The long term business relationships we depend on are based on trust and respect.
Exchanging gifts and hospitality can build goodwill, but we should not give or accept them if they risk even appearing to create improper influence. This requires care and good judgement.
Gifts and Hospitality - mean anything of value that you give or accept, either directly or in kind. Any gift or hospitality you accept from someone should be something that you would be able to give them as a proper and appropriate business expense. "Proper and appropriate" is what matters. For instance, if an existing supplier invites you to share a box at a football match, you should record this, but it may be appropriate. However, if a prospective supplier hoping to get a contract from you does the same, that is not appropriate.
Additionally, local rules may also limit the value of gifts or hospitality you can accept.
Unacceptable Gifts - There are some types of gifts that are never acceptable. These include cash, securities, and personal cheques or payments to or for the benefit of individuals.
Use your judgement. If in doubt: always check it and record it.
To make sure you always make the right judgement, ask yourself:
- Why is this being offered? Is it appropriate? Does it violate any laws, regulations or Serco policy?
- What's the background? Does the person making this offer feel obliged to make it? Is something expected in return? Might the intended recipient feel under undue obligation?
- Is it really an integral and logical part of the business relationship? What could be the outcome for Serco or the person receiving it if the offer is accepted or declined? Would it be easy to justify its acceptance to the public?
- Is there any involvement with government officials (including employees at state owned or controlled companies and members of government sponsored institutions)?
For advice on whether it's appropriate: check out our SayNo Toolkit and App.