Services Rendered FAQs

The process for undertaking Services Rendered

Who provides support for services rendered?

Pre-award support is provided by Research Services for services rendered activities that are aligned to our expertise and responsibilities:

  • Analysis or testing performed by University staff which does not include advice or interpretation of the result.
  • Editorship of academic journals
  • Secondments to companies which are not part of a research or teaching collaboration (eg. when associated with the formation of a spin out company)
  • Sponsorship of a chair or lecturer post where this is not related to a research or teaching programme.

Pre-award support for other types of services rendered activities is provided by Faculty Finance. These include but are not limited to:

  • Use of University facilities or equipment or equipment loans
  • Delivery of short courses delivered at the University of Sheffield
  • Delivery of short courses beyond the University of Sheffield where there is involvement in the organisation of the course
  • Running conferences
  • Contributions to University expenses from external organisations (eg. travel and subsistence for attending a conference, seminar or meeting)
  • Donations unless specifically to support a research project.
  • Teaching and collaborative courses and agreements.

Post-award support for all services rendered activity, including invoicing and accounting, is provided by Faculty Finance.

What is the process for starting services rendered activity?

An initial discussion with Research Services may be useful in helping you establish whether the proposed activity should be treated as services rendered and, if so, whether Research Services or Faculty Finance will provide the necessary pre-award support. Thereafter, the individual who will lead the project should complete a Services Rendered Costing and Proposal Form to initiate the process.

Can I start a project in the absence of an approved contract?

Work must not begin until a contract has been approved (including sign off by Research Services). In the absence of a signed contract, there is no formal agreement to pay the agreed fee. Additionally, you and the University may be exposed to a range of risks, including financial, intellectual or reputational risks.

Who draws up the contract?

Research Services will prepare a University contract for the project, based on the information in the Services Rendered Costing and Proposal Form and the agreed budget. In some instances, the client will prefer to use their own contract - we will review any such client-issued contract.

Can I sign services rendered contracts?

All services rendered contracts will be reviewed by Research Services and signed by an authorised signatory.

What happens when the services rendered activity finishes?

Once you have completed the work, you should complete a Services Rendered Completion Form. Any outstanding costs will then be invoiced and the project will be formally closed.

How long do services rendered activities usually last for?

The duration and pattern of work associated with service rendered activities varies widely. Some analysis and testing may be for only a few days work, others may last a number of months, or even years.

Do I need approval to undertake services rendered activity? From whom?

Approval of the Head of Department is required in respect of all services rendered activity supported by Research Services. This approval forms part of the budget proposal process.

Principles of Services Rendered

What is the difference between services rendered activity and consultancy?

Services rendered generally involve the provision of services to, or access to University facilities by, an external organisation, in exchange for a fee. In contrast with consultancy, services rendered do not involve a high degree of intellectual input from University staff or an associated personal fee to a member of academic staff.

Examples of services rendered include but are not limited to:

  • Analysis or testing performed by University of Sheffield staff which does not include advice or interpretation on the result
  • Editorship of academic journals
  • Secondments to companies which are not part of a research or teaching collaboration (eg. when associated with the formation of a spin out company)
  • Sponsorship of a chair or lecturer post where this is not related to a research or teaching programme
  • Use of University facilities or equipment or equipment loans
  • Delivery of short courses delivered at the University of Sheffield
  • Delivery of short courses beyond the University of Sheffield where there is involvement in the organisation of the course
  • Running conferences
  • Contributions to University expenses from external organisations (eg. travel and subsistence for attending a conference, seminar or meeting)
  • Donations unless specifically to support a research project.
Why does the University treat consultancy and services rendered differently to research?

The University is a charity with its main objective being the advancement of education by means of teaching and research. If the pursuance of its charitable objectives are deemed to be for public benefit, the University can claim certain reliefs available to charities to exempt the income generated from corporation tax.

Consultancy and services rendered offered for a fee are regarded as non charitable trading activities, irrespective of whether they provide public benefit. The income and profits generated do not, therefore, attract tax relief and the University must disclose the results of these services to HMRC in its annual corporation tax return.

Why is the provision of services rendered valuable to departments?

If properly costed, services rendered activity represents a source of additional income for departments.

The activity also have a number of other potential benefits over the medium to long term, including building relationships with external organisations which could lead to strategic partnerships and/or funded research collaborations, generation of new perspectives and ideas, opportunities for knowledge and expertise to make an impact on industry or society, and raising the profile of the University.

Services Rendered Entitlements

Who can be involved in services rendered activity? What University facilities can be used?

All staff can, in principle, be involved in services rendered activity, subject to the approval of their Head of Department.

All facilities can, in principle, be used in services rendered activity, subject to the approval of the relevant Head of Department. Considerations the Head of Department will need to take into account include:

  • Impact on other activities (particularly core activities such as teaching and research)
  • Health and Safety
  • Security
Can I use any results from fee-paying analysis or testing in my own research?

Analysis and testing will generate results to meet the specific needs of individual clients, and are likely to be of limited use to academics. Results are ordinarily assigned to the client, but in exceptional cases it may be possible to negotiate publication rights or a licence to be able to use the outcomes in your research. Please highlight this in the relevant section of the Services Rendered Costing and Proposal Form.

Can I use the results arising from a secondment in my own research?

As the secondment is a fee-paying activity, the client would ordinarily be assigned to the client. It may, in exceptional cases, be possible to negotiate publication rights or a licence to be able to use the outcomes in your research. Please highlight this in the relevant section of the Services Rendered Costing and Proposal Form.

Can services rendered be provided to University spin out companies? Can they be carried to my own spin out company?

Yes. However, to ensure that the activity is treated on a par with that of other clients , the activity must be fully costed, approved by the academic Head of Department and be subject to full terms and conditions.

How to cost for Services Rendered

How are services rendered activities?

Services rendered should be costed taking into account the following.

  • Academic and support staff time
  • Use of University equipment and facilities
  • Consumables
  • Travel
  • External fees

In the case of analysis and testing and the use of facilities and equipment, these costs should be informed by discussions with the appropriate laboratory manager and agreed with the Head of Department.

Do I need to charge VAT on services rendered activities?

The University must charge UK VAT in respect of services rendered when delivered to a UK-based organisation.

If the customer is not based in the UK , we may still need to charge UK VAT.

  • For EU customers we are required to obtain their EU VAT number as proof of their VAT status before issuing an invoice without VAT.
  • For countries outside the EU, UK VAT is not charged on services rendered invoices regardless of the customer's status.

Because the VAT rules are complex and there are exceptions to the rules above, it is important that the contract states that the services rendered fees are exclusive of VAT and VAT will be charged as applicable. This enables us to add VAT to the invoice if required to do so by law.

(If a contract is silent on charging VAT, then VAT is treated as included in the quoted fee. The University is still required by law to charge VAT on the fee but can then only issue an invoice for the total agreed fee. Once the VAT is paid HMRC, the project will be short on the expected funds).

How is the overhead element of the price treated?

Contributions to University overheads/central costs from consultancy accounts form part of the Resource Allocation process. Along with Research Net Contribution (RNC) these contributions are treated as Unrestricted Income and they therefore directly influence the level of core budget that an Academic Department receives each financial year.

Please note, from 1st August 2016 Services Rendered Projects for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health will include a 15% overhead charge. Departments are encouraged and may wish to charge more than the minimum 15% overhead rate wherever possible. This should be gauged on individual cases and in accordance with individual sponsors terms.

Who to contact

Please contact the help desk on 0114 22 27774 or ri-contracts@sheffield.ac.uk with new enquiries. 

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