Instructions for reviewers
If your faculty/unit has appointed you as an “external interests reviewer”, read the information on this web page to guide you in how to review and endorse declarations. Find out about:
A reviewer is appointed by the relevant executive supervisor (dean, director or other chief officer of an administrative unit) to manage the external interest declarations for their area of responsibility.
As a reviewer, you are required to review and endorse declarations for a group of staff (as nominated by the faculty/unit) on behalf of your executive supervisor who then approves them. As a rule, these staff members will be your team members.
The declaration process is an online self-assessment process. Once a staff member has completed their declaration, you are required to work with them to ensure that they have applied the conflict of interests rule as set out in clause 8 of the External Interests Policy to identify conflicts of interests.
Evaluating conflicts of interests (clause 13 of the External Interests Policy) involves determining:
- whether any disclosed external interest gives rise to a conflict of interests
- whether that conflict of interests is material
- whether the conflict of interests can be avoided or managed.
If the staff member identifies a conflict of interests, they are required to prepare a management plan in consultation with you or a relevant senior colleague. This plan needs to specify how the conflict will be avoided or managed (clause 14 of the External Interests Policy).
Once you have endorsed the declaration, the executive supervisor reviews and approves it.
The University uses a SharePoint web application with a pre-configured workflow for the declaration process.
Your faculty/unit will identify staff who are required to complete a declaration and provide them with a link to the external interests declaration system and instructions.
You will receive a link to the system and email notifications when you are required to review and endorse declarations.
Once a staff member has submitted a declaration, you receive a system notification advising you that a declaration has been submitted and is awaiting endorsement. You will find these declarations in the Forms To Be Endorsed folder in the system.
You can review and endorse the declarations from your work computer or a computer connected to the University’s VPN (virtual private network). It is best to use a Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, Safari or Firefox browser to ensure the system works correctly.
You can bookmark the link to the system.
When you are ready to review a declaration, log in to the external interests declaration system by clicking on the link provided in the email notification. A box titled "Connect to workspaces.usyd.edu.au” may display on your screen. If you are logging in to the system via your work computer, your UniKey should appear automatically in the username field. If not, type it in. (If you are a Windows XP user you may need to type in “mcs\” in the username field before you type in your UniKey). Then, enter the password associated with your UniKey.
Please note, you can review several declarations in one sitting if you wish.
Once you are logged in, from the homepage, select Forms To Be Endorsed. A list of declarations for the staff in your area of responsibility will display. These will be grouped by status: "Approved"; "Endorsed"; "Executive Supervisor Requested Amendments" or "Submitted".
Click on the "plus" sign on the left of the word "Status" to collapse or expand each group.
Declarations that you need to action will be in the "Submitted" group. Select the one you want to review and click on it.
To move up and down a declaration, use the scroll bar on the right hand of your computer screen in the same way that you would read a long email.
Once you have opened a declaration, you can close it, and come back and endorse it later.
Complete Section D Endorsement
Once you have reviewed the declaration, you have three options:
- If you select the option: "I endorse that there are no external interests that create a conflict of interests...", and "Yes" to the final question "By sumitting this form...", you can the proceed to endorse the form by selecting the Endorse button at the end.
- If you select the option: "I endorse that the management plans provided eliminate or manage identified conflicts...", and "Yes" to the final question "By sumitting this form...", you can then proceed to endorse the form by selecting the Endorse button at the end.
- If you select the option: "More information required", you can then select the Request Amendments button at the end of the declaration form (the Endorse button will be disabled. This will trigger an email notification to the staff member to alert them that you have requested additional information or a change. You may also wish to contact the staff member directly to discuss the declaration. They can then log in to the system, reopen their declaration and make additions or changes. When the staff member resubmits the revised declaration, you will receive an email alert. You can then log in, review and endorse the declaration.
If you endorse the declaration, your executive supervisor will be contacted by the who will inform them that there are declarations awaiting approval.
Please note that your executive supervisor may also request amendments to a declaration. If this happens, you will be notified by email and are required to follow this through with the staff member. You will need to log in to the system, open the declaration, read the executive supervisor’s comments and request amendments on behalf of your executive supervisor.
Once approved, external interest declarations are automatically copied into TRIM, the University’s records management system. Declarations which identify a conflict of interests are stored in the General Counsel’s conflicts of interests register.