Gift Acceptance Policy
Responsibility for policy: Chief Financial Officer
Approving authority: Vice-Chancellor
Last reviewed: June 2017
Next review date: June 2022
- This policy applies to all staff of the University of Waikato.
- The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to staff as to proper behaviour with respect to the acceptance of gifts offered or presented to them in the course of University business and the avoidance of the perception of impaired objectivity or undue influence.
- For the removal of doubt, this policy does not apply to:
- gifts presented to University staff by the University in recognition of significant personal events, such as retirement
- University of Waikato Staff Awards
- The Fundraising and Philanthropy Acceptance Policy [to be linked] applies to fundraising undertaken on behalf of the University and philanthropic gifts, bequests and grants accepted on behalf of the University.
- The following documents set out further information relevant to this policy:
- Art Collection Policy
- Financial Authority Policy
- Financial Ethics Policy
- Fraud and Corruption Policy
- Fundraising and Philanthropy Acceptance Policy [to be linked]
- Interests (Conflicts of Interest) Policy
- Procurement Policy
- Protected Disclosures Policy
- Staff Code of Conduct
- In this policy:
gift means a reward, gratuity, benefit or other consideration beyond remuneration and reimbursement, whether solicited or unsolicited, either in the form of a tangible object (e.g. money, vouchers, shares, property, art, cultural artefacts, prizes, goods or services) or an intangible benefit (e.g. hospitality, privileged access or preferential treatment) which would not ordinarily be a legitimate expectation associated with a staff member's employment with the University. A gift may be monetary (i.e. cash or funds readily convertible to cash) or non-monetary (i.e. an item of intrinsic value).
- Staff members, in their capacity as staff of the University of Waikato, must not accept cash as a gift from any external party under any circumstances.
- A gift received by a staff member in their capacity as a staff member of the University of Waikato from any external party is the property of the University.
- Staff members must not solicit or accept any gift (whatever its nature or value) from any external party if the gift:
- might influence their business decisions on behalf of the University
- might compromise their integrity or the integrity of the University
- might be seen by others as either an inducement or a reward which might put the staff member under an obligation to a third party.
- A staff member, regardless of his or her level of authority in relation to financial management, must not solicit or accept any gift from any party with whom they hold a pecuniary interest without first declaring the interest to the Chief Financial Officer and obtaining his or her approval to proceed; any conflict of interest declared under this clause must be recorded in the Interest Register maintained by the Chief Financial Officer.
- In accordance with the Procurement Policy, staff members who are involved either directly or indirectly in purchasing, approving purchasing, or a tender process must not accept a gift of any type from a supplier (or potential supplier) of goods or services where those goods or services are the same as, or similar to, goods or services that are currently the subject of the purchase or tender process.
- A staff member who is offered a gift which would not ordinarily be a legitimate expectation associated with the staff member's employment with the University, must disclose the details of the offer to his or her line manager; the relevant line manager has authority to determine whether the gift may be accepted and if so, whether it may be retained by the staff member who received it or must be shared with other relevant staff; a gift accepted by a staff member while travelling on University business must be declared to the staff member’s line manager on their return.
- The following factors must be considered by the line manager in determining whether or not a gift may be accepted:
- the monetary value of the gift
- whether the gift might be converted into cash
- whether the gift is a gift-in-kind (i.e. a service) that the University would otherwise have needed to pay the value of
- how the gift would look to an outside party (e.g. the media, government, competing suppliers, the wider public)
- the reasons for the gift being offered
- the frequency of the gift; one-off or regularly
- whether the gift displays a company or organisational logo that might constitute advertising
- the value or importance of the gift to the staff member.
- Prizes or awards granted by professional organisations to a staff member may be accepted by the relevant staff member without the prior approval of their line manager, and are not required to be recorded in the University Gift Register.
- The acceptance of any gift of artwork for the University’s art collection is subject to the prior approval of the Vice-Chancellor in accordance with the Art Collection Policy.
- With the exception of prizes or awards granted in accordance with clause 14 of this policy, where the value of a gift accepted from an external party is estimated by the relevant line manager to exceed $100 the details of the gift must be recorded by the recipient in the University Gift Register; where several gifts have been accepted from the same external party by several staff members at one time, they must be treated as one gift and the collective value calculated and recorded accordingly.
- Where a decision has been made to either accept or decline a non-monetary gift, the intended recipient must ensure that the provider is appropriately informed and acknowledged.
- The acceptance of a gift must not result in preferential treatment being given to a person or organisation in any way.
- Any person who believes that this policy has been breached is encouraged to advise the Chief Financial Officer, who will investigate the matter; alternatively, the complainant may follow the procedures set out in the Fraud and Corruption Policy or Protected Disclosures Policy.
Responsibility for monitoring compliance
- The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for conducting regular audits of the University Gift Register.
- The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy and for reporting any breaches to the Vice-Chancellor.
- Breaches of this policy may result in disciplinary action under the Staff Code of Conduct.