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Gifts, benefits and hospitality policy

Purpose

This policy outlines the Department of Justice and Regulation’s expectations for the appropriate management of offers of, and the provision of, gifts, benefits and hospitality by departmental officials.

Scope

This policy applies to all departmental officials, which includes employees, contractors, consultants, volunteers and any individuals or groups undertaking activity for and on behalf of the department.

Statement of policy

Departmental officials are expected to:

  • not solicit gifts, benefits or hospitality for themselves or any other individual
  • only ever accept offers of gifts benefits or hospitality valued at $50 or more where there is a legitimate business purpose and approval is sought beforehand
  • ensure that any gift or hospitality is provided for a business purpose in that it:
    • furthers the conduct of official business or other legitimate organisational goals, or
    • promotes and supports government policy objectives and priorities
  • record all offers of gifts, benefits or hospitality valued at $50 or more, whether accepted or not (this includes where several offers are made from one organisation and when combined are valued at $50 or more).

Guidance

Register all offers valued at $50 or more

All offers of gifts, benefits or hospitality valued at $50 or more must be registered (whether accepted or rejected) on the department's standard registration form, authorised and emailed to giftregister@justice.vic.gov.au.

Information about all offers will be consolidated on the department’s gift register.

A redacted register will be published on this website annually.

Offers that must be refused

Departmental officials are expected to refuse all offers of gifts, benefits and hospitality:

  • that could be reasonably perceived as undermining their or the department’s integrity and impartiality
  • from individuals or organisations about whom they are likely to make decisions, especially those involved in:
    • contract management
    • tender processes
    • procurement
    • enforcement
    • licensing
    • regulation
  • that are money or items easily converted to money such as gift vouchers, debit cards and shares
  • that are bribes, and report bribery attempts to the Secretary.

Providing gifts, benefits or hospitality

Department officials should ensure that any costs involved in the provision of gifts and hospitality are proportionate to the benefits obtained for the State, and would be considered reasonable in terms of community expectations.

The provision of gifts, benefits or hospitality should be allocated to one of the following finance line codes:

  • 86025 LightWorkLunch/Meeting/NonStaff EntertainmentNoFBT
  • 86026 Entertainment/Functions/Restaurant Meals FBT

 

Definitions

Gift A gift is an item of value which one person or organisation provides to another for no, or greatly reduced, cost. E.g. bottles of wine, commemorative plaques, pens, key-rings, mouse pads, books and tickets to events.
Benefit Benefits are preferential treatment, privileged access, favours and other advantage offered e.g. invitations to sporting, cultural or social events, access to discounts and loyalty programs, and promises of a new job.
Hospitality Hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of guests, ranging from light refreshment at a business meeting to restaurant meals and sponsored travel and accommodation.

Breaches

Actions inconsistent with this policy may constitute misconduct under the Public Administration Act 2004.

Non-disciplinary and disciplinary action, including dismissal, may be taken where an individual fails to adhere to this policy.

The Department will communicate its policy on the offering and provision of gifts, benefits and hospitality to contractors, consultants and other business associates. Those identified as acting inconsistently with this policy may be subject to contract re-negotiation, including termination.

Speak up

Individuals who consider that gifts, benefits and hospitality within the Department of Justice and Regulation may not have been declared or not been appropriately managed should speak up and notify their manager, or the Fraud Prevention Team by email at giftregister@justice.vic.gov.au.

The Department of Justice and Regulation will take decisive action, including possible disciplinary action, against individuals who discriminate against or victimise those who Speak Up in good faith.

Related policy and other documents

Public Administration Act 2004
Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees 2015
Code of Conduct for employees of special bodies 2015
Registration form
Gifts, benefits and hospitality framework
GBH guidelines:
    Minimum accountabilities
    Appropriate acceptance or rejection of GBH
    How to respectfully decline offers
    Appropriate provision of GBH to staff or stakeholders
Conflict of interest policy

Approval

This policy is issued under the authority of the Chief Risk and Audit Officer, and is subject to annual review (issue date: February 2017, review date: February 2018).

The contents of this document represent the current policy of the department and reflect its current practices and experience.

Contact

The following people may be contacted in relation to the matters arising under this policy:

 

Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander flags

The department acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.