Docstoc

Gifts and Benefits Policy

Document Sample
Gifts and Benefits Policy Powered By Docstoc
					     GIFTS AND BENEFITS

          POLICY

(INCLUDING ENTERTAINMENT AND
         HOSPITALITY)




          March 2008
Gifts and Benefits Policy (including Entertainment and Hospitality)


                                                                   TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.          OVERVIEW AND PURPOSE OF GUIDELINES ....................................................................................................................... 3

2.          WHO DOES THE POLICY APPLY TO? ................................................................................................................................... 3

3.          HYPERLINKS............................................................................................................................................................................ 3

4.          DEFINITIONS ............................................................................................................................................................................ 3

5.          WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE I ACCEPT A GIFT?.......................................................................................... 4

6.          WHEN CAN I ACCEPT A GIFT OR BENEFIT? ....................................................................................................................... 4

6.1         ‘PUBLIC PERCEPTION’ CONCEPT ........................................................................................................................................ 5

6.2         GIFT MUST BE OF BENEFIT TO TREASURY ........................................................................................................................ 5

7.          WHEN IS IT APPROPRIATE TO GIVE A GIFT OR BENEFIT?............................................................................................... 5

8.          WHO MAY APPROVE A GIFT OR BENEFIT?......................................................................................................................... 5

9.          HOW DO I ASSESS THE ‘FAIR MARKET VALUE’ OF A GIFT OR BENEFIT? ..................................................................... 6

10.         GIFTS OR BENEFITS VALUED OVER $100 ARE THE PROPERTY OF TREASURY .......................................................... 6

11.         GIFTS OR BENEFITS MUST NOT INVOLVE TIME AWAY FROM WORK............................................................................. 6

12.         WHEN IS HOSPITALITY ‘OFFICIAL’?..................................................................................................................................... 6

13.         SHOULD I ACCEPT REFRESHMENTS WHILE AT WORK? .................................................................................................. 7

14.         CAN I GIVE A CORPORATE GIFT ON BEHALF OF TREASURY? ....................................................................................... 7

15.         CAN I GIVE SOMETHING TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE OR TO AN EMPLOYEE OF ANOTHER AGENCY?........................ 7

16.         WHAT ABOUT TICKETS TO EVENTS AND LUCKY DOOR PRIZES? .................................................................................. 7

17.         IS RECIPROCAL ENTERTAINMENT IN ORDER? .................................................................................................................. 8

18.         CAN I TIP? ................................................................................................................................................................................ 8

19.         SPONSORSHIPS ...................................................................................................................................................................... 8

20.         HOW DO I TO PAY FOR A GIFT OR HOSPITALITY? ............................................................................................................ 8

12.1        FRINGE BENEFITS TAX .......................................................................................................................................................... 8

21.         GIFTS AND BENEFITS REGISTER ......................................................................................................................................... 8

22.         ARE GIFTS AND BENEFITS MONITORED?........................................................................................................................... 9

23.         POLICY BREACHES ................................................................................................................................................................ 9

24.         WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE? ......................................................................................... 9

APPENDIX 1 ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 10

APPENDIX 2 ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 11

APPENDIX 3 ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 12




                                                                                                                                                                                                      2
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy


1. Overview and purpose of guidelines
The Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) has re-issued its whole-of-
Government directive relating to the ethical considerations and procedures involved in the
giving and receiving of gifts and benefits, including entertainment and hospitality by
employees of the Queensland Public Service.

This (Treasury) policy is consistent with the revised OPSC policy and should be read in
conjunction with other key requirements, including Treasury’s Code of Conduct and the
Public Sector Ethics Act 1994.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) has also issued a useful paper titled
‘Receiving Gifts and Benefits - Managing the Risks’ which sets out protocols and examples
as to appropriate and inappropriate gifts and benefits. Refer www.cmc.qld.gov.au

Examples of gifts and benefits are set out in Appendix A

2. Who does the policy apply to?
This policy has application to all Treasury employees.

3. Hyperlinks
The various policies and other references contained in this policy may be accessed from the
hyperlinks set out in section 27.

4. Definitions
Employee - all permanent and temporary employees of Treasury, including any contractor or
consultant employed by Treasury.

Employee health and well-being program - a program designed to promote health by
encouraging individuals to lessen their exposure to common health risks and to actively
prevent the onset of disease.

Fair market value - the reasonable retail value of a gift or benefit.

Gifts and benefits - any tangible (of lasting value) or intangible (of no lasting value) item
given or received by an employee, including a contractor or consultant, in the course of the
person’s official duties over and above the person’s normal salary and entitlements.

The term ‘does not include any gift or benefit given or received under an approved employee
health and well-being program or an approved rewards and recognition program. It also
excludes benefits negotiated when an agency sponsors a service, product or activity on its
own or with another government agency, for example under the Queensland Government
Sponsorship Policy.

Public perception - the perception of a fair-minded person in possession of the facts.

Register of gifts - required to be established under the Financial Management Standard
1997.

Rewards and recognition program - gifts or benefits received by an employee under an
approved program that recognises contributions towards agency outcomes and objectives.



                                                                                                3
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy


5. What do I need to consider before I accept a gift?
The OPSC policy requires that the following principles be adopted in relation to giving and
receiving gifts and benefits:

•   being an employee involves a public trust. This means that the person’s duties must be
    carried out impartially and with integrity. Consequently, it is not appropriate for an
    employee to accept or give a gift or benefit that affects, or could be seen to affect, the
    performance of the person’s duties

•   employees must be mindful of their obligation to maintain and enhance public confidence
    in the integrity of public administration

•   employees must not ask for or encourage any form of gift or benefit in connection with
    their official duties, including any competitions involving a prize

•   any gift or benefit accepted, regardless of its value, could be seen to imply a relationship
    that could interfere with objectivity and independence

•   an employee can decline a gift or benefit courteously by explaining that acceptance is
    contrary to Government policy and consequently, they have no discretion in the area

•   official gifts or benefits become the property of the department,. However, the
    accountable officer or delegate may permit the recipient to retain the gift or benefit

•   under no circumstances may gifts of cash or kind, including lottery tickets, ‘scratchies’ or
    shares be given or accepted, and

•   any gift or benefit, given or accepted, including entertainment and hospitality must be
    declared in the Gifts and Benefits Register if it has a fair market value in excess of $100
    or represents a multiple of gifts or benefits valued in excess of $100 from the same donor
    or from donors in a similar relationship with the employee.

6. When can I accept a gift or benefit?
In considering if it is appropriate to accept a gift or benefit, the primary considerations are
why the offer made and the public perception of acceptance.

A useful Decision Making Guide is attached, Appendix B. This is intended as an example
only and specific circumstances should be discussed with the employee’s supervisor in any
instance of doubt.

All gifts and benefits represent a risk and this should be considered before deciding whether
or not to accept the item. Considerations include:

•   is there any perception that the gift or benefit is intended to influence the recipient or
    generate favourable future treatment? If yes, the item should not be accepted

•   is the gift or benefit made as a mark of appreciation, for example speaking at a
    conference? In these circumstances acceptance is appropriate if the fair market value of
    the gift is less than $350

•   is the gift a memento or token, for example a handout at a conference? These are
    acceptable provided the value is modest, and



                                                                                                   4
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

•     is it a ceremonial gift for example an official gifts provided when conducting business with
      organisation? Acceptance is acceptable provided the value is modest.

If a gift or benefit is retained by the agency, it must be used in an appropriate manner.

6.1      ‘Public perception’ concept

Critical to giving or accepting a gift or benefit is the question of public perception. This is
particularly important even when a gift or benefit is given or accepted in good faith and with
no ulterior motive. The overarching consideration is the impression that giving or accepting
the gift or benefit might create.

Public perception can be influenced by various factors, including:

•     the relationship between the giver and the employee. If the employee is in a position to
      provide advice or make decisions that could benefit the person making the gift, for
      example authorising a grant or licence or making a decision, it is likely the gift is
      inappropriate and should not be accepted

•     the transparency and openness of the gift. If the gift is offered in a public forum, it is less
      likely to be perceived as a gift of influence than if it were offered in a private context.

•     the value of the gift, valuable gifts being more likely to be perceived as gifts to win
      influence or favours.

•     the frequency of gift giving. Persons authorising the retention of a gift should take into
      account previous gifts given to the employee. While the perception that one gift may not
      be considered sufficient to cause an employee to act inappropriately, the sum of multiple
      gifts may be considered sufficient to do so. Multiple gifts from the same donor or from
      donors in a similar relationship with the public service employee, where the cumulative
      value is more than $100 in any financial year, must be reported in the Gifts and Benefits
      Register.

6.2      Gift must be of benefit to Treasury

An overarching requirement for all gifts given or accepted, other than tokens or mementos, is
that the item must be of clear benefit to Treasury and to the public generally. Such benefit
could include improving client relationships or promoting the department’s business
objectives.


7. When is it appropriate to give a gift or benefit?
The principles set out in section 5 of this policy apply equally to giving and accepting a gift or
benefit. In this regard, consideration must be given to why the gift is being offered and the
public perception of the giving the gift or benefit.

Agencies should also consider the implications of Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) when making
decisions about giving gifts or benefits.

8. Who may approve a gift or benefit?
In terms of Treasury’s Instrument of Delegations the following persons are authorised to
approve a gift or benefit:




                                                                                                    5
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

•   Under Treasurer - if the fair market value of the gift or benefit exceeds $10,000

•   Deputy Under Treasurer - if fair market value is between $2,000 and $10,000

•   Portfolio Office Head - up to $2,000, and

•   Director or equivalent - up to $100, including in relation to minor entertainment or
    hospitality, for example a staff farewell function.

9. How do I assess the ‘fair market value’ of a gift or benefit?
Employees are encouraged to have an appropriate person verify the estimated value of a
gift. Deliberately undervaluing a gift or benefit to avoid reporting it or to keep it will be treated
as official misconduct.

10.     Gifts or benefits valued over $100 are the property of Treasury
Any gift or benefit with a fair market value of more than $100 accepted by an employee,
becomes the property of the department.

Any gift of cultural or historical significance must remain the property of Treasury, regardless
of its value.

If the gift or benefit has a fair market value of less than $100, it may be retained by the
employee if approved in terms of section 8 of this policy. In these circumstances, the gift or
benefit does not need to be recorded in the Register of Gifts and Benefits but should be
recorded in the officer’s diary or other permanent record.

If the gift or benefit has a fair market value of between $100 and $350 and it is not a gift of
cultural or historical significance, the item may be retained if approved in terms of section 8
of this policy.

If the gift or benefit has a fair market value of over $350 (and is not a gift of cultural or
historical significance the gift or benefit may be retained only if the circumstances are
exceptional. The reason for such decision must be recorded in the Register of Gifts and
Benefits.

If a gift or benefit is retained by the department, it must be used in an appropriate manner.

11.     Gifts or benefits must not involve time away from work
Employees should not be away from their official duties at public expense. Gifts or benefits
can only be used outside the employee’s normal working hours or on approved leave, unless
the gift or benefit forms part of the person’s official duties.

12.     When is hospitality ‘official’?
Official hospitality is appropriate if it is essential to furthering Treasury’s business objectives,
for example entertaining persons able to assist Treasury either through advice or because of
the nature of their business. Any such hospitality should not be a substitute for normal
meetings conducted in Treasury premises.

In some cases, it may be also appropriate to provide hospitality to:



                                                                                                    6
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

•   interstate and overseas visitors where Treasury has an interest in, or a specific obligation
    towards facilitating the visit

•   representatives of business or industry, recognised community organisations, the press
    and other media, and

•   representatives of other levels of government (in exceptional circumstances only).

13.    Should I accept refreshments while at work?

Working meals and refreshments are not regarded as a gift or benefit for the purposes of this
policy and may be given or received (and not recorded in the Gifts and Benefits Register)
provided they are of a modest nature (not exceeding $10 per person).

14.    Can I give a corporate gift on behalf of Treasury?
In certain cases it may be appropriate to provide a corporate gift to a dignitary or another
organisation on behalf of the department. Examples include a gift to:

•   the sponsor of a corporate event

•   foreign dignitaries or visiting delegations, and

•   gifts or tokens when travelling overseas on official Government business.

The practice of giving gifts should not be seen as something that must be done. Where a gift
is to be made on behalf of Treasury, consideration should be given to selecting an
appropriate gift from the Official Gift Range maintained by Protocol Queensland (Department
of Premier and Cabinet).

15. Can I give something to another employee or to an employee
   of another agency?
Treasury does not normally support giving a gift to another employee or to an employee of
another department but there may be some circumstances where this is appropriate, for
example when an employee retires after many years’ meritorious service. A threshold not
exceeding $100 is suggested, depending on the circumstances.

16.    What about tickets to events and lucky door prizes?
Offers of corporate hospitality at sporting events, theatre tickets or like recreation attractions
must be treated in the same manner as other gifts or benefits. Any employee attending a
sporting event, theatre or recreation attraction as part of a gift or benefit, must ensure this
occurs outside the person’s normal working hours or on approved leave.

Treasury has no objection to an employee entering into ‘lucky door’ competitions provided
the prize is valued at less than $100. However, discretion should be used, particularly in
circumstances where the employee’s business card is requested.

If the prize is valued at over $100, the preferred position is that the competition not be
entered into or the prize not accepted unless it is appropriate to the person’s official duties,
for example a training package or other benefit to Treasury.




                                                                                                     7
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

Prizes of a clear personal benefit such as travel, accommodation, day spa treatments, hot air
balloon trips and similar should not be accepted if valued at over $100.

17.    Is reciprocal entertainment in order?
Reciprocal entertainment is permitted provided if the cost is modest (not exceeding $20) and
the invitation is useful in advancing Treasury’s business objectives.

18.    Can I tip?
Tipping and giving gratuities will not be reimbursed if made in Australia. Tipping is only
allowed overseas if it is a local custom. Refer Travel Policy.

19.    Sponsorships
Benefits negotiated when Treasury sponsors a service, product, or activity either on its own
or with another Government agency, for example under the Queensland Government
Sponsorship Policy, need not be recorded in the Gifts and Benefits Register. Reference also
should be made to the CMC guidelines on sponsorship management.

20.    How do I to pay for a gift or hospitality?
The preferred method of payment for gifts and benefits, including entertainment and
hospitality is by corporate card. All such transactions must comply with Treasury’s Corporate
Card Policy.

If the person does not have a Treasury corporate card, a General Expenditure Claim Form
should be completed and forwarded to Accounts Payable, Shared Services Agency (SSA).
The SSA will then reimburse the person incurring the expense or pay the provider direct.

The person approving the payment must ensure it:

•   is reasonable, appropriate and publicly defensible

•   required to advance Treasury’s business interests or had wider public benefit, and

•   charged to the relevant cost centre and any FBT considerations addressed.

12.1   Fringe benefits tax

Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) may be payable on any entertainment or hospitality provided to an
employee or an associate of an employee, if the expense is other than for working meals and
refreshments. When submitting claims for gifts, entertainment or hospitality, a Fringe
Benefits Tax Entertainment Expenses Declaration Form must accompany the claim.

Further details of FBT applicability may be obtained from the Taxation Centre, SSA
telephone (07) 322 51270. Alternatively, reference may be made to the FBT policies
available on Treasury’s intranet site. Refer ‘Corporate Services/Finance/Fringe Benefits Tax’.

21.    Gifts and Benefits Register
Any gift or benefit that has a fair market value of more than $100 must be recorded in the
Gifts and Benefits Register maintained by each portfolio office. A pro forma register is
attached, Appendix 3.


                                                                                             8
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

If multiple gifts or benefits are received from the same donor or from donors in a similar
relationship with the employee, in any financial year and the cumulative value is more than
$100, then each gift or benefit must be registered. Until this threshold is reached the gifts or
benefits may be recorded in the officer’s diary or another permanent record.

Any gift of cultural or historical significance must be recorded in the Gifts and Benefits
Register, regardless of its value.

Portfolio offices that have employees in sensitive roles, for example providing advice or
making decisions about grants or licences, inspecting, or other forms of regulation or about
tendering or significant contracts should give consideration to reporting all gifts or benefits
offered in the Gifts and Benefits Register.

22.      Are gifts and benefits monitored?

Details of gifts and benefits given and received are reported to the Under Treasurer and to
the Risk Management Committee as part of Treasury’s discretionary reporting program. The
information may also be used for Questions on Notice and like responses.

To facilitate this, portfolio offices must provide an e-copy of their Gifts and Benefits Register
to Finance Branch, Portfolio Services on a quarterly basis or when otherwise requested.

23.      Policy breaches
Non-compliance with this policy will be treated as a breach of Treasury’s Code of Conduct or,
if the gift or benefit is a bribe, as an offence under the Criminal Code.

24.      Where can I get additional advice and assistance?
Further information in relation to this policy or discretionary expenditure reporting may be
obtained by telephoning Finance Branch, Portfolio Services at (07) 340 56588 or
(07) 322 44790.

Hyperlinks to other relevant policies and guidelines follow:

Queensland Treasury

•   Code of Conduct

•   Corporate Card Policy

•   Delegations Policy

•   Fraud, Corruption and Official Misconduct Mitigation Policy

Other

•     Receiving Gifts and Benefits - Managing the Risk (CMC June 2006)

•     Public Sector Ethics Act 1994




                                                                                                    9
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

                                                                                   APPENDIX 1
                           EXAMPLES OF GIFTS AND BENEFITS
In this policy, the term ‘gifts and benefits’ refers to items given and received in the course of
official duties, including:

   •   alcohol, clothes, personal grooming products

   •   travel or accommodation

   •   preferential treatment such as queue jumping, use of facilities, hospitality or benefits
       generally

   •   food and drink received or given as part of a meeting, conference, trade display or
       other event attended as part of official duties

   •   cap, pen, pencil, notepad, bottle of wine, bunch of flowers, box of chocolates

   •   free use of facilities such as gyms, holiday homes or discounted travel

   •   corporate offers of transportation, accommodation, tickets, meals and functions as
       part of a major event

   •   awards or prizes including lucky door prizes or similar

   •   tickets to the theatre, cultural events, sporting and other events or access to a private
       spectator box at a sporting or other venue

   •   restaurant meals and beverages, and

   •   sports team sponsorship.




                                                                                                10
Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy

APPENDIX 2
                                                                            This is an example only of how an
  Is the gift one of money or readily                                       employee may consider whether a
  exchanged for money?                                                      gift or benefit should be accepted.
                                                                            Specific circumstances should be
                                                                            discussed with a supervisor or
 Yes – refuse the offer and                                                 manager, where there is any
                                    No – lower risk, could
 report it to your supervisor.                                              doubt.
                                    consider.



                                 Is it offered to encourage you to give favourable
                                 treatment in your official capacity?



                         Yes – refuse the offer and                No – lower risk,
                         report it to your supervisor.             could consider.




                                    Could the gift be seen by other people to
                                    influence your behaviour as a public service
                                    employee?


                                          Yes – refuse offer                No – lower risk,
                                          and discuss with                  could consider.
                                          your supervisor.


                                                  Will you or your agency be making important
                                                  decisions regarding the gift giver in the near
                                                  future?


                                              Yes – refuse offer &                    No – lower risk,
                                              discuss with your                       could consider.
                                              supervisor.


                                                                       Is the gift expensive?


                                                                                          No – lower risk,
                                              Yes – consider refusing offer,              could consider.
                                              unless it was a ceremonial gift.
                                              Discuss with your supervisor.


                                                              Have you received other gifts from this
                                                              person/agency recently?



                                        Yes – consider gifts as a series                No – lower risk,
                                        and      observe        reporting               could consider.
                                        requirements. Discuss with your
                                               i



                                                                                                     11
     Gifts and Benefits (including Entertainment and Hospitality) Policy
                                                                                                                                            APPENDIX 3
                                                             Gifts and Benefits Register
      [ENTER YEAR, eg. 2006-07]
     [ENTER BUSINESS AREA NAME HERE]

     PROFORMA FOR RECORDING GIVING OR RECEIPT OF GIFTS – ALL DETAILS ARE MANDATORY


  Date     Description of gift or   Value       Name of     Name of      For gifts received,   Reason                     Name and             Asset
given or         benefit                         Donor      Recipient    was the gift:         acceptance/giving         signature of       Identifier (if
received                                                                                       is of benefit to the         person          applicable)
                                                                         (a) retained by
                                                                                               Queensland             authorising gift or
                                                                             employee; or
                                                                                               community                benefit. (Refer
                                                                         (b) retained by                                 section 8 of
                                                                             Treasury?                                      policy)




                                                                                                                                                             12

				
DOCUMENT INFO