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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Consultancy - Individual Staff Consultancy (outside work)


Durham University recognises that consultancy/outside work is an important part of outreach activity and that encouragement and clear guidance benefits staff undertaking such work. The University is, therefore, committed to helping staff foster, through continuous improvement, the right attributes for making the most of consultancy opportunities while:

  • Maintaining and improving the University's excellence in research and teaching/learning.
  • Ensuring that issues such as intellectual property rights and personal and institutional liability are managed effectively.

Eligibility for Individual Staff Consultancy

All staff who have specialist and marketable expertise enabling them to act as consultants are potentially eligible to undertake consultancy work.

Managing Individual Staff Consultancy

The University takes an active approach to managing individual staff consultancy and the risks associated with it. This involves a straightforward application/approval process, which is managed through RIS (Research and innovation Services). For further information on consultancy, please click here for the consultancy page or refer to the full policy document or contact the Consultancy Manager who will be able to provide advice and guidance on how to proceed. It should be noted that the previous working norms, of a limit of 24 days per annum for such work, and the need for an annual review if the work extends beyond a year, have not been changed.

Managing Risk

Consultancy work generates risks that need to be managed to acceptable levels. The lack of a written contract and/or inadequate specification of the work involved may lead to disputes between the University and its customers. Possible damage to the University's reputation and financial loss can arise if consultancy work goes wrong. These risks can be managed, and the University/individual staff protected through professional indemnity insurance.

Definition of Individual Staff Consultancy

Individual staff consultancy is defined as the provision by University staff of remunerated expert advice (including acting as an expert witness) or professional services relating to their University appointment. It is provided to external clients that can include both public and private sector organisations and the voluntary/charitable sectors. While consultancy may involve a degree of analysis, measurement or testing, it is dependent on a high degree of intellectual input. Consultancy can involve the use of University facilities and this would need to be reflected in the price of and payments for consultancy work. Certain activities are specifically excluded from this definition of individual staff consultancy and these are set out in the full policy document.

Contact Research and Innovation Services to discuss consultancy:

T: +44 (0)191 3343176 E:

Key Contacts:

Dr Pamela Robinson

Commercial Contracts Officer

Nicola Hall

Commercial Contracts Support Officer