Gifts and Hospitality from Third Parties Policy

Introduction

Members of the University may from time to time be offered gifts or hospitality from third parties such as current or potential suppliers and service providers.

Members 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 acceptance of gifts and hospitality.

Note - All values contained in this policy are GST inclusive amounts.

Application

This policy applies to all University members.

Note - This policy does not apply to the receipt of gifts by the University (for example endowment or scholarship given to the University).

Purpose

This policy provides direction for the acceptance of gifts in relation to a member’s affiliation with the University. It aims to assist members to avoid any perception of impairment of their objectivity or impartiality.

Policy

1. The act of receiving a gift, by nature, is sensitive expenditure and subject to a high level of public scrutiny. This must be kept at the forefront when receiving gifts and/or hospitality from a third party.

2. Members must not solicit any gift or hospitality from any person or organisation.

3. Members must not accept any gift or hospitality unless they have prior approval. (See clause 9 of this policy).

4. The receipt of unsolicited gifts or hospitality must not result in preferential treatment being given to a person or organisation in any way.

5. Members must avoid any situation that could directly or indirectly compromise or influence the performance of their duties.

6. Members must not accept any gift or hospitality:

  • which could reasonably be seen by others as compromising or influencing them (directly or indirectly) in any decision they may make on behalf of the University. For example, staff must not accept gifts which could be perceived as an inducement to purchase
  • which creates or appears to create a favoured position for another person or organisation who either is, or potentially is, a supplier to the University
  • which could reasonably be seen by others as compromising the standing of the University
  • which could reasonably be seen by others as either an inducement or a reward which might place the member under an obligation to a third party
  • from a party engaged in a Tender process with the University.

7. Gifts of money, equity holdings, securities or other payments are not to be accepted under any circumstances.

8. Staff members at University Organisation Level 3 or above have discretion to determine that a gift received by a staff member in the course of employment is a gift to the University and to be used for a University purpose.

9. All gifts offered (including those not accepted) with a value over $100 must be recorded on the Gifts Register.

10. For the avoidance of doubt, where a member attends a conference and presents a paper or chairs a session, and is being offered free travel and/or accommodation, this will not be regarded as a gift for the purposes of this policy. However, where a member is given an all-expenses (or substantially) paid attendance at a conference but has no significant role in the conference, this would be considered a gift and must be recorded on the Gifts Register.

Approval of gifts

11. Acceptance of gifts must be approved prior to being accepted as follows:

  • Individual gifts up to $100 may be accepted without prior approval, but should be reported on a one over one basis.
  • Individual gifts 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 over $500 must have written approval from the relevant UEC member
    Procurement

12. Members performing procurement and tendering functions must not accept gifts of any kind while engaged in those functions, unless it takes the form of an invitation to attend a supplier or industry conference, seminar or trade show, where the hospitality element is incidental to the event and relevant business information is expected to be gained through their attendance, or where a site visit is part of a formal procurement process and managed with the input and oversight of a member of the procurement team.

13. Members having significant advisory input into procurement and tendering decisions where they have provided or are likely to provide advice, must not accept gifts or hospitality while actually engaged in these functions from any potential or actual respondent to the procurement or tendering function.

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Gift means a reward, gratuity or other consideration beyond remuneration and reimbursement. It may take the form of a tangible object but might also be in the form of 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 as are charitable gifts and sponsorships provided to the University itself).

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

Gratuity is a gift or reward, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.

Hospitality means gifts, catering or entertainment offered to University members by third parties.

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 is the principle that an approving 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.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Chief Financial Officer
Content manager: Head of Financial Operations
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: December 2021
Review date: December 2024