Ministers' Office Handbook
This policy explains what Office Holder staff need to do in relation to gifts or benefits that are offered to them in the context of their role or work.]
Each staff member has a personal responsibility for ensuring that any gifts or benefits they accept do not give rise to any actual or perceived conflict of interest or other ethical concerns.
It is important that staff engage in a considered and deliberate process of assessment regarding conflicts of interest and seek advice from the Office Holder where they have doubts.
What is a Gift, Hospitality or Benefit?
A gift, hospitality or benefit means:
- any item, service, prize, meal, ticket, hospitality or travel,
- provided by any stakeholder, customer, applicant, supplier, potential supplier or other person or organisation,
- which has an intrinsic value and/or a value to the recipient, a member of their family, relation, friend or associate, and
- which is offered or received in the context of a staff member’s role or work.
If a staff member is required by their role to accompany their Office Holder at an event that the Office Holder is attending as the State’s representative, or where the Office Holder has asked the staff member to attend, then attendance at that event would not constitute a gift or benefit for the purposes of this policy, even if the event is a ticketed event and even if the Minister and accompanying staff are attending as guests of the event organiser.
What Gifts or Benefits should not be accepted?
Staff must NEVER:
- Solicit a gift or benefit
- Accept cash, cheques, money orders, gift vouchers or other similar gifts
- Claim or accept personal frequent flyer points or other loyalty points or bonuses for official travel, accommodation or other public expenditure
- Accept a gift or benefit where the giver expects favours in return
- Accept a gift or benefit as an inducement to act in a certain way, or where it could be perceived as an inducement
- Accept a gift or benefit where it is to be provided solely to a family member, relation, friend or associate
- Accept a gift or benefit where to do so could otherwise give rise to, or be perceived to give rise to, a conflict of interest.
Gifts, Hospitality or Benefits are Nominal or Reportable
A gift, hospitality or benefit that is offered to a staff member is nominal when:
- It totals $150 or less from the same source (individual or organisation) in the last 12 months.
All nominal gifts should be disclosed to the Office Holder. A gift that is offered to a staff member is reportable when:
- It exceeds the nominal value from the same source (individual or organisation) in the last 12 months.
Where gifts, hospitality or benefits exceed the nominal value of $150, a written disclosure must be made and provided to the Office Holder.
All written disclosures will be kept on the Office Holder’s Register of Gifts and Benefits.
High-value gifts should not generally be accepted.
However, in some cases declining a gift might not be practicable or the high value of the gift might not immediately be known – for example, if the gift is from a visiting foreign delegation.
In such circumstances, staff should consult with their manager and consider relinquishing the gift to the State (which may, for example, donate it to charity or put it on display in a public building).
Reporting attempted bribery and other corrupt conduct
If a staff member is offered any gift, hospitality or benefit in circumstances where it appears that the gift or benefit is an inducement to act in a certain way, or where it could be perceived as an inducement, the staff member must report the matter to the Office Holder immediately and the appropriate authorities.
Consequences of non-Compliance with this Policy
Sanctions for breach of this policy may include (without limitation and in no order of precedence) counselling, cautions or warnings, suspension with or without pay, or dismissal.
A breach of this policy may also be a breach of Office Holder’s Staff Code of Conduct and therefore constitute a disciplinary offence for the purposes of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
The Office Holder also means their delegate.
DISCLOSURE OF GIFTS, HOSPITALITY AND BENEFITS
FOR THE OFFICE HOLDER’S REGISTER OF GIFTS AND BENEFITS
Political office holder and portfolio
Disclosure of Gifts, Hospitality or Benefits
In accordance with the Gifts, Hospitality and Benefits Policy for Office Holder Staff, office holder staff must disclose gifts, hospitality or benefits exceeding the total nominal value of $150 from the same source (individual or organisation) in the last 12 months.
Where gifts, hospitality or benefits exceed the total nominal value of $150 from the same source (individual or organisation) in the last 12 months, office holder staff must make a written disclosure and provide it to the Office Holder.
I disclose the following gifts, hospitality or benefits exceeding the total nominal value of $150 from the same source (individual or organisation) in the last 12 months:
Gift accepted? Yes No
Gift retained? Yes No
I disclose the receipt of the following high-value gift and record the actions taken regarding this gift:
Gift accepted? Yes No
Gift retained? Yes No
Employee signature, date