Department before the work commences.

All communications in respect of work undertaken by such private agreement should be to and from an address other than the University.

In any cases of doubt, where the reputation of the University may be adversely affected, the member of staff must seek advice from the University Secretary.

7. Costing Work

7.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

Full details are given on the RES web site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

7.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

It is the personal responsibility of the member of staff to agree their costs with the outside body.

8 Intellectual Property Considerations

8.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

Full details are given on the RES web site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

8.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

The University requires members of staff to observe the conditions on intellectual property rights laid down in their contracts of employment.

9 Conflicts of Interest

9.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

Advice concerning conflicts of interest is given on the RES web site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

9.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

In many situations, a conflict of interest may arise. The following are general guidelines provided by way of example only.

The University holds that it is incompatible with full-time service that a member of staff should exercise managerial responsibility in respect of an outside organisation where this responsibility makes significant demands upon that person's time.

Members of staff who have connections with a private company or other money-earning concern outside the University must not allow their position in the University to be used in bringing financial benefit to this concern. ("Connections" in the preceding sentence includes not only management of, ownership of, employment by, but other connections such as membership of a board of directors. Such connections will not necessarily preclude an organisation from undertaking work on behalf of the University, but any member of staff having such a connection must declare an interest. Staff may be involve with, but must not be solely responsible for, the engagement in a contract with such an organisation; this must involve the consent of the Head of Department (or Faculty Dean, where appropriate).

In the conduct of outside professional activities, staff shall not associate the University with their opinions or findings as disseminated to outside bodies or to the general public by means of reports, public announcements and so on, except by express permission.

In the conduct of outside professional activities, members of staff should avoid, and should not sanction the association of the University's name or image with commercial interest or advertising. Where any uncertainty exists, advice should be sought from the University Secretary.

The resources of the University (e.g. facilities, property and the use of other staff's time) are to be used primarily for teaching and research. Their use is not permitted in respect of Other Outside Professional Activities as defined in 2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above.

10 University Policy on Conflicts of Interest

The preceding sections have addressed the question of conflicts of interest between a member of staff and the University arising out of outside professional activities. Further potential conflicts arise from the opportunities a member of staff may have, because of his or her position in the University, to influence its relationship with an outside organisation in ways which could lead to the member of staff’s personal financial gain. For example, members of staff should be careful not to accept gifts or rewards, pecuniary or other, which may compromise their position in handling University business or representing the interests of the University.

In this regard, the following policy has been adopted:

"It is the policy of the University that its officers, academic staff, assistant staff and others acting on its behalf have an obligation to avoid ethical, legal, financial or other conflicts of interest and to ensure that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligations to the University in the attainment of its primary objectives".

Accordingly, members of Council, Directors of University Companies, Senior University Officers and other members of staff in a position to make or influence decisions favouring any outside body are required annually to declare any interest, direct or indirect, potentially in conflict with the University's interest. Staff of the University should also provide any such information for their Heads of Department, if necessary as an addition to their disclosure of outside professional activities.

11 Use of University's Name and Letterhead

11.1 Consultancy via LUCS.

Advice is included on RES site: Lancaster University Consultancy Service

11.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

The use of the name "Lancaster University" or "University of Lancaster" in advertising and commercial publicity for outside organisations is not permitted.

All staff must be aware of the risk of misuse of the University's name. Misuse may arise not only through promotional activities, but through outside professional activities or public reports.

University or departmental letterheads should be reserved solely for University business.

12 Income Tax

12.1 Consultancy via LUCS or the University.

Members of staff who receive remuneration from income received by the University for external work will be taxed under PAYE arrangements.

12.2 Other Outside Professional Activities (2.1(b) and 2.1(c) above).

It is the responsibility of the member of staff to ensure that any income from such private activities is appropriately declared to the Inland Revenue.

13 Interpretation

In the case of differences on the interpretation and/or application of these guidelines, the University Secretary will advise and act as arbitrator and the decision of the University Secretary shall be final and binding.

14 Further definitions

14.1 Facilities.

All services, including the library, the sports provisions, the computers and associated networks of the University.

14.2 Property.

Property of the University shall include computational and other equipment, whether purchased or leased by the University or provided by outside bodies, as well as all buildings used in the normal course of support for achieving University objectives.

14.3 Resources.

The staff, the facilities and the property of the University.

(David Owen)
Review Date July 2014

Lancaster University
Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201