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Acceptance of Gifts, Benefits and Gratuities Policy

Category Finance
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, 27 January 2006
Date Policy Took Effect 27 January 2006
Last Approved Revision
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible Officer Chief Operating Officer
Review Date 12 August 2023

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that University staff are aware of what is appropriate behaviour with respect to the acceptance of gifts, benefits or gratuities.

Organisational Scope

This policy applies to all employees of the University.

Policy Content

1. The University adopts the New Zealand Public Service Code governing offers of gifts or gratuities.

2. University staff must not abuse their position for personal gain. They must not solicit or accept gifts, rewards or benefits which might compromise their integrity and the integrity of their department and/or the University.

3. As a general rule, staff should not accept a gift (whatever its nature or value) if the gift could be seen by others as either an inducement or a reward which might place the employee under an obligation to a third party.

4. Where offers of gifts or inducements are made, they should be reported by the staff member to his or her manager or Head of Department, who will determine the appropriate response. A staff member who accepts a gift should declare the gift to their manager or Head of Department for a decision on final disposal.

5. Gifts or benefits can range from one-off offers of small gifts to ongoing discounts on goods and services. While a blanket ban on the acceptance of gifts and benefits may be impractical, there is a clear limit to what is acceptable and what is not. A bottle of wine at Christmas for the office may be acceptable - family tickets to a show or ongoing personal discounts from a supplier are not.

6. The following factors should be considered in determining whether a gift/benefit may be accepted or not:

(a) the monetary value of the gift or benefit

(b) how the gift or benefit would look to an outside party (the “front page” test)

(c) the reasons for the gift or benefit being offered

(d) the frequency of the gift - even a small gift or benefit given repeatedly may be of concern

(e) whether the gift displays a company or organisation logo

(f) the value or importance of the gift or benefit to the employee

(g) the commercial influence, actual or perceived, that the gift or benefit may represent - where a supplier has won a contract for the provision of goods and services to a department (or departments), the supplier should not offer personal discounts to employees of that department. Nor should staff accept them. They could be seen both as a reward for letting the contract and an inducement to maintain the commercial relationship.

Related Policies, Procedures and Forms

Contact for Further Information

For further information, contact the Chief Operating Officer, extn 8537 or email coo@otago.ac.nz