Achievement Relative to Opportunity Policy and Procedures


All staff members at the University.


To ensure a fair and equitable evaluation of achievement when personal circumstances have affected staff members’ participation in the work place.


Achievement relative to opportunity is an evaluative concept enabling fair and equitable assessment of a staff member’s achievements given the opportunities available to them. This is consistent with a commitment to excellence, equity and “good employer” obligations under the State Sector Act. It is particularly pertinent to staff whose personal circumstances such as carer responsibilities, health and disability, cultural or community obligations and unforeseen personal events have a significant impact on their workplace participation.

The related document Achievement Relative to Opportunity Guidelines gives further explanation and support for implementing this policy.


1. Employment-related decisions including appointments, access to career development and progression, and promotion will take into account the quality and impact of the individual’s achievements relative to the opportunities available to them and the effect personal circumstances may have had on those achievements.

2. Fractional appointments by or in themselves are not within the scope of this policy.

Related procedures

Assessing achievement

3. The following factors are to be taken into account in assessing achievement relative to opportunity:

  • Whether the quality and impact of achievements are consistent with expectations of performance at the relevant academic or professional staff level
  • The overall productivity of achievements, including the quantity, rate, or consistency of achievements over time, and relative output across various areas

4. Circumstances that may have a significant impact when assessing opportunities include:

  • Responsibilities to whānau, hapū, iwi and hāpori
  • Other cultural expectations or circumstances
  • Carer responsibilities for children, elderly parents, or ill family members
  • Ill-health, disability, impairment or medical conditions, whether temporary, episodic or permanent
  • Traumatic events or circumstances such as a relationship breakdown, death in the family or family violence.

Application of achievement relative to opportunity

5. If staff members are seeking consideration of achievement relative to opportunity, they should request this on their application.

6. If not already mentioned in the application material, managers and participants on assessment committees must obtain permission from the applicant concerned before disclosing and considering personal information on their behalf.

Note – if an individual is not comfortable submitting a written disclosure in an application, they could discuss this with their Academic Head, Dean, Service Division Director, Chair of relevant committee, or their HR representative, who will advise the Dean or Service Division Director of the confidential information that may support Achievement Relative to Opportunity being taken into account for a stipulated period.

7. Individuals are supported and encouraged to describe the impact that relevant personal circumstances have had on their career achievements and progression.

8. Employment-related decision makers can then consider these circumstances and the effect they have had on the applicant’s achievements.

9. Performance prior to, and following the period concerned will be taken into account.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Carers are people who care for friends, family, whānau and aiga members with a disability, healthcondition or illness who need help with everyday living.

Hāpori means community.

Hapū is sub-tribe.

Iwi means tribe.

Significant means circumstances that materially impair opportunity.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full time or part time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Whānau means family group.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity
Content manager:  Associate Director, Staff Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, HR
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date first approved: 27 May 2014
Date approved: 17 February 2020
Review date: February 2025

Further information

More information about the University’s commitment to be a fair and inclusive place to study and work can be found on the Equity at the University website.