Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy
Departmental staff must refuse all gifts, benefits and offers of hospitality wherever practical, and be able to demonstrate that they are not influenced in the performance of their duties by offers of gifts and benefits.
The integrity and reputation of the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade (the Department) are the foundations of how we do business and how we maintain trust with our stakeholders, including the community of NSW.
This Policy and the supporting Procedure for Managing Offers of Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality (the Procedure) provide advice on your responsibilities and the Department’s expectations of you in relation to Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality.
In the course of your work as an employee of the Department you may be offered gifts and benefits or receive offers of hospitality. It is the Department’s expectation that employees do not accept these offers as it may be perceived as representing a conflict of interest or compromising the integrity of your decision-making and the reputation of the Department. However, there are times when the refusal of a gift, benefit or hospitality may cause offence, or acceptance of a modest gift, benefit or hospitality may be appropriate.
2. Policy coverage
This policy applies:
- to all persons undertaking official work for the Department in either a paid or unpaid capacity. This extends to close associates where there is a link between an offer made to the close associate and the employee's official duties.
- in all circumstances where gifts offered by a stakeholder can be perceived as linked to official business. This includes where gifts, benefits or hospitality may be offered outside normal working hours or while on leave.
- all employees both within and outside of Australia.
The Department’s Travel Policy sets the Department’s requirements for travel or transport associated with attending events or business activities involving hospitality.
A gift or benefit is any item or service accepted from clients, customers (including potential clients and customers) or other associates, in the course of official duties. This includes any service or item received by the family of an employee, where there is clear link with the employee's official duties. Hospitality may include offers of meals, or to attend business networking events, sporting events, cultural events, or other functions.
Refer to the Procedure for definitions.
4. Key Principles
Responding to Offers of a Gift, Benefit or Hospitality
You are required to always adhere to the following mandatory principles when responding to offers of a gift, benefit, or hospitality. As well as being a requirement of this Policy, these principles also form part of the Department’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and support the NSW Public Sector core values of Integrity, Trust, Service and Accountability. Customers, stakeholders, colleagues, and the community of NSW have a right to expect that all employees and representatives of the Department perform their duties in a fair and unbiased way, and that decisions they make are not affected by self-interest or the likelihood that they will personally benefit.
4.1 Mandatory Principles for responding to offers:
- Seek or solicit a gift, benefit, or hospitality.
- Accept any offer:
- if you are working in a high-risk area/engagement (where you have a level of discretion in decision-making that can impact on the stakeholder).
- that may be perceived as presenting a conflict of interest or compromising the Department’s integrity or your own.
- intended to influence you to act in the interest of the giver or seen as a bribe.
- of cash or equivalent including gift vouchers, shares, loan, sponsored travel, memberships, use of facilities or discounts on commercial items regardless of the amount.
- where the giver or their company / organisation is, or will be:
- involved in a tender process with the Department; or
- that is a subject of a Departmental grant application or program funding recipient; or
- that is the subject of your (or the Department’s) discretionary decisions, power, or substantial influence.
- All other offers or gifts, benefits, or hospitality where practical to do so.
- Any offer made to you that you believe was intended as a bribe or to influence your decision making. For further information please refer to the Department’s Anti Bribery Policy).
- All prohibited offers (see Definitions - Annexure A of the Procedure) even if they have been declined.
- Any gift, benefit or hospitality accepted that is valued greater than A$75. Approval must be sought prior to acceptance.
- All offers of gifts, benefits or hospitality that are unusual or of significant value (Greater than A$300) even if they have been declined.
- All corporate gifts intended for the Department.
- Employees based in Australia:
- Any gift, benefit, or hospitality you accept that is valued greater than A$75 (Seek approval prior to acceptance)
- Employees based outside of Australia:
- Any gift, benefit, or hospitality you accept that is valued greater than A$100 (Seek approval prior to acceptance).
- Employees based in Australia:
- Any gift, benefit or hospitality accepted with a value between A$25 and A$75 in a business areas record management system.
- The estimated value of all gifts or benefits that are related to events which are sponsored/facilitated by the Department. These records will assist with your personal tax assessment in relation to Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) which may be payable.
- Employees based outside of Australia:
- Any gift, benefit or hospitality accepted with a value less than A$100 in a business area record management system.
- The value of gifts/benefits related to events sponsored by the Department which may attract FBT as noted above.
- Employees based in Australia:
- Seek approval from your manager to accept any gift, benefit or hospitality accepted with a value greater than A$75.
- Employees based outside of Australia:
- Seek approval from your manager to accept any gift, benefit or hospitality accepted with a value greater than A$100.
- The giver that their information will be recorded in the Gift, Benefit & Hospitality Register if the offer has been declared.
- Follow the direction provided to you by the Department about how the gift, benefits of hospitality are to be dealt with once your declaration has been reviewed.
4.2 Accepting offers in the Ordinary Course of Business
Invitations to attend industry events, are a normal part of the stakeholder engagement functions undertaken by the Department. Some business areas receive a substantial number of invitations throughout the year and are required to assess each invitation to determine if there is a business purpose to attend.
The mandatory principles outlined above must always be complied with in relation to any gift, benefit, or hospitality. In additional, the following considerations must also be part of your decision making.
The following is a summary of the action you need to take when accepting an allowable gift, benefit, or hospitality. Any prohibited gift must be declined immediately.
Less than A$75 (Australia)
Less than A$100 (outside Australia)
Keep a record in your business areas’ record management system noting who provided it and why it was offered.
Greater than A$75 (Australia)
Greater than A$100 (outside Australia)
Submit a Declaration Form on MyCareer and seek approval before accepting if possible. If it is a tangible gift adhere to the advice provided by your manager on whether the gift should be surrendered, shared with local employees, or kept.
Greater than $300
Refuse wherever possible. Even if you have refused, declare the offer by submitting a Declaration Form.
4.2.1 Pre-approval for roles requiring frequent business engagement
Due to the nature of the work undertaken at the Department, some roles may receive frequent invitations to attend business engagements. For roles where this does occur frequently, you may seek an approval to increase the threshold to accept allowable gifts, benefits, and hospitality up to the value of A$200. A written request is required to be approved by a Senior Executive Band 3 (role which reports directly to the Secretary) and should stipulate the details of what the approval covers (eg. just hospitality or also gifts and benefits).
If this pre-approval is provided, a declaration is still required for any accepted offer that is valued greater than A$75. Any prohibited gift, benefit or hospitality must always be declined. A copy of the pre-approval must be forwarded to Governance, Audit and Risk. The Procedure outlines how to submit a request for pre-approval.
4.2.2 Considerations before accepting offers
The following should be considered:
- Token gifts, benefits, or hospitality of nominal value (under A$25) such as a coffee or modest meal during a meeting or working group can usually be accepted.
- If attendance at an event will assist the Department to retain or obtain contemporary knowledge of activity, trends, and issues in a particular industry and to network with relevant parties.
- If there is an expectation that Government will demonstrate interest in particular industries and businesses and that employees are expected to have some awareness of that sector e.g., arts, screen, and cultural organisations.
- Staff who also have a personal interest in these activities in addition to their professional knowledge should declare any real or perceived conflicts of interest.
- If attendance at work-related events or functions (hospitality) has a direct connection to the achievement of the business area’s objectives and the individual employee roles and are accordance with budget and delegations.
- For staff working in a high-risk area (where they have a level of discretion in decision-making that can impact on the stakeholder), it is recommended that staff always decline the gift benefit or hospitality, even if it is token and even when it may cause offence.
4.2.3 Offence may be caused
If refusal of an offer may cause offence and impact the stakeholder relationship, if practicable you should immediately advise and discuss the situation with your manager or alternatively accept the gift or benefit so as not to cause offence. If the gift or benefit is accepted you are still required to consider the mandatory principles outlined in this policy, create a record by declaring details of who made the offer, what has been accepted and have this approved by your manager in accordance with the same process for all other offers of gifts, benefits, and hospitality.
4.3 Offering Gifts, Benefits or Hospitality to Other Parties
There may be times when offering a gift, benefit or hospitality is considered appropriate in the context of your business activities. The following principles are mandatory requirements and apply when you make an offer to provide a gift, benefit, or hospitality.
4.3.1 Mandatory Principles for making offers:
- Never Offer:
- Cash or equivalents
- Items to a foreign public official which could be seen to influence that official (including paying any expenses such as travel & accommodation)
- A gift to a foreign public official that would breach the laws of the country where the gift is given
- Gifts for employees or hospitality that welcome, farewell, or entertain employees
- Hospitality that may lead to a real or perceived conflict of interest
- Hospitality in relation to association and activities undertaken with foreign public officials that could be seen to influence the official to gain or retain business
- Ensure the offer has an official business purpose or promotes the Department’s objectives and priorities.
- Employees involved ensure the offer is made in a professional capacity and they uphold their obligation to extend a duty of care to other participants.
- Value for Money:
- The cost of the offer is proportionate to the business benefits obtained and would be considered reasonable in terms of community expectations.
- The gift, benefit or hospitality is purchased through a transparent and equitable process.
- Attendance of Department employees at hosted events or functions is limited to those necessary to advance the Departments interests.
- Declare any offer of gifts, benefits or hospitality that you make and is accepted by the intended recipient that is valued greater than A$75 (for employees based in Australia) or A$100 (for employees based overseas).
- Declare any offer you make of gifts, benefits or hospitality that is valued greater A$300 even if it is declined by the intended recipient.
- Details of all offers either made that are valued less than A$75 (for employees based in Australia) in a business areas record management system or with a value less than A$100 (for employees based outside of Australia).
- Ensure approval has been granted by an appropriate delegate under the Procurement Delegations. This includes pre-approval of specific representation activities by heads of the business areas.
- Ensure expenditure incurred is consistent with your responsibilities under the expense policies
5. Roles and responsibilities
Director Governance, Audit & Risk
6. Disposal of Tangible Gifts
All reportable gifts are the Department’s property until a decision is made via the Declaration Form process about how the gift should be managed.
Depending on the nature of the gift, it may be approved to be:
- Kept by the employee
- Retained for use in Departmental operations
- Shared and distributed amongst local employees
- Disposed of by:
- an internal raffle by staff with the proceeds going to a charity supported by the Department; or
- Departmental social event; or
- donate the gift or benefit to a charity.
7. Non-compliance with this policy
A breach of this policy is inconsistent with the Department’s Code of Ethics and Conduct. Failure to declare a gift, benefit or offer of hospitality in accordance with this Policy may result in disciplinary action as outlined in Section 69 of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013 and part 8 of the Government Sector Employment Rules. Serious breaches such as soliciting or accepting a gift, benefit, or hospitality to influence you in a professional capacity may be considered corrupt conduct under the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 and may also lead to criminal prosecution.
The Department may amend this policy from time to time as appropriate.
Next Review Date
Director Governance, Audit and Risk
|Director Governance, Audit and Risk||1 July 2023||1 July 2024|
|Director Governance, Audit and Risk||1 July 2022||1 July 2023|
Please reference this Policy and Procedure to ensure your decision making meets the expectations of the Department and always seek support from Governance at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are unsure or require support.
10. Related documents
- Procedure – Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality
- Anti-Bribery Policy
- Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy
- Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Conflicts of Interest Policy
- P-Card Policy
- Travel Policy
- Public Interest Disclosure Internal Reporting Policy