Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon
Category Administration and Management
Type Policy
Approved by Senate, 27 February 2013
Date Policy Took Effect 27 February 2013
Last approved revision 29 November 2017
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Manager, Policy and Compliance


To ensure that the allocation of pool space for casual bookings is appropriate, fair, equitable and transparent.

Organisational scope

The policy applies to all casual bookings for pool space within the University of Otago's Dunedin campus including lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and specialist teaching and learning rooms. Performance venues and culturally important facilities are governed by the policy where they are pool spaces.

The policy also contains some consequential information relevant to departmentally-managed spaces outside the pool (see in particular clause 4). Staff involved in the management and administration of such spaces should be aware of this information.


Block Booking
Multiple bookings used to create a long booking and/or booking across days.
Casual Bookings
Bookings for non-teaching activities which may be made by parties internal or external to the University.
Core Events
Activities that are an integral part of the University's activities such as careers, recruitment and orientation events managed by Departments or Service Divisions, the meeting of contractual obligations, the establishment and maintenance of links with current and potential research partners, employers of graduates and sponsors/donors, departmental seminars and regular departmental meetings where these are larger than a department's designated meeting room can accommodate. Core Events do not include conferences organised on behalf of external or quasi-external organisations, and regular meetings that can be accommodated in designated meeting rooms.
Includes Departments, Schools and Faculties which have responsibility for the teaching of course material prescribed for the University's various qualifications. It also includes centres and units in service divisions.
Department Space
Space allocated to Departments.
External Bookings
For the purposes of this policy, casual bookings made by parties external to the University, including bookings by students or University staff acting in a private capacity.
General Teaching Rooms
Lecture theatres, seminar rooms, tutorial rooms, case rooms and other rooms of a similar nature used for teaching and other similar purposes that are not deemed to be Specialist Teaching Rooms.
Hire Agreement
An agreement between the University and the party making a casual booking which specifies terms and conditions regarding the use of facilities in a particular location.
Pool Space
Space managed centrally (by Property Services and Shared Services) and available for centralised timetabling.
Specialist Teaching Rooms
Bookable rooms or facilities which are not suitable for general teaching activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars or meetings) due to the presence of specialist equipment, particular attributes of the facilities or access issues.
Standard Hours
The University's Standard Teaching Hours as determined by the Academic Timetabling Policy (8am-6pm, inclusive, Monday to Friday).
Refers to instructional activities for enrolled students, normally carried out by academic staff members, and scheduled in the University's timetable, e.g. lectures, tutorials, laboratories, examinations and other assessment activities.
Teaching Periods
Refers primarily to first and second semester and Summer School as outlined in the University Calendar, but may also include non-standard teaching periods relating to programmes or papers taught outside these standard dates.  For the purpose of this policy Teaching Periods also include any associated examination periods.
Timetables (unit)
Timetables in Student Experience provide a timetabling service for teaching activities and casual bookings. Timetables are not responsible for event management.
Timetable System
The University's central electronic timetabling system, as maintained by Timetables.
Values of the University
For the purposes of this policy, the values of the University include the responsible exercise of academic freedom in the context of genuine academic enquiry and open debate.


  1. Access to bookable spaces

    1. Teaching will take priority during Teaching Periods, and will have first priority in the booking of general teaching rooms during standard hours.
    2. Core Events during standard hours will be given second priority.
    3. All other casual bookings will be given third priority.
    4. Bookings for non-teaching activities, including Core Events, will not normally be confirmed until after the beginning of a teaching period, but may be confirmed earlier at the discretion of the University.
    5. Subject to clauses 1(a) to (d) above, casual booking requests for pool space will normally be confirmed on a first come, first served basis.
    6. Pool spaces at the University will be categorised based on the nature of the room, including any relevant physical or cultural attributes. Bookings for events not suitable for a particular venue may be declined.
    7. Specialist Rooms in the Pool are visible in the Timetable System and other departments may request the use of these rooms. Accepting bookings for the use of a Specialist Room by others is at the discretion of the department managing the room. Requests for bookings in Specialist Rooms must be treated equitably.
    8. Approval for block booking a room or rooms is at the discretion of the University. Block booking for extended periods per day or week, whether on a one-off or regular basis, to reserve rooms for possible use and thus prevent others from booking the rooms, is not permitted.
    9. Large student events should, where possible, use the College of Education Auditorium.
  2. Approval process for external bookings

    1. All requests for external bookings should be made via the online External Booking Request form and must include:
      1. details of the individual and/or organisation requesting a booking
      2. details of the planned event including name, date, duration, expected attendance and description
      3. any reasons why the University is particularly suitable as a venue to host the planned event
      4. whether the event will be open to the public
      5. whether media will be invited to the event
      6. details of advertising/notification procedures if the event will be open to the public
      7. whether the event primarily relates to, or provides information about or advertising for, a commercial entity
      8. the level of any admission charges, and
      9. the intention of any admission charges (free, fundraising, partial- or full-cost recovery, for profit).
    2. Authority to approve external bookings resides with the Vice-Chancellor who may delegate this authority to designated staff for certain types of events.
    3. The University reserves the right to decline any external booking request, and shall not approve bookings for events that are deemed to be contrary to the values of the University.
    4. Notwithstanding clause 2(c), approval of an external booking does not imply University endorsement of an event, the content of that event, or any views expressed in that event.
    5. The University may require, as a condition of approval, that external hirers include on advertising or other materials associated with their event:
      1. a disclaimer stating University-independence from the event in question (as per clause 2(d) above), and/or
      2. information about the organisation(s) supporting the event.
      University logos or branding may not be used by external hirers without permission.
  3. Booking terms and conditions

    1. A completed Hire Agreement is required for an external booking to be confirmed.
    2. Hire Agreements must include details pertaining to in/out times, catering, security, health and safety considerations and any technical assistance required.
    3. The timespan of a standard booking is 50 minutes, starting on the hour. The standard hours for general access are 8.00am to 6.00pm on weekdays. Approval for access outside these hours, including at weekends, is at the discretion of the University.
    4. Current room booking charges shall be publicised on the University's website.
    5. For charging purposes, departments must provide a cost centre account code when making a booking.
    6. The Chief Operating Officer, or delegate, may fully or partially waive booking charges in certain circumstances. Decisions to waive charges are at the University's discretion, but for external bookings may take into account:
      1. the connection of the event to the University (if any)
      2. the value of the event to the wider community
      3. the financial/commercial status of the applicant organisation and/or the event
      4. impacts for the University in holding the event, including actual, potential and opportunity costs, and
      5. the availability of other appropriate, non-University venues for the event.
    7. Event organisers will be charged for any additional costs incurred by the University as a consequence of the event requiring additional security, additional cleaning and/or repair of damage caused. The costs will be charged to the cost centre provided by the event organiser if internal or directly to the event organiser if external.
    8. Room bookings must be cancelled if the event planned for the venue is cancelled; this includes teaching activities. The following shall apply for casual booking cancellations: i. For cancellations made prior to five working days before an event, a full refund of the booking fee will be given. ii. For cancellations made between two and five working days before an event, a 50% refund of the booking fee will be given. iii. For cancellations made less than two working days prior to an event, booking fees will not be refunded and, if such fees have previously been waived under clause 3(f), a cancellation fee equivalent to the booking fee will be charged. iv. Where no cancellation notification is given, clause 3(h)iii shall apply, and organisers may be restricted or prevented from making future bookings.
    9. Displays in foyers and public spaces must be of a high standard in line with the image of the University. Such displays must comply with the Terms and Conditions of Hire, including safe egress requirements.
  4. Responsibilities

    1. The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for ensuring adherence to this Policy.
    2. Timetables are responsible for providing a timetabling service for teaching activities and casual bookings. Timetables are not responsible for event management.
    3. Property Services are responsible for:
      1. providing adequate pool rooms to accommodate the teaching and casual booking requirements of the University based on target room frequencies and occupancies, information provided by Timetables and the surveyed use of rooms, and
      2. ensuring that the physical spaces are appropriate for the events in terms of built environment (e.g. flooring, walls and lighting) and that contracted services are provided (e.g. power, water, gas and cleaning).
    4. The Proctor's Office is responsible for crowd control, security and emergency management.
    5. Departments are responsible for managing their departmental rooms.
    6. Shared Services are responsible for providing and managing all audio-visual and IT equipment in pool rooms.
    7. University staff requesting or approving casual bookings (including staff involved in the management of departmental rooms) are responsible for ensuring that any bookings they request or approve are consistent with the values of the University. If there is doubt around any potential event, advice should be sought from the relevant Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Service Division Head in the first instance.
    8. The Lecture Theatres and Timetables Committee shall be consulted on any substantive changes to this policy.
  5. Rights of Event Cancellation and Closure

    1. The University reserves the right to cancel, at any time, a previously approved external booking, if it comes to light that the booking details in the request were inaccurate or misleading, whether this was intentional or not.
    2. If at any time (whether before or after a booking has been confirmed) an event is considered to be capable of involving unacceptable risk of harm to any persons or property or to the reputation of the University, and concerns raised about it are unable to be resolved through discussion with the Team Leader of Timetables and the Senior Manager of IT Support Services, then approval of the event may be revisited under the authority of the Vice-Chancellor (and any delegations made) under clause 2(b), and this may result in the event being cancelled or relocated to a more suitable venue.
    3. During an event, the following staff have the right to close down the event if they judge there to be unacceptable risk of harm to any persons or property or to the reputation of the University:
      1. The Vice-Chancellor
      2. The Chief Operating Officer
      3. The Registrar and Secretary to Council
      4. The Proctor
      5. The Deputy Proctor
      6. Any University staff member with designated Health and Safety responsibilities in relation to the venue being used (closure of an event by such staff may only be made for clear health and safety reasons)
    4. If an externally-booked event is cancelled or closed down under the provisions in 5(a)-(c), then:
      1. any refund of the booking fee, whether full or partial, will be at the entire discretion of the University (a refund will not normally be given for an event which is closed down, cancelled within two working days of its scheduled date, or in respect of which the University considers the booking to have been in any way misleading), and
      2. the University accepts no liability in respect of any consequential losses.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

The Team Leader

Back to top