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Capital Planning and Approvals Framework Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose and Scope

(1) The University of Queensland Act 1998 (UQ Act) requires The University of Queensland (UQ or the University) to provide facilities and resources for study and research and for the wellbeing of UQ’s staff, students and other persons undertaking courses at UQ.

(2) This Procedure outlines the Capital Planning and Approvals Framework for planning, approving and governing capital projects within the University. This generally includes new construction, renovations, maintenance, enterprise systems, and virtual capital projects.

(3) The objectives of this framework are to enable due diligence and informed decision making and provide assurance to Senate and the University that the capital program is governed appropriately and aligns with UQ’s strategic objectives.

See linked image: UQ Strategic Objective.
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Section 2 - Process and Key Controls

(4) The Strategic Plan maps UQ’s vision and sets priorities for operationalisation, including the development intentions of the Master Plan, and the principles outlined in the Use and Management of UQ Land, Buildings and Facilities Policy and the Information and Communication Technology Policy.

(5) The Capital Planning and Approvals Framework supports strategic assessment of capital proposals and informs capital planning and budgeting.

(6) The Capital Planning and Approvals Framework is implemented in accordance with relevant UQ policies including the Delegations Policy and Schedule of Financial Sub-delegations, and the Investment Policy, specifically the ‘Capital Investments’ provisions.

(7) The Capital Management Group (CMG), Chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, reviews all capital proposals that require Vice-Chancellor or Senate approval, using criteria based on the key requirements and principles under UQ’s Project Governance and Management Framework.

  1. Capital expenditure requiring Senate approval will be supported by a business case that will require review and endorsement by CMG and the Senate Finance Committee.
  2. Capital expenditure on projects that are within the Vice-Chancellor's delegation will be approved via CMG review of proposals against a predefined criteria, and using UQ’s expenditure delegation framework.

(8) The Campus Infrastructure Committee (CIC), a Senate Committee, supports and advises Senate in exercising its oversight in relation to the matters set out in the CIC terms of reference. The establishment of this Committee does not relieve Senate of its responsibility for these matters.

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Section 3 - Key Requirements

(9) An equitable, whole of university picture of capital priorities is enabled via a start of year annual round for new capital requests above $300,000. In exceptional circumstances, new capital requests may be reviewed outside of the annual round.

(10) Capital proposals are submitted using templates with predefined criteria based on the key requirements and principles under UQ’s Project Governance and Management Framework.

(11) Recommended processes¹ for consideration of capital proposal requests are outlined in the table below:

Item Ultimate Approver Approval and Implementation process
Works under $300,000 and Maintenance COO Work with Property and Facilities Division (P&F) and/or Information Technology Services (ITS) to progress implementation.
New capital proposals from $300k-$30M CMG² Submit proposal via annual Expression of Interest (EOI) program (Process and deadline signalled at start of each year).

Proposals identified by CMG as suitable for progression may be approved for direct implementation or allocated funding to develop a Business Case. CMG will decide on next steps depending on the overall cost and complexity of the project.
New capital proposals above $30M Senate (via CMG) Submit proposal via annual Expression of Interest (EOI) program (Process and deadline signalled at start of each year). CMG endorsed projects may receive funding to develop a Business Case. Completed Business Cases should be submitted to CMG for endorsement to Senate.
Existing (already approved) Project requests for:
- Scope Changes
- Additional funding
- Repurposing underspends
- Contingency above 10%
CMG Submit to any CMG meeting for consideration and approval.
Urgent/Unforeseen requests above $300k CMG Submit to any CMG meeting for consideration and approval.
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Section 4 - Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities


(12) Senate (or relevant committee) is responsible for:

  1. reviewing and approving the University’s Capital Investment Plan and supporting work programs and budgets;
  2. reviewing and approving individual projects and programs that require Senate approval as per the Delegations Framework; and
  3. monitoring the UQ-wide portfolio of projects and programs and progress towards realisation of planned benefits.

University Senior Executive Team (USET)

(13) USET, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, plays an active role in the University’s Strategic planning processes, including its capital priorities and will have input and visibility of capital projects and programs.

Capital Management Group (CMG)

(14) The CMG, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, is responsible for:

  1. Providing effective management oversight and controls over the prioritisation (based on CMG approved criteria), allocation and use of UQ’s capital investment funds, and holding project sponsors and owners accountable for delivering planned benefits within agreed parameters.
  2. Prioritisation, allocation, management and optimisation of the enterprise-level portfolio of project proposals, projects and programs.
  3. Reviewing all project proposals and Business Cases that require Vice-Chancellor or Senate approval using a predefined criteria based on the key requirements and principles of this Procedure.
  4. Controlling the concept funds budget (to enable the development of project proposals and business cases) and ensuring proper discipline around its allocation, use and accounting.
  5. Effective oversight of the project pipeline comprising all approved and also developed-but-not-yet-approved project proposals.
  6. Monitoring strategic (significant impact on UQ’s strategic objectives, focus areas or priorities), high cost (over $10M), high impact and/or high risk projects and programs and the overall enterprise-level portfolio to ensure realisation of planned benefits.

Campus Infrastructure Committee (CIC)

(15) The CIC advises Senate on Senate's approval of the University’s capital expenditure program, advises Senate on property and physical infrastructure strategies for each campus, and provides oversight, on behalf of Senate, of the implementation of those strategies and the stewardship of the University’s major property and physical infrastructure assets.

(16) In fulfilling its remit, the CIC will have particular regard to protecting and preserving the physical qualities that are the hallmarks of UQ and promoting environmentally sustainable campuses.

Capital Plan Working Team

(17) Preparatory support for the annual EOI round for new capital requests, is provided by the Capital Plan Working Team (CPWT), coordinated by Director, Office of the Provost, and comprising representation from Research and Academic portfolios, and functional experts from Finance and Business Services (FBS), P&F and ITS, and the Project Governance Office (PGO).

(18) Capital requests will be reviewed by ITS (for virtual) or P&F (for built) Project Advisory Boards (PAB) prior to submission to CPWT or CMG.

Project Sponsors

(19) Project Sponsors have authority to sign off on project proposals and are responsible for reviewing and endorsing capital proposals before submission to CMG.

(20) Proposals under $5 million can be sponsored by a member of USET or a Director of a Major Research Institute (IMB, QBI, SMI, AIBN, and QAAFI), or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research Infrastructure).

(21) Proposals over $5 million must be sponsored by Provost, Chief Operating Officer (COO) or one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors (DVCs).

Governance Groups for Approved Capital Projects

(22) Governance Groups for Approved Capital Projects include but are not limited to:

  1. Function or Portfolio-specific Project Management Offices within Property and Facilities Division and Information Technology Services units.
  2. Strategic Program Office (SPO).
  3. Project Governance Office (PGO).
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Section 5 - Monitoring, Review and Assurance

(23) CMG will nominate the Governance Group for Approved Capital Projects as part of the approval process. Governance Groups for Approved Capital Projects are responsible for:

  1. Proactively assisting and guiding the project sponsors and owners to proceed from proposals to properly considered and constituted business case by enabling, ensuring and demonstrating the idea is attractive, affordable, achievable and adaptable.
  2. Ensuring the funds allocated for developing proposals and business cases for the assigned strategic projects/programs is used effectively and efficiently.
  3. Proactively assisting and guiding the project/program sponsors and owners to proceed from an approved business case to realisation of the underlying benefits by enabling (including through development of change management strategies) and ensuring (through monitoring and reviews) proper planning and execution of the approved project/program management plan.
  4. Monitoring project/program implementation and realisation of planned benefits, and reporting the results.

(24) Further details on the roles and remit of Governance Groups for Approved Capital Projects are outlined in UQ’s Project Governance and Management Framework.

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Section 6 - Recording and Reporting

(25) Governance Groups for Approved Capital Projects are responsible for reporting outcomes to CMG and other relevant committees on project/program implementation and realisation of planned benefits.

(26) Reports or requests from Project Governance Groups to Senate or Senate committees will be progressed via endorsement by CMG.

(27) Approved Capital Projects will be included in the University’s Capital Plan for consideration and endorsement by Senate.

(28) The approved Capital Plan will be available to University Staff.

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Section 7 - Appendix

Workflow for Capital Approvals

See linked diagram: Workflow for Capital Approvals.

Related information

(29) Committee terms of reference:

  1. Capital Management Group – Terms of Reference
  2. Campus Infrastructure Committee - Terms of Reference.
[1] Exclusions from this process may include works in pre-approved P&F/ITS contingency or asset management budgets, some Research Infrastructure, and projects with both:
  1. a Provost approved project code; and
  2. local unit funding for the whole project.
[2] CMG's approval of certain proposals may be conditional on endorsement from the Campus Infrastructure Committee (CIC).