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Hiring Government and Competitor employees

We must never use the knowledge of those we employ to an unfair competitive advantage.

When employees come to work for us directly from the governments we work with or from clients or competitors, they may well have in-depth understanding and knowledge of their previous employer's strategy, business operations, practices and systems.  We should never turn this into an unfair competitive advantage. Whether it's ours or someone else's, confidential information should always stay confidential

Always be sure that in any bid, proposal or contract there is no danger that anyone on the team could be accused of giving Serco an unfair advantage or of disclosing confidential information about a former employer.

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What you can expect from us:

Employing Former Government Officials

  • We have many government contracts and we must comply with all rules that regulate these relationships. This includes ensuring we understand and comply with what are often very strict rules about the hiring of former government officials, especially those who have been in senior or sensitive positions.
  • In some countries these can include one-year, two-year or even permanent bans on communicating with, or appearing before, their former government colleagues.
  • We will comply with the rules of each country we are working in.

Employing Former Employees of Competitors

There are fewer formal guidelines for employees who come to work for Serco from a competitor. However, no former employee should disclose, or ever be asked to disclose, confidential information from or about their former employer.

We expect you to:

  • Comply with any rules made by your former employer about what you can and can not do or disclose when coming to work at Serco.
  • Never coerce a former employee to disclose any confidential information about their previous employer.
  • Never divulge any confidential information to us about your previous employer.
  • Always declare any conflict of interest and ask if you are not sure about what activities you can or can not undertake, or what information you can or can not disclose.

I’ve just joined Serco from a former competitor. I am supporting a bid and know my knowledge can help us win. What can I say? Anything?

No, nothing at all

Wrong. Please try again.

I’d need to check first

Right answer because:

When employees come to work for us directly from the Governments we work with, or from clients or competitors, they may well have in depth understanding and knowledge of their previous employer's strategy, business operations, practices and systems. We should never turn this into an unfair competitive advantage.

There are usually very strict regulations about what former Government employees who now work with us can and cannot do. We must understand these and comply with them.

However, when we employ former employees of competitors there are fewer formal guidelines. No former employee should disclose, or ever be asked to disclose, confidential information from or about their former employer. And they should always comply with any rules made by their former employer about what they can and cannot do or disclose when coming to work at Serco.

In this case, our Code specifically says,

“Always be sure that in any bid, proposal or contract there is no danger that anyone on the team could be accused of giving Serco an unfair advantage or of disclosing confidential information about a former employer.”

It also requires you to always ask if you are not sure what activities you can or cannot undertake, or what information you can or cannot disclose.

So long as it’s not confidential information, I can tell you everything I know

Wrong. Please try again.

We’re bidding for a Government contract. I know a colleague who was a former Government employee and has just joined us in a different team. Is there anything I can ask them?

Yes, so long as it’s “off the record”

Wrong. Please try again.

No, she can’t tell us anything

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, but we need to understand exactly what she can and cannot say

Right answer because:

We have many Government contracts and we must comply with all rules that regulate these relationships. This includes ensuring we understand and comply with what are often very strict rules about the hiring of former Government officials, especially those who have been in senior or sensitive positions.

In some countries these can include one-year, two-year or even permanent bans on communicating with, or appearing before, their former Government colleagues. We always comply strictly with all the rules of each country we are working in.

To maintain our customer’s trust in us, it is also imperative when we employ former Government employees, or former employees of competitors, that we do not ask them to disclose confidential information, and take every care to understand any rules made by their former employer.

That’s why our Code requires us to always ask if we’re not sure what activities can or cannot be undertaken, or what information can or cannot be disclosed by former government employees who come to work at Serco.

We should never turn what our employees know about their former employers into an unfair competitive advantage.

I have an important meeting with a Government department to discuss contract performance. I now can’t go and the only person available is a new colleague who used to work for the department.  What should I do?

Ask if it’s okay for them to take your place

Wrong. Please try again.

Check, and if necessary reschedule the meeting and explain why

Right answer because:

We have many Government contracts and we must comply with all rules that regulate these relationships. This includes ensuring we understand and comply with what are often very strict rules about the hiring of former Government officials, especially those who have been in senior or sensitive positions.

In some countries these can include one-year, two-year or even permanent bans on communicating with, or appearing before, their former Government colleagues.

In this situation, it’s possible that the terms of his employment with us don’t prohibit this colleague’s attendance. But we must always check, and if the terms say a particular employee cannot attend, we must show that we are complying with all Government regulations.

So it would be entirely wrong to ask if it’s okay for this colleague to attend if the terms of his employment prohibit this.

If he is not allowed to attend such a meeting, it’s no one’s fault, and we can demonstrate our compliance by explaining the situation and rescheduling.

Say no one can go, but don’t say why

Wrong. Please try again.

A colleague, who recently joined from a competitor, has complained to me that our manager is pressurising him for details on how they used to price and resource bids. What should I do?

Explain our Code to him and tell him he can’t give any details

Wrong. Please try again.

Tell him he should report this

Wrong. Please try again.

Tell him you must report this, and as a Serco employee he must do the same

Right answer because:

When coming to work for Serco, no former employee should disclose, or ever be asked to disclose, confidential information from or about their former employer.

Our Code makes three specific points clear on this:

“Comply with any rules made by your former employer about what you can and cannot do or disclose when coming to work at Serco.”

“Never coerce a former employee to disclose any confidential information about their previous employer.”

“Never divulge any confidential information to us about your previous employer.”

This manager is directly violating our Code. So it is your duty to report him, and it is also this colleague’s duty.

We should never turn what our employees know about their former employers into an unfair competitive advantage.

Dilemma 1

I’ve just joined Serco from a former competitor. I am supporting a bid and know my knowledge can help us win. What can I say? Anything?

No, nothing at all

Wrong. Please try again.

I’d need to check first

Right answer because:

When employees come to work for us directly from the Governments we work with, or from clients or competitors, they may well have in depth understanding and knowledge of their previous employer's strategy, business operations, practices and systems. We should never turn this into an unfair competitive advantage.

There are usually very strict regulations about what former Government employees who now work with us can and cannot do. We must understand these and comply with them.

However, when we employ former employees of competitors there are fewer formal guidelines. No former employee should disclose, or ever be asked to disclose, confidential information from or about their former employer. And they should always comply with any rules made by their former employer about what they can and cannot do or disclose when coming to work at Serco.

In this case, our Code specifically says,

“Always be sure that in any bid, proposal or contract there is no danger that anyone on the team could be accused of giving Serco an unfair advantage or of disclosing confidential information about a former employer.”

It also requires you to always ask if you are not sure what activities you can or cannot undertake, or what information you can or cannot disclose.

So long as it’s not confidential information, I can tell you everything I know

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 2

We’re bidding for a Government contract. I know a colleague who was a former Government employee and has just joined us in a different team. Is there anything I can ask them?

Yes, so long as it’s “off the record”

Wrong. Please try again.

No, she can’t tell us anything

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, but we need to understand exactly what she can and cannot say

Right answer because:

We have many Government contracts and we must comply with all rules that regulate these relationships. This includes ensuring we understand and comply with what are often very strict rules about the hiring of former Government officials, especially those who have been in senior or sensitive positions.

In some countries these can include one-year, two-year or even permanent bans on communicating with, or appearing before, their former Government colleagues. We always comply strictly with all the rules of each country we are working in.

To maintain our customer’s trust in us, it is also imperative when we employ former Government employees, or former employees of competitors, that we do not ask them to disclose confidential information, and take every care to understand any rules made by their former employer.

That’s why our Code requires us to always ask if we’re not sure what activities can or cannot be undertaken, or what information can or cannot be disclosed by former government employees who come to work at Serco.

We should never turn what our employees know about their former employers into an unfair competitive advantage.

Dilemma 3

I have an important meeting with a Government department to discuss contract performance. I now can’t go and the only person available is a new colleague who used to work for the department.  What should I do?

Ask if it’s okay for them to take your place

Wrong. Please try again.

Check, and if necessary reschedule the meeting and explain why

Right answer because:

We have many Government contracts and we must comply with all rules that regulate these relationships. This includes ensuring we understand and comply with what are often very strict rules about the hiring of former Government officials, especially those who have been in senior or sensitive positions.

In some countries these can include one-year, two-year or even permanent bans on communicating with, or appearing before, their former Government colleagues.

In this situation, it’s possible that the terms of his employment with us don’t prohibit this colleague’s attendance. But we must always check, and if the terms say a particular employee cannot attend, we must show that we are complying with all Government regulations.

So it would be entirely wrong to ask if it’s okay for this colleague to attend if the terms of his employment prohibit this.

If he is not allowed to attend such a meeting, it’s no one’s fault, and we can demonstrate our compliance by explaining the situation and rescheduling.

Say no one can go, but don’t say why

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 4

A colleague, who recently joined from a competitor, has complained to me that our manager is pressurising him for details on how they used to price and resource bids. What should I do?

Explain our Code to him and tell him he can’t give any details

Wrong. Please try again.

Tell him he should report this

Wrong. Please try again.

Tell him you must report this, and as a Serco employee he must do the same

Right answer because:

When coming to work for Serco, no former employee should disclose, or ever be asked to disclose, confidential information from or about their former employer.

Our Code makes three specific points clear on this:

“Comply with any rules made by your former employer about what you can and cannot do or disclose when coming to work at Serco.”

“Never coerce a former employee to disclose any confidential information about their previous employer.”

“Never divulge any confidential information to us about your previous employer.”

This manager is directly violating our Code. So it is your duty to report him, and it is also this colleague’s duty.

We should never turn what our employees know about their former employers into an unfair competitive advantage.