NEW ONLINE DECLARATION PROCESS

About the new online declaration process

To help us comply with the External Interests Policy, the University is introducing a written external interests declaration process to be completed online using the University’s external interests declaration system. All academic staff and affiliates and any general staff members or affiliates who are, or may be, involved in decision making on the University’s behalf are required to provide to their executive supervisor (dean, director or other chief officer of an administrative unit) an annual declaration of external interests.

As the new process is being rolled out progressively across the University, if you are in one of the nominated categories, your manager or a senior member of your faculty/unit will advise you when it becomes applicable in your area and assist you in completing a declaration.

If you are required to complete an online declaration, you will be provided with a link to the online declaration system, the name of your external interests reviewer and instructions.

The declaration process is based on self-assessment. It involves:

  • disclosing all external interests that are broadly relevant to your role
  • identifying whether any of your disclosed interests give rise to a conflict of interests using the conflict of interests rule contained in clause 8 of the External Interests Policy
  • if you identify a conflict of interests, you will need to include in your declaration an explanation of how you plan to avoid it, or a management plan.

The review and approval process

Once you have submitted your declaration, the system notifies your assigned “external interests reviewer” that they can review your declaration. An external interests reviewer is a manager appointed by your executive supervisor to manage all the declarations for their area of responsibility. Typically, the reviewer is a head of school, chair of discipline or head of department in administrative areas.

They will either endorse your declaration or request additional information or an amendment. If they do the latter, you will need to log in to the system again, view and address their comments, and resubmit your declaration.

When your reviewer has endorsed your declaration, the External Interests Administrator advises your executive supervisor that it is ready for review and approval. Clause 13 of the External Interests Policy sets out the evaluation responsibilities of executive supervisors (dean, director or chief officer of an administrative unit). If your executive supervisor requests additional information, they will do so via your reviewer. You will receive an email alert when your executive supervisor approves your declaration.

Who gets to see the information in your declaration?

The University is collecting personal information for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the External Interests Policy. The collection of this information is compulsory for staff, as outlined in the Policy. The University's Privacy Policy applies to any personal information collected under this policy and will only be viewed by relevant authorised staff.

All declarations with disclosed conflicts of interests and accompanying management plans are submitted to the General Counsel for inclusion in the University’s register of conflicts of interests. The register is not a publicly accessible document. These records are maintained in the register for a minimum of seven years in accordance with the NSW Records Act.

Using the system - logging in

If you are required to submit a declaration of external interests to your executive supervisor, you will receive an email with a link. Please save this email so you can access the declaration system at any stage in the process. Or save this link to your favourites.

You can complete your declaration 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.

When you are ready to start your declaration, log in to the external interests declaration system by clicking on the link provided in the email. Sometimes, a box titled “Connect to workspaces.usyd.edu.au” will 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 you are a Windows XP user, you may need to type in “mcs\” followed by your UniKey in the username field. Then, enter the password associated with your UniKey.

External Interests System screen shot homepage

Once you are logged in, to start your declaration click on the “new declaration” link on the menu on the left hand side of the home page. Note that:

  • mandatory fields are marked with an asterisk and you must complete all questions by selecting either “yes” or “no” from the drop-down list.
  • there is no character limit on the open fields. You can add as many external interests as you like for each question.
  • you can attach a copy of your management plans (instead of typing in the information). The document needs to be in Word or PDF format. You have the option of using the management plan template.
  • you can save your declaration and return to it to make changes at any stage until you submit it
  • once you have submitted your declaration, your reviewer followed by your executive supervisor, will be prompted to review and approve it.
  • you will receive email notifications to advise you of any action required at each stage of the process. For example, you will receive an email notification from the system if your external interests reviewer requests additional information. Or when it’s been endorsed or approved.
  • after you have submitted your declaration, you can log in to the external interests declaration system to view the status of your declaration.
  • once your declaration has been approved, it will be archived in the University’s records management system. You will be able to view a "read only" version by logging in to the external interests system. Or you can save a copy in your files in a PDF format.

Quick reference guide for the system

How to...  
To type in your answers Click on the field that you want to complete
To move up and down the form Use the scroll bar on the right hand of your computer screen in the same way as you would read a long email
To print Select “print” on your browser
To save (so that you can come back and complete)

Click on the “save” button at the very end of the form. To reopen, log in to the external interests system, select “My Declarations” on the left hand menu of the homepage and click on your declaration. The status will be showing as “saved”.

To save a copy in your files in a PDF format

Select “print” in your browser, select “Adobe PDF” from the list of printers and save the file. If you have Adobe Web Capture software installed on your computer, from anywhere in the declaration, right click and select “convert to PDF”.

To  submit

Click on the “submit” button at the very end of the form. If you have submitted your declaration successfully, you will immediately receive an email confirmation at the email address you provided in the declaration.

If you can’t submit your declaration as the submit button is shaded grey 

This means that you haven’t answered all questions.  Check back through your declaration and ensure that you’ve selected either “yes” or “no” for each mandatory question. Then, try submitting again.

To fix an error in your declaration

If your declaration has not been approved  yet - ask your reviewer to request an amendment to your declaration. Once you receive an email alert, log in to the system, make the change and resubmit your declaration.

If your declaration has already been approved, please contact the External Interests Administrator.

To update your declaration

If your situation has changed since you completed your  declaration, you will need to complete another declaration in relation to the change in your external interests. Log in to the system, select “new declaration” from the menu on the left hand side of the screen, then click on “new declaration”.

If your declaration has not yet been approved - ask your reviewer to request an amendment to your declaration. Once you receive an email alert, log in to the system, make the change and resubmit your declaration.