As public officials, how we respond to offers of gifts, benefits and hospitality is critical to earning and sustaining the trust of those we serve.
To improve how we manage gifts, benefits and hospitality across the sector, VPSC has updated the policy framework which sets guidelines on giving and receiving gifts, benefits and hospitality at work.
Gifts, benefits and hospitality policy framework
The policy framework includes, in particular, minimum accountabilities for the management of gifts, benefits and hospitality. These minimum accountabilities are binding under the Instructions supporting the Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance 2016.
The policy framework also includes guidance for:
- Victorian public bodies on managing gifts, benefits and hospitality; and
- public officials (including public sector employees, statutory office holders and directors of public entities) on giving and receiving gifts, benefits and hospitality.
New tools, including a model policy, have been developed to assist organisations and officials manage gifts, benefits and hospitality. This includes a customisable policy document, and templates for a declaration form and register.
Conflicts of interest
The Victorian community trusts that public sector employees will perform their duties impartially and with integrity. Accepting gifts could give rise to the impression that an employee will favour a particular person or organisation when making decisions or taking action.
Appropriately managing gifts, benefits and hospitality ensures that public officials avoid such conflicts of interest, whether actual or perceived. VPSC has developed tools and guidance materials on managing conflicts of interest.
Codes of conduct
The codes of conduct require public officials to demonstrate impartiality when they are offered gifts, benefits or hospitality, and to demonstrate accountability when providing hospitality.