Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) Decisions

Approval Date
31 May 2022
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 May 2024
Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery
Baldrige Criteria

An important aspect of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Quality Evaluation is maintaining the confidentiality of staff member’s individual Quality Categories.

This policy is based on the protocol established by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) to ensure that tertiary education organisations maintain the confidentiality of individual Quality Categories for all staff members and that they have processes and protocols to keep Quality Category information secure.

Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd) has participated in the TEC’s PBRF Quality Evaluation since 2006. As part of this process,Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs) are required to inform their staff of their results while ensuring the confidentiality of individual results.


All participating TEOs are subject to the Privacy Act 2020, and all subsequent amendments.

          Note: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has provided advice that TEOs are unlikely to breach the Privacy Act 2020 as long as they are open and clearly articulate the reasons for collecting PBRF data and the purposes the information will be used for. This transparency can be achieved by a TEO’s commitment to the recommended protocol(s) provided by TEC, or by developing their own version based on those principles. The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has been consulted and supports the intent of this protocol, but it reserves the right to decline its support of institution-developed protocols if these differ markedly from the TEC-recommended protocol.

TEC Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) Quality Evaluation Guidelines (2018) (Updated Guidelines for the 2025 PBRF Quality Evaluation will appear here when they are released.

  • 1. Otago Polytechnic Ltd will advise individual participating staff members of their personal Quality Category (and any other data relating to the assignment of the Quality Category relevant to them that is provided by the TEC), unless the staff member requests otherwise.
  •  2. The staff member will be notified by the Research and Post Graduate  Office:
  • a) The Quality Category (either R, CNE, C, B or A) is assigned by the TEC Peer Review panels.  The staff member is encouraged to also individually request the component grades for each section of their Evidence Portfolio (EP) directly from the TEC.
  • b) Overall institutional quality information will be made available internally and through public press release. Individual results are confidential, and will only be known to the Chief Executive, the Deputy Chief Executive (DCE): Academic Delivery, the Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies (RES), the Research Co-ordinator and the Research Administrator who will ensure that results are made available to each individual staff member.
  • 3. Reporting to Heads of College/Formal Leaders:

      Aggregated reports of the number of funded Quality Categories by panel will be made available by the Research and Postgraduate Office to the Heads of College.

  • 4. Code of Conduct:

      Otago Polytechnic Ltd has the following code of conduct that governs the reporting of results from the PBRF Quality Evaluation: 

  • a) Maintain the confidentiality of individual Quality Categories.
  • b) Staff members will not be required to divulge their Quality Categories or Component Scores.
  • c) Each staff member has an opportunity to discuss their Quality Category with their Formal Leader if the staff member desires.
  • d) In the event that a staff member advises a Formal Leader of their Quality Category or Component Scores, or both, that Formal Leader will ensure that these are kept private and confidential and will not use that information other than for purposes authorised by the individual staff member concerned and within the restrictions specified in this policy. 
  • e) Individual Quality Categories will NOT be used:
    • as a basis for salary determinations or for recruitment purposes. Recruitment decisions should be made on the basis of all evidence of teaching, research, and service performance as they relate to Otago Polytechnic Ltd will ensure that no identification of individual Quality Categories can be made outside the staff members noted in 2. b.
    • for performance appraisals or for disciplinary action against the individual staff member. f)
  • f) Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not divulge individual staff member’s Quality Categories to any third party without the prior authorisation of the individual staff member concerned. Otago Polytechnic Ltd will ensure that individual Quality Categories of staff members, either employed by Otago Polytechnic Ltd or by another TEO, are not revealed through marketing or advertising activity initiated by Otago Polytechnic Ltd.
  • 5. Complaints Process for Otago Polytechnic Ltd Staff Member About Improper Reporting of Their PBRF Quality Category:
  • a) If an individual staff member believes the above code of conduct has been breached, they may make a complaint in writing to the Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies. 
  • b)The Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies will discuss the complaint with the Deputy Chief Executive: Academic Delivery and respond in writing to the staff member within fourteen (14) working days, or receipt of the original complaint.
  • 6. Tertiary Education Commission Appeal Process:
  • a) If a staff member feels that a peer review panel has failed to follow the process outlined in the PBRF guidelines in assessing their evidence portfolio, it may be possible to make a complaint.

             Note: that complaints cannot be made about substantive decision making by a peer review panel. 

  • b) Any complaints must come from the institution, not the individual staff member, and each complaint attracts a processing fee of $300.
  • c) If a staff member thinks they may have grounds for a complaint, they are to discuss this directly with the Director: Research and Postgraduate studies in the first instance.

megan gibbons signature

Approved by:

Dr. Megan Gibbons

Chief Executive

Date: 31 May 2021


Policy Version: V5 Previously Coded: MP1102