VPSC recently updated its policy guide for managing gifts, benefits and hospitality. The guide sets minimum accountabilities for Victorian public officials and their employers, which are binding under the 2016 Standing Directions of the Minister for Finance.
The recent updates include:
Changes to accepting gifts
- Public officials may now accept ceremonial gifts on behalf of their organisation.
Changes to recording
- Public officials no longer need to record cumulative offers, although they still need to consider the potential conflicts of interest and reputational risks that may arise.
- Public officials no longer need to declare the official hospitality they are offered by public sector organisations, where their attendance is consistent with public sector functions, objectives and roles.
Changes to reporting
- Employers may now provide more generic information about the recipients and donors of declined offers.
- Employers may now publish role titles rather than individual names for accepted offers.
The updates come into effect 1 July 2018.
Public sector organisations are required to publish their gifts, benefits and hospitality policy on their website, as well as a register of all declarable gifts, benefits and hospitality.
VPSC has also updated its resources to help manage gifts, benefits and hospitality. The resources include a model policy and templates.