Performance Based Research Fund and Use of Information Policy and Procedures


All eligible academic staff members at the University


To provide information regarding what data is required for the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) and how this data will be used


Tertiary Education Committee (TEC) and PBRF requirements

The principal reason for gathering the information contained in the Evidence Portfolio is to meet the obligations of the University under the requirements of Tertiary Education Committee (TEC) and the PBRF.

TEC recognises the need to take appropriate steps to balance the privacy interests of individual staff members with the public interest in assessing the quality of the research being undertaken in our tertiary institutions.

It proposes to address the public interest by publishing “average” TEC-assessed Quality Scores at University level and/or discipline level and/or subject area level and/or by TEC PBRF panel grouping.

TEC recognises that it may be possible to deduce an individual staff member’s TEC-assessed Quality Score from average data, and that it may be impossible to completely guard against that eventuality. For example if 4 out of 5 staff members disclose their own scores, the fifth is easily deduced.

University requirements

The information contained in each staff member’s Evidence Portfolio is only a part of the information that is normally sought for other key internal HR purposes including appointment, academic performance review, continuation, promotion, research grant application reviews, etc.

As the information which comprises the Evidence Portfolio is used in a number of contexts the University may assist the staff member in properly managing information in the Evidence Portfolio so it can readily be used for the PBRF and also be used for certain other purposes subject to confidentiality and other policy constraints on the use of such information.


1.    The staff member’s Evidence Portfolio is personal to the individual in the sense that it is largely personal information, although much of the information it contains will already be in the public sector (e.g. published papers, contributions to the research environment)

2.    The Evidence Portfolio is personal information subject to the Privacy Act, and the principles of gathering, storing, accessing, correcting, etc. will apply to this information

3.    There is a reasonable and lawful obligation on the University to provide an Evidence Portfolio for each eligible staff member as sought by TEC. The University can expect staff members to assist the University and TEC by providing their Evidence Portfolios in the form that is reasonably requested by the University, for PBRF purposes

Access to/correction of information in Evidence Portfolio and Quality Score

4.    Staff  members have the right to inspect their own Evidence Portfolio held by the University, including any University assessment of the staff member’s Quality Score, and any TEC PBRF Panel assessed Quality Score

5.    The staff member will be provided with their own final Quality Score as determined by TEC and its PBRF panels.  This will be done through the University, though the information is technically held by TEC

6.    The University will ensure that the information it passes on to TEC about the individual’s Quality Score is available to the staff member

7.     Staff members have the right to request a statement of reasons for the decision of the University as to their internally assessed Quality Score. The decisions of the internal PBRF panels will include a record of brief reasons for the decision

8.    The staff member may ask the University to correct any information in their Evidence Portfolio 

9.     If the University does not accept the staff member’s correction, the staff member may request the University attach information related to their Evidence Portfolio to their personal file in a way which ensures their view will be known to anyone who is permitted access to the file

10.     The staff member may approve access by other persons to their own Evidence Portfolio and/or Quality Score

11.    The Vice-Chancellor and the staff member’s dean and academic head may inspect the Evidence Portfolio for reasonable and relevant purposes as the staff member’s employer

Purposes for which Quality Score may be used

12.     The University recognises that the TEC-assessed Quality Score is an assessment of an individual staff member by a third party for the purposes of establishing institutional funding and quality ratings and that the TEC-assessed Quality Score is assessed on a limited range of information

13.     In forming decisions on continuation, promotion, and other internal University processes, the University will consider all of the evidence that is required for the particular process

15.     As the Quality Score and Evidence Portfolio are personal information, the staff member may choose to use this information for other academic purposes such as for continuation, promotion, and other internal University processes.  However, University policy governs the criteria and procedures for assessing such applications

16.     In the case of an application for continuation, promotion or other personnel purpose, the committee or individual will consider the merits of the case against the criteria and evidence requirements for that process.  The TEC-assessed Quality Score is not a criterion for these processes

17.     The use of a Quality Score must always be subject to the confidentiality and other requirements of the particular policy and of this policy

18.     Staff members cannot be required to disclose their Quality Score. However some staff members may wish to disclose their own Quality Score for academic purposes other than those related to the PBRF

19.     The University will not use the TEC-assessed Quality Score as a criterion for any personnel process other than in compliance with PBRF requirements


20.     The University recognises that information received from TEC, including the TEC- assessed Quality Score, will contain information of a confidential nature. The University will treat all confidential information in accordance with the law, including the provisions of the Privacy Act

21.    The University will only use information from evidence portfolios (other than the publicly available information) in accordance with University policies and subject to their relevant privacy and confidentiality constraints

22.     Aggregate information only will be provided to other members of staff or members of the public, in accordance with principles to be advised by TEC

Related procedures

The Evidence Portfolio

The Evidence Portfolio is generated by each staff member to enable the University to supply the necessary information to Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). It is provided through the academic head to the University of Auckland PBRF Office (as a part of the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)

1.     The Evidence Portfolio will normally be reviewed twice within the University

2.     It is reviewed first by the staff member in consultation with the academic head (or nominee), then goes forward to the University PBRF office where it is reviewed, taking into account the advice of internal University PBRF assessment panels

3.    An overall assessment is made by the relevant University PBRF Panel in accordance with TEC guidelines on each individual staff member’s “Quality Scores” under the PBRF

4.    The Evidence Portfolio and internally assessed Quality Score are forwarded in confidence to TEC by the University

5.    The Evidence Portfolio and internally assessed Quality Score are considered by the relevant TEC PBRF Panel, and a final TEC-assessed Quality Score is assessed for each eligible staff member

6.     It is expected that the external review will look at a sample of the University’s scores to ensure comparability across the sector


The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head covers heads of departments, schools and other teaching and research units at Level 3 in the University Organisation Structure

Evidence Portfolios means the PBRF Quality Evaluation Process requires eligible individual staff to provide the University with Evidence Portfolios on their own:

  • publications or other research outputs
  • peer esteem factors
  • contribution to the research environment

Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) means a significant component of the funding the University uses to support research.  The University must supply certain information about the research activities of staff to become eligible to receive PBRF funding

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

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries

Document management and control

Owner: Director, Human Resources

Content manager: Associate Director, HR Advisory

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor               

Date approved :  26 November 2014

Review date: 1 March 2018