Gifts, Donations and Hospitality to Third Parties Policy

Introduction

All members of the University need to be aware that this is a sensitive area where perception is very important. Compliance with this policy will assist members and the University to respond to charges of real or perceived undue influence on the giving of gifts and hospitality to third parties.

Application

This policy applies to all members of the University. All values contained in this policy are GST inclusive amounts.

Purpose

This policy provides direction to members of the University when giving gifts and hospitality or making donations to third parties. It aims to assist members in avoiding any perception of impairment of their objectivity or impartiality.

The giving of koha is covered by the Donations and Koha Policy.

Policy

1. The act of giving a gift, donation or providing hospitality, to a third party, by nature, is sensitive expenditure and subject to a high level of public scrutiny. This should be kept at the forefront when giving of this nature, to a third party.

2. All donations, gifts and hospitality with a value over $100 must be recorded on the Gifts Register.

3. Expenditure must be within the amount budgeted for by the department.

4. All purchases are to be made in accordance with the University's usual procurement and purchasing policies and procedures.

5. Any deliberate or material breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action, possibly including termination of employment, being taken.

Hospitality

6. Hospitality provided to third parties can only be funded by the University if:

  • there is a clear business purpose, and
  • it is reasonable and appropriate in light of the circumstances, and
  • if it is approved on a one over one basis by a staff member that has not benefited from the hospitality

7. The University reserves the right to decline reimbursement of hospitality costs which it deems to be non-compliant.

8. For all hospitality to third parties paid for by the University, the most senior member of the University in attendance is to pay by expense card or claim a reimbursement.

9. Hospitality costs must be justified on the claimant's expense reimbursement report or expense card reconciliation report.

Gifts and donations

10. Expenditure on gifts and donations must be for a justifiable business purpose of the University, and the cost must be appropriate in the circumstances.

11. The University can give gifts or make a donation where the purpose is consistent with the business purpose of the University, or in the case of koha, when the practice is customary ( refer to the Koha Policy)

12. Donations and gifts must be made voluntarily without expecting reciprocation.

Approvals

13. Gifts must be approved prior to the expenditure being incurred as follows:

  • Individual gifts or donations up to $100 may be given without prior approval, but should be reported on a one over one basis.
  • Individual gifts or donations with a value between $101 and $500 must have written approval from a manager at Level 3 (or higher) of the University Organisational Structure (UOS) provided that the one-over-one principle is applied
  • Individual gifts or donations over $500 must have written approval from the relevant UEC member

Note: Members who do not obtain approval prior to incurring the expenditure will be expected to bear the cost themselves.

14. These limits are for the total cost of the gift or donation. It is not acceptable for gift transactions to be structured in such a way as to attempt to avoid the financial limits set out in this policy.

Note: This includes splitting purchases over more than one purchase order, or multiple invoices for a purchase.

15. Gifts or donations must not be in the form of cash (except where given as koha) and may not be exchanged by the recipient for cash under any circumstances.

16. Donations must be only be made to a recognised organisation by normal commercial means and not to individuals.

17. All gifts or donations must conform with regulations issued by the Inland Revenue department. No payment must be made as koha (tax free) when the actual circumstances surrounding the payment carry an obligation to pay tax.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Business purpose includes business discussion, fostering a business relationship, enhancing the reputation of the University (e.g. with donors and other stakeholders) or in furtherance of the University’s goals.

Donation means a payment made voluntarily and without expecting reciprocity. Koha are a form of donation (see separate policy).

Gift means a reward, gratuity or other consideration beyond remuneration and reimbursement. It may take the form of a tangible object or a benefit, for example, free use of a corporate box at a sporting event or privileged access to goods or services. (Scholarships and Prizes awarded to members by the University are excluded from this definition).

Gifts register is an online register of gifts received and given by and to University members and can be accessed here: Gifts Register.

Hospitality means catering and entertainment offered to third parties such as customers, donors and official University guests/visitors.

Justified means the following details must be recorded on the expense report in order to show that the expense is valid and reasonable:

  • the name of attendees and business relationship
  • the organisation of the third party being entertained
  • a brief explanation of the nature of the discussion

Line manager is the manager that the member reports to who approves the appropriateness of the transaction.

Members means those persons who make up the University as set out in section 3(2) of The University of Auckland Act 1961 and includes University employees, students, Council committee members, contractors, sub-contractors and invitees.

One over one means a line manager can only approve expenses of their direct reports as per the organisational chart maintained by Human Resources. They cannot approve their own transactions or those of the person that they report to. Nor can they approve expenses of a member at the same level or higher in the organisational chart.

Third party means anyone who is not defined as a member.

University means the University of Auckland including all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Chief Financial Officer
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: December 2021
Review date: December 2024