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Gifts and Hospitality Acceptance policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Policy is effective from 27 June 2019.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Policy outlines the requirements for staff who are offered gifts or hospitality in connection with their work or association with the University.

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Policy applies to all staff and associates of the University.

(4) This Policy does not apply to:

  1. donations, bequests, awards and grants received by the University. These are managed in accordance with the Gifts and Sponsorship policy
  2. the giving of gifts to external parties in connection to work or association with the University. These are managed in accordance with the Business Expenses policy.
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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Staff and associates must not use their position or association with the University to seek gifts or benefits from a third party.

(6) Gifts that are offered to staff, associates or family members as part of University business must not be accepted in the following circumstances:

  1. the gift is cash; or
  2. the acceptance of the gift places any obligation on the staff member or the University; or
  3. the gift is related to a procurement process with a potential supplier; or
  4. the gift may create or be perceived by a reasonable person to create a conflict of interest as defined in the Conflict of Interest procedure.

(7) Where none of the prohibitions in clauses 5 or 6 apply a gift may be accepted only on condition that the assessment, approval and registration requirements of this Policy are met.

(8) Staff and associates who are offered and/or have accepted a gift that is not consistent with the requirements of this Policy must inform their supervisor.

(9) Staff and associates who become aware of a non-compliance with this Policy must manage the non-compliance in accordance with the Compliance Management policy.

Assessment and approval required for acceptance of gifts

(10) Prior to accepting a gift, staff and associates must assess the financial value of the gift and ensure that appropriate approval requirements are met:

  1. gifts under $200 in value - this is classified as a nominal gift and a staff member or associate may accept it in accordance with the requirements of this Policy
  2. a gift valued over $200 but less than $500 - this is classified as a reportable gift and may be accepted only with the approval of the staff member's or associate's supervisor
  3. a gift valued at or over $500 - this is classified as a reportable gift and may only be accepted with the approval of the staff member’s or associate’s supervisor and a member of the Executive.

(11) Where the gift is being received by a member of the Executive, approval must be given by the Vice-Chancellor. Where the gift is being received by the Vice-Chancellor, another member of the Executive must approve the acceptance of the gift.

(12) A gift with a value at or over $500 that can be retained by the University such as an artwork becomes the property of the University.

(13) Where the value of a gift is not known, the staff member or associate must consult their supervisor. In such circumstances the value will be established based on what a reasonable person would consider the value of the gift.

(14) University staff are encouraged to attend and/or present at conferences directly to their area of academic or professional expertise. Any offer made by an external entity to cover the costs of participation (including accommodation, meals or flights) must be reasonable and proportionate, and is not required to be reported where this is the case.

Gifts of cultural significance

(15) Any gift which could be deemed to be sensitive to any culture (e.g. traditional costume, boomerang, musical instrument) must be reported to the Risk and Compliance Unit. An assessment will be made in consultation with the University Solicitor to ensure that any community/international customs and regulatory requirements are considered before accepting the gift.

(16) Any Aboriginal artefacts (including Aboriginal human remains, or burial clothing) donated to an individual or to the University, must be declared to the Director, Director, Institute for Koorie Education (IKE). The Director, Institute for Koorie Education (IKE) will determine whether these artefacts must be donated to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic) or can be accepted by the University.

Registration requirements for acceptance of gifts

(17) All gifts offered or accepted that are valued at $200 or greater must be registered by completing the Gift and Hospitality Registration Form and forwarding it to the Risk and Compliance Unit at riskandcompliance@deakin.edu.au.

(18) The Gift Register will be maintained by the Risk and Compliance Unit who will report to the Vice-Chancellor biannually with the list of gifts that have been reported and accepted.

(19) Staff and associates who fail to report or register a reportable gift received may be subject to disciplinary proceedings in accordance with the Staff Discipline policy.

Acceptance of gifts on behalf of a group or the University

(20) Where it is not appropriate for a gift to be received by an individual staff member or associate (for instance, a gift that is meant for a group or for the entire University) an individual may accept the gift on behalf of a group or the University. The same approval requirements exist as for any gift to an individual. For the purposes of assessing the value of gifts offered to, or accepted on behalf of, a group, it is the total value of the gift or series of gifts that should be assessed, not the value per staff member.

Exceptional circumstances

(21) In exceptional circumstances it may be impracticable for a staff member or associate to follow the normal assessment and approval process, for example when engaged on international visits or hosting an international visit.

(22) In these circumstances the assessment and approval steps must be completed as soon as practicable.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(23) There is no attendant procedure.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(24) For the purpose of this Policy:

  1. associate: contractors, consultants, volunteers, visiting appointees and visitors to the University.
  2. conflict of interest: a conflict of interest exists when a staff member or associate (or a family member or friend of a staff member or associate) allows their financial, professional or personal interest, including any duty owed to another entity, to come into actual, potential or perceived conflict with the staff member’s or associate's duties to the University. This includes but is not limited to a situation where the staff member, associate, family member or friend is in a position to benefit personally, directly or indirectly as a result of the conflict. Refer to the Conflict of Interest procedure.
  3. family member: includes immediate family (as defined in the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2017) and anyone else who is known to have been or is related to the staff member or associate.
  4. gift (or hospitality): a gift, hospitality or benefit under this Policy is something that has a monetary value or worth, or other advantage or privilege derived as a result of a business-related relationship connected with the University. Examples could include a dinner at a restaurant, tickets to attend a sporting or cultural event, gifts for a cultural holiday, a gift presented on reaching agreement with a supplier, etc.
  5. procurement process: any pricing or engagement process undertaken with a potential supplier for the provision of goods or services. For the purposes of this definition a potential supplier can be an existing supplier participating in the proposed pricing or engagement process.
  6. staff: a member of the Academic or Professional staff, Executive or honorary staff member.