Guidelines and Procedures

  • Guidelines and Procedures

Updated April 2016

Equipment Register 

 

What is the Equipment Register?

The Equipment Register (“the Register”) contains a record of all equipment owned by, or located within, the University.  Guidelines and procedures for recording equipment, and maintaining the associated equipment records, are provided below.

When an item of equipment is recorded on the Register, a discrete equipment number is allocated.  This is used to track the piece of equipment during its lifetime within the University. The associated record contains various information about the item of equipment, ie:

  • Description of the item
  • Departmental reference
  • Project code used to fund the purchase
  • Relevant model and serial number of item
  • Details of its location, building, floor and room number within the University
  • Classification code which categorises the item
  • Date of purchase
  • Purchase price
  • Order number

 

Responsibility for managing equipment records

Overall responsibility for the Register rests with the University's Head of Capital & Costing. The day-to-day management and development of the Register is the responsibility of the Capital & Costing Team, working in conjunction with colleagues from the Information Services Directorate.

Responsibility for recording and maintaining information on the Register, and ensuring the accuracy of all information recorded, rests with Heads of School and Directors. In the majority of cases, the Head of School or Director will delegate this authority to an Equipment Registration Officer (“ERO”).

The nominated ERO will be attached to the cost centre(s) for his/her School or Directorate which means that he/she will be responsible only for recording equipment on the Register which relates to that School or Directorate.  (See ‘Identification of equipment for recording on the Register’ below.)

Role and Responsibilities of Equipment Registration Officers

Whilst details of the role and responsibilities of the ERO are referred to throughout these guidelines and procedures, a summary is provided below:-

  • To maintain equipment records, for his/her School/Directorate/Operating Unit, using the on-line Equipment Register - including the addition and deletion of items of equipment and the maintenance of the associated records.
  • To facilitate and assist with Equipment audits undertaken by the Capital & Costing Team or internal/external auditors.
  • To undertake an annual review of the Equipment listing for his/her School/Directorate/Operating Unit – the requirements for which will be communicated by the Head of Capital & Costing.
  • (In line with the University’s Equipment Sharing Initiative) to ensure that additional information is provided in respect of records for items of equipment valued at >£10,000 ex VAT.

It is a mandatory requirement that EROs attend training which is facilitated by the Capital & Costing Team.  Log-in details for the Register will not be provided unless this training has been undertaken.   

 

Equipment which is to be recorded

The following items must be recorded:-

  • Portable and attractive items valued at over £500 (ex VAT).
  • All items valued at over £1000 (ex VAT).
  • Any item connected to the University network (for example, laptops, desktop computers*, printers, etc but excluding photocopiers [MFDs]), regardless of cost. 

* Applies to the processor only and not the monitor or the keyboard, unless the value of the monitor exceeds £500 (ex VAT).

Examples of equipment which must be recorded are:-

  • Equipment required for teaching and research. This will normally be readily identifiable, but to clarify cases where doubt may arise, the following specific items should be included:-
    • Digital Imaging Equipment
    • Photographic Equipment
    • Audio Visual Equipment
    • Catering/Bar Equipment
    • Cleaning Equipment
    • PC’s and Laptops
    • Networking Equipment
    • Plotters/Scanners
    • Printers
    • Servers
    • Computer Software (purchased not leased)/Operating Registers
    • Laboratory Equipment
    • Scientific Equipment
    • Office Equipment
    • Safety/Security Equipment
    • Sports Equipment
    • Telecoms Equipment
    • Vehicles
    • Workshop Equipment
    • Library Equipment
    • Medical/Surgical/Nursing Equipment
    • Electrical White Goods/Kitchen Equipment
    • Musical Instruments

If there is any doubt about whether an item of equipment should be recorded on the Register, please contact the Capital & Costing Team (email Equipment@qub.ac.uk / ext 1469).

 

Equipment which should not be recorded

  • Fixed items or items which are part of the fabric of a building such as lifts, boilers, air conditioning plant, fume cupboards, etc.
  • Photocopiers [MFDs]
  • Computer Software under license
  • Furniture/furnishings

 

Specialist Items

In the event that a School/Directorate has special interest or items of significant value, they should also contact the Finance Directorate - Insurance Section (email insurance@qub.ac.uk / ext 1476) to ensure that these items are included in the University's insurance policy.

  • Works of Art including Silver Collection
  • Books/Periodicals, special collections/manuscripts and Library Collections
  • Collections of special interest eg. Fossils
  • Antiques

 

Identification of equipment for recording on the Register

Equipment purchased using a Purchase Order (PO)

Potential Equipment Items

When equipment is purchased via a Purchase Order, it can normally be identified from the general ledger by one of the following account codes:-

  • 6881 capital equipment under £500
  • 6981 capital equipment over £500
  • 6985 capital equipment over £500
  • 6986 capital equipment over £500
  • 6987 capital equipment over £500
  • 6988 capital equipment over £500
  • 6989 capital equipment over £500
  • 6406 equipment for capital projects (Estates Department only)

Once an invoice has been processed, and the payment (or any element of the payment) has been made against any of the account codes above, the item of equipment will be added to a ‘Potential Equipment Items’ list, based on the cost centre funding the purchase.

The ERO, for the School or Directorate to which that cost centre is related, will receive an automated email prompt advising that an item(s) has been added to the ‘Potential Equipment Items’ list for his/her School or Directorate.

The ERO should access the Register as soon as possible thereafter to add the item(s), if necessary.  In respect of each potential Equipment item, the Register will have pre-populated an Equipment registration form with certain information eg equipment description, purchase order number, price etc.  It will therefore be the responsibility of the ERO to determine whether the item is to be added to the Register and to complete the remaining fields using the "Potential Items For Equipment Registry" option. 

The additional information which must be provided by the ERO, on the Equipment record, is as follows:-

  • Departmental Ref: - include a relevant internal reference to enable identification and location of the equipment. If no internal reference exists, the name of the person responsible for the equipment should be provided.
  • Building Code: - building codes are available from Building Liaison Officers (BLOs) or by using the "F1" lookup function within the Register
  • Classification: - classification codes are available from the Equipment Classification Codebook, or can also be found by using the "F1" lookup function within the Equipment Register.
  • USN: - this is the Payments reference number that is only valid if an item is purchased using a Purchase Order.  "0" should be added as the USN for any equipment that is loaned, donated or purchased using a Purchase Card.
  • Equipment Number (see ‘Equipment Labelling’ below)

Items not coded to equipment codes

All items coded to the consumable code 6311 are checked by the Capital & Costing Team and should any equipment be identified which should be recorded on the Register, the details will be transferred to the relevant ERO’s ‘Potential Equipment List’ for processing.

Equipment Labelling

All items of equipment, to be recorded on the Register, must be labelled with a University Equipment asset tag. The tag must be affixed to the piece of equipment unless:-

  • it is not practical to affix the tag due to the size or nature of the equipment, in which case the Equipment number should be allocated and the tag placed in a booklet which records the details of the item, e.g. serial number, precise description, location etc.
  • the piece of equipment is to be incorporated into another which is already included in the Register. In this instance the new item may be detailed separately, alternatively the description and/or value of the original item may be amended (see ‘Adding an item to an existing Equipment record’ below). 

Equipment tags can be obtained by contacting the Capital & Costing Team.

Adding an item to an existing Equipment record

In certain cases, it may be necessary to add an item to an Equipment record and/or to increase the value of an item – for example, where expensive software is installed on a computer or an existing item of equipment is upgraded or enhanced. 

In such cases, the original item’s value should be increased and the description updated to record the additional enhancement.

Rejecting a Potential Equipment Item

An ERO also has the option to reject an item if is not deemed to be equipment, or it is not required to be recorded on the Register.  They will be required to add a short explanation on why this item is not to be added to the Equipment Register. 

All potential Equipment items that are rejected by an ERO will be scrutinised by the Capital & Costing Team to ensure that no items have been rejected in error and will contact the ERO to discuss and/or obtain further information, as necessary. 

If a rejected item is, in fact, deemed to be an item which should have been recorded, the Capital & Costing Team will forward the details of the item to the ERO for recording on the Register.  In this instance, the item will be identified by an "M" (mandatory) in the first column within the ERO’s ‘Potential Equipment Items’ list.

Stage Payments

Where an item of equipment is paid for by a number of stage payments, the item should only be recorded on the Register after the final stage payment invoice has been processed, ie, the "acceptance" payment (for example, after it has been installed and commissioned to the satisfaction of the School or Directorate).  Invoices relating to earlier stage payments should therefore be rejected when they appear on the Potential Equipment Items list.

Equipment not purchased using a Purchase Order (PO)

Equipment not purchased using a PO, but which falls into any of the categories listed in ‘Potential Equipment Items’ above, should also be recorded on the Register.  This includes equipment that is loaned, donated or purchased using Purchase Card.  Such items should be added to the Register manually by the ERO by using the "Add Equipment" option.

 

Research Equipment Sharing Database - Items valued at >£10,000 ex VAT

Any record for equipment valued at >£10,000 ex VAT require further information to be added to the equipment record.  The item will then be added to the Research Equipment Sharing Database was has been developed as part of the University’s "Equipment Sharing Initiative". 

If an item valued at >£10,000 ex VAT is not added to the Equipment Sharing Database, a full explanation should be provided in the “further information required” box.  Details of all such items will be reviewed by the Capital & Costing Team for verification.

 

Maintenance of Equipment Records

It is imperative that the data contained within the Register is accurate and up to date and it is the resposibility of Heads of School and Directors to ensure that the Equipment records held for their own areas are validated on a regular basis.  The procedures for ensuring the accuracy of Equipment records are outlined in this section.

Change of location of a recorded item

Where an item of equipment is:-

  • moved to another division or unit within the owner School/Directorate; or
  • loaned to another School/Directorate  elsewhere in the University; or
  • moved to a location outside the University (including removal for use by staff on a temorary basis)

the new location, and   the person/project code responsible for the item at its new location, should be recorded on the item’s Equipment record.  This process should be undertaken by the ERO from the School/Directorate from which the item is moving.

If an item is being loaned or given to another School/Directorate elsewhere in the University, the ERO of the owner School/Directorate should email the Capital & Costing Team with the details of the new cost centre and new ERO.  For audit purposes, a screenshot of the item should be printed and signed by the Head of School or Director authorising this amendment. In cases where equipment does change location, it is vital that this is recorded in a timely manner – the aim being to ensure that, at all times, the interrogation of Equipment records facilitates the immediate identification of the location of any item of equipment.

Removal of equipment by staff for use on a temporary basis

Excluding equipment which is portable and hence, used on and off-site (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, laptop computers, etc), only in exceptional circumstances will a member of staff be permitted to remove an item of equipment for use at their residence(s).  In such circumstances, permission must be obtained, in writing, from the Head of School or Director.

In addition, the ERO must be notified and must therefore undertake the following:-

  • Departmental Reference Field of the Equipment record to be updated with the staff member's name and the location of the item.
  • Copy of written permission from Head/Director to be retained on file for reference purposes.

In the event that the removal of an item of equipment has not been authorised, and that item is lost or stolen whilst in the personal possession of a staff member, he/she may be liable for part or all of the cost of the item’s replacement, depending on its value.  Based on the excess on the University’s insurance policy, it will be at the discretion of the Head of School/Director whether to hold a member of staff accountable for payment for the insurance excess in these circumstances. 

An insurance claim would not be initiated by the University if the value of an item is below the cost of the insurance excess.  Hence, in situations of unapproved removal, the member of staff  could be accountable for the full replacement cost of the item.

As it is not possible for the ERO to amend the cost centre for the item, the ERO should email the Capital & Costing Team with details of the new cost centre.

Security of equipment moved outside the University

Heads of School and Directors, or EROs acting on their behalf, should take all reasonable steps to ensure the security of such equipment at all times.

Equipment to be removed from the Equipment Register

Equipment may be removed for several reasons – for example, it has become obsolete, is beyond economical repair, has been sold or has been stolen.  Equipment can only be removed from the Register with the authority of the relevant Head of School or Director.

Before deleting an item from the Register, the ERO must:-

  • Complete an EMS Deletion Form or take a screenshot of the Equipment record from the Register.
  • Obtain or produce supporting documentation explaining the reasons for removal of the item of equipment from the Register.
  • Have the documentation signed by the Head of School/Director and retain the documentation on file for audit purposes.

To delete and item from the Register the ERO must:-

  • Access the item via the Equipment Database
  • Delete the item by changing it's status to "deleted", this will automatically open the deletion screen requiring the following information:-
    • Disposal Agent
    • Reason for deletion
    • Date of Deletion
    • Who authorised the deletion

It is important to keep the Equipment labels on equipment prior to removal/disposal by the University's contractor for the removal of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).  Following each collection, the contractor provides a list of all equipment removed from the University for disposal.  To facilitate cross referencing to the Register, it is imperative that this list contains the Equipment numbers of the items removed for disposal.  The contractor can only identify the Equipment numbers if the labels remain affixed.

Removal of equipment by staff leaving the University

Please refer to the University's Disposal of Equipment Policy

 

Missing Equipment

In instances where a piece of equipment is missing and believed to have been potentially stolen, the following actions are required:-

  • The relevant Head of School/Director should be informed as soon as possible. 
  • The Head of School/Director should undertake an initial investigation to ascertain the facts of the case. 
  • The Head of School/Director should report the matter to the Director of Finance and the University’s Security Officer, ext 5099 (or directly on 028 9097 5099), who may help with the investigation or seek assistance from the University’s Internal Auditors.  Under the University’s Financial Memorandum, with the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), the Director of Finance is required to report actual and suspected frauds (including theft), to DEL as soon as they are identified, and therefore it is imperative that all such matters are reported as soon as they are brought to your attention.    
  • The School/Directorate should also liaise with the Finance Directorate Insurance Section (email insurance@qub.ac.uk / ext 1476) and quote the item's Equipment number, as it may be possible to have the item replaced or the cost reimbursed to the University.
  • If an item is unlikely to be returned, complete an EMS Deletion Form, or alternatively print a 'screen dump', have it signed by the Head of School/Directorate, and delete the item from the Equipment Register.
  • retain all documentation for audit purposes.

 

Annual Review

Annually, at the end of the second semester, lists of all the items recorded on the Register for each School/Directorate/Operating Unit will be issued. It is the responsibility of each Head of School/Director to validate the accuracy of the data contained in the listing.  EROs may be delegated the authority to undertake this verification exercise and can also make the necessary modifications to the relevant records in the Register.  Any associated hard copy documentation must be retained for audit purposes.

The completed/modified Equipment list should be signed by the Head of School/Director and returned to the Capital & Costing Office where it will be held on file for audit purposes.

 

Audits

As part of their annual audit programme, the University's internal auditors will conduct audits of equipment recorded on the Register. These audits will be based on a random sample of items across a range of Schools and Directorates. The internal auditors will report their findings, as part of their Audit Report, to the University's Audit Committee. Where items cannot be found at the relevant location, or items appear not to have been included on the Register, the Capital & Costing Team may be asked to conduct a full audit of the area.

The Capital & Costing Team will conduct a scheduled programme of audits, covering each cost centre within the University, at least once within a five year rolling plan.