"Policy on Gifts and Hospitality"
Canterbury Christ Church University Policy on Gifts and Hospitality 1. What constitutes Hospitality The University defines hospitality as including gifts, entertainments or perks offered or received by reason of employment, or in connection, with the University. This might include the offer or receipt of a meal, tickets to an event, or an individual present. Where hospitality is referred to in this policy, it should be taken to include any kinds of gifts, entertainments or perks. 2. Relationship between Hospitality and the Bribery Act 2010 The University expects and requires all those working in, for or on behalf of the University to conduct themselves with integrity, impartiality and honesty at all times. In addition the University has to respond to the legislative requirements of the Bribery Act 2010, and an important aspect of this policy is to provide a framework in which to provide protection for members of staff. This Policy includes third parties such as agents, contractors, examiners, intermediaries, representatives and volunteers, whether paid or unpaid, all of whom are considered (and are to consider themselves) to be ‘staff’ for the purpose of this Policy. Staff need to appreciate that hospitality, offered or received, might place them in a vulnerable position as hospitality can amount to, or be construed as, bribery within the meaning of the Bribery Act 2010. This is especially true of hospitality received from or on behalf of contractors, suppliers, service providers and students. Some staff necessarily spend time working with other organisations where it is normal business practice or social convention to offer and accept hospitality, especially overseas. This can place them in a difficult position: to refuse hospitality may cause misunderstanding or offence; however to accept may give rise to questions relating to bribery and conflict of interest. As such there is a need for transparency when dealing with hospitality. This applies equally to circumstances where hospitality is given and to where it is received. 2.1 What is permitted? Normal and proportionate hospitality whether given or received, for example, as part of the University’s commercial, promotional and marketing activities where this is genuinely aimed at building a good business relationship or improving the profile of the University is permitted. Hospitality given or received over £50 must be reported, as outlined below. 2.2 What is not permitted? Staff must not under any circumstances offer or accept hospitality which is aimed at securing an improper business or other advantage or which may affect the recipient’s independence, as this is likely to constitute bribery. It is vital to take particular care about the offer or acceptance of hospitality to or from a person or organisation that has, or is hoping to have, a contract with the University. 3. Policy on Offering, Acceptance and Reporting Hospitality Staff may offer or accept modest hospitality with an overall monetary value of under £50 without reporting the hospitality. Hospitality offered by or to a staff member (whether received or not) which exceeds, or is estimated to exceed, £50 in overall monetary value, must be recorded in the Hospitality Register kept in their SMT member’s office. The “overall value” is an aggregate of all hospitality and gifts offered or received by an individual involving the same instance within a period of 30 days. If a group (for example, of students) presented a gift valued in excess of £50, this is to be declared. The primary purpose of this register is to protect staff from accusations of impropriety. Where feasible a gift should be shared with colleagues; this is particularly true in the case of consumables. The register will contain the name of the member of staff and the department concerned, details of the person or organisation offering or accepting the hospitality, the date of the hospitality, a description of the hospitality, the value of the hospitality, whether the hospitality was accepted or declined and, if the hospitality constitutes a gift, the destination of that gift. Staff should ensure that offers of non-proportionate or extravagant hospitality are also registered but politely declined. Staff should refrain from offering non- proportionate or extravagant hospitality to others. Staff in receipt of unsolicited hospitality of a non-proportionate nature from contractors should return them with a polite explanation that the University’s rules do not allow their acceptance. Offers of substantial gifts (in the common use of the word) must be made to and accepted by the University as an organisation. In areas of doubt there should be a discussion with the University Solicitor’s Office before acceptance; where the gift is considered proper the University Solicitor’s Office may decide that the gift can be accepted by or on behalf of the University. What constitutes a substantial gift depends on the circumstances, but will normally be in excess of £100. Staff must exercise discretion in relation to hospitality. If in doubt about the propriety of hospitality, staff must seek advice from the University Solicitor’s Office before the offer or acceptance of hospitality. If there is doubt about the value of the hospitality, it should be recorded. Staff, particularly academic staff, should consider very carefully the implications of accepting gifts from students, particularly around perception, and should not accept any gifts (even of a very small value) during or before a period of examination or assessment involving the relevant student. The reporting requirements do not extend to formal events organised by the University or to legitimate business expenses incurred and personally claimed in writing by the individual and related only to that individual (for instance overnight accommodation or meals) in relation to duties performed for, on behalf of or arising from a connection with the University. It is a requirement that this Policy be observed, and failure to do so may result in disciplinary action being taken in accordance with University procedures. In the case of any doubt, it is better to make an entry into the register. Alternatively, advice can be sought from the University Solicitor’s Office. 4. Review of Hospitality Registers The Senior Management Team member will periodically review the contents of the Hospitality Registers and make an annual report to the University Solicitor, who will prepare an aggregate report for the Audit Committee. Any queries about the contents of the Registers should be directed to the relevant SMT member in the first instance.