Performance Based Research Funding (PBRF) Decisions

Approval Date
1 August 2018
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
1 July 2021
Deputy Chief Executive: Learning and Teaching Services
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 TEOs are required to inform their staff of their results while ensuring 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 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 provided by TEC, or by developing their own version based on those principles. The Tertiary Education Union 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)


1.          Otago Polytechnic Ltd will advise individual participating staff 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.          Staff will be notified that:

a.              Quality category information has been received and their grade (staff can also individually request to be informed of their grade directly from 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 DCE: Learning and Teaching Services, the Director: Research and Postgraduate Studies, the Research Co-ordinator and the Research Administrator who will ensure that results are made available to each individual.

3.          Reporting to Heads of College/Formal Leaders:

Aggregated reports of the number of funded categories by panel will be made available by the Research and Postgraduate Office to 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 that will ensure that no identification of individual Quality Categories can be made outside this small number of staff noted in 1.b.
  • for performance appraisals or for disciplinary action against staff.

f.                Otago Polytechnic Ltd will not divulge individuals’ Quality Categories to any third party without the prior authorisation of the individuals concerned. We will ensure that individual Quality Categories of staff, 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 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: Learning and Teaching Services and respond in writing to the staff member within 14 days or receipt of the original complaint.

6.          Tertiary Education Commission Appeal Process:

a.              If an individual 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 individuals, and attract a processing fee of $300.

c.              If individuals think they may have grounds for a complaint, they are to discuss this directly with the Director: Research and Postgraduate studies.