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Political activity

We respect the authority of governments and maintain honest relationships with them, their agencies, officials and staff.

We contribute to public debates about policies that affect our business. However, we are always impartial about party politics.  You must take care that your actions do not compromise our impartiality.

You should seek approval from your support office before contacting politicians or those with political influence. Similar care is needed if you are going to attend a political party's event for briefing purposes.

Unless you are authorised to speak on our behalf, you should make it clear that your opinions or views do not represent Serco's position.  Take care too if you are involved in any external events where you are asked to speak.

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For more information download:

Business Conduct and Ethics Group Standard

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What you can expect from us:

Political Activity

  • We always remain impartial in our dealings with political parties and never try to influence government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means. However, we may choose to contribute to the public debate on policy issues that directly affect Serco.

  • Any employee who lobbies on our behalf or represents us in government and regulatory matters must be authorised to do so. They must also comply with all the relevant laws and regulations about how companies should participate in public affairs.

  • While we often work with trade and industry associations, we reserve the right to make our own representations where necessary.

Lobbying

  • In some countries special laws and procedures govern the way lobbyists and consultants must behave. It's really important to know these and make sure we follow them.

Political Donations

  • We do not contribute to any political party, politician or candidate for public office, or try to raise funds for them.

  • There's one exception: where we have a legitimate voluntary Political Action Committee (PAC) or similar voluntary contribution scheme. In this case, employees can freely contribute donations, but there are very strict conditions, and these sorts of schemes are only allowed in some countries.

  • Although it is in the Company's name, the scheme must be run independently, and the Company must not have any influence on its management. If properly formed and governed, the Divisional CEO can then authorise it, and permit appropriate political contributions to be made, so long as these are strictly in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.

We expect you to:

  • Freely hold and express your own political point of view, so long as it is legal and doesn't lead to a conflict of interest.
  • Freely engage in political activities, including standing for election to public office, if you choose to do so and it is your legal right. However we do have to remain apolitical as a company, so your participation will be entirely on your own behalf. Your political opinions will not represent Serco's position. And we won't reimburse you for any costs associated with your political activity.
  • Never incur an expense on behalf of Serco, or use any of its assets, resources or accounts to make a contribution to a political party, politician or candidate for public office.

A politician has asked us for a contribution to a local charity he is president of. The charity is non-political and supports the local community. Is this okay?

Yes, the charity is non-political so it’s okay

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, but we must check

Right answer because:

We make it clear that when it comes to political donations we do not contribute to any political party, politician or candidate for public office, or try to raise funds for them.

(There’s one exception: where we have a legitimate voluntary Political Action Committee (PAC) or similar voluntary contribution scheme. See our Code for more details).

The reason is that we must always remain impartial in our dealings with political parties and never try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means. 

In this case, the charity in question is non-political and supports the local community. However, this politician is president. By supporting it, we could be seen to be trying to influence this politician in a quid pro quo arrangement.

Even if we were not trying to do this, any such interpretation could be extremely damaging to us.

So it’s probably best not to contribute here. However, if it is a charity that we really do want to support, you should check with your support or legal office to see if we are able to do this. By being honest and transparent up front, it could be possible.

You must take care that your actions do not compromise our impartiality.

No, he’s a politician and we can’t be seen to be trying to influence him

Wrong. Please try again.

I’ve been asked to join a panel on a popular local radio show to discuss an issue important to our business. On the panel are two local politicians. Should I agree?

Probably, but we need to check

Right answer because:

We always remain in partial in our dealings with political parties and never try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means.

However we may choose to contribute to the public debate on policy issues that directly affect Serco. That’s fine.

So in this case, it’s absolutely fine to appear and give our views.

What we must never do is to try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means.  And we must take great care that our actions can’t be interpreted in that way.

However - If we do agree to appear on this show, it’s important that whoever represents us is authorised to speak on our behalf.

No, we can’t get involved in politics

Wrong. Please try again.

Probably not, unless we’re disagreeing with the politicians

Wrong. Please try again.

I have just joined a political party and want to make an online donation. Can I do it using any of our systems?

Yes, if I’m doing it in my name with my money, of course

Wrong. Please try again.

I’d need to ask permission first

Wrong. Please try again.

No, I can’t

Right answer because:

Our Code is very specific about this. It says,

“Never incur an expense on behalf of Serco, or use any of its assets, resources or accounts to make a contribution to a political party, politician or candidate for public office.”

We must always remain impartial in our dealings with political parties, and we cannot be seen to be supporting a political donation. If you use our systems to make your donation, that just what we could be seen as doing.

We also need to ensure that your own political views are never mistaken as ours.

However, this is in no way intended to impose any limits on your freedom to hold and express your own political view. It is your right to do this, so long as it’s legal and doesn’t lead to a conflict of interest.

I agreed to speak at a public meeting to share my political views. When I got there I discovered the programme notes describe me as a Serco employee. What should I do?

Walk out of the meeting

Wrong. Please try again.

Clarify that I am speaking on my behalf, not on Serco’s

Right answer because:

We expect you to freely engage in political activities, including standing for election to public office, if you choose to do so and it is your legal right. Of course your participation will be entirely on your own behalf, and your political opinions will not represent Serco’s position.

However, you must take care that your actions do not compromise our impartiality.That’s why we ask you to take care if you are involved in any external events where you are asked to speak.

In this particular case, while you are entirely free to speak at this meeting and express your views, before you speak you should make it absolutely clear that although the notes describe you as a Serco employee, you are not speaking on our behalf, and your views do not represent ours.

Nothing. I have a right to express my views

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 1

A politician has asked us for a contribution to a local charity he is president of. The charity is non-political and supports the local community. Is this okay?

Yes, the charity is non-political so it’s okay

Wrong. Please try again.

Possibly, but we must check

Right answer because:

We make it clear that when it comes to political donations we do not contribute to any political party, politician or candidate for public office, or try to raise funds for them.

(There’s one exception: where we have a legitimate voluntary Political Action Committee (PAC) or similar voluntary contribution scheme. See our Code for more details).

The reason is that we must always remain impartial in our dealings with political parties and never try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means. 

In this case, the charity in question is non-political and supports the local community. However, this politician is president. By supporting it, we could be seen to be trying to influence this politician in a quid pro quo arrangement.

Even if we were not trying to do this, any such interpretation could be extremely damaging to us.

So it’s probably best not to contribute here. However, if it is a charity that we really do want to support, you should check with your support or legal office to see if we are able to do this. By being honest and transparent up front, it could be possible.

You must take care that your actions do not compromise our impartiality.

No, he’s a politician and we can’t be seen to be trying to influence him

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 2

I’ve been asked to join a panel on a popular local radio show to discuss an issue important to our business. On the panel are two local politicians. Should I agree?

Probably, but we need to check

Right answer because:

We always remain in partial in our dealings with political parties and never try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means.

However we may choose to contribute to the public debate on policy issues that directly affect Serco. That’s fine.

So in this case, it’s absolutely fine to appear and give our views.

What we must never do is to try to influence Government decisions through illegal, dishonest or corrupt means.  And we must take great care that our actions can’t be interpreted in that way.

However - If we do agree to appear on this show, it’s important that whoever represents us is authorised to speak on our behalf.

No, we can’t get involved in politics

Wrong. Please try again.

Probably not, unless we’re disagreeing with the politicians

Wrong. Please try again.

Dilemma 3

I have just joined a political party and want to make an online donation. Can I do it using any of our systems?

Yes, if I’m doing it in my name with my money, of course

Wrong. Please try again.

I’d need to ask permission first

Wrong. Please try again.

No, I can’t

Right answer because:

Our Code is very specific about this. It says,

“Never incur an expense on behalf of Serco, or use any of its assets, resources or accounts to make a contribution to a political party, politician or candidate for public office.”

We must always remain impartial in our dealings with political parties, and we cannot be seen to be supporting a political donation. If you use our systems to make your donation, that just what we could be seen as doing.

We also need to ensure that your own political views are never mistaken as ours.

However, this is in no way intended to impose any limits on your freedom to hold and express your own political view. It is your right to do this, so long as it’s legal and doesn’t lead to a conflict of interest.

Dilemma 4

I agreed to speak at a public meeting to share my political views. When I got there I discovered the programme notes describe me as a Serco employee. What should I do?

Walk out of the meeting

Wrong. Please try again.

Clarify that I am speaking on my behalf, not on Serco’s

Right answer because:

We expect you to freely engage in political activities, including standing for election to public office, if you choose to do so and it is your legal right. Of course your participation will be entirely on your own behalf, and your political opinions will not represent Serco’s position.

However, you must take care that your actions do not compromise our impartiality.That’s why we ask you to take care if you are involved in any external events where you are asked to speak.

In this particular case, while you are entirely free to speak at this meeting and express your views, before you speak you should make it absolutely clear that although the notes describe you as a Serco employee, you are not speaking on our behalf, and your views do not represent ours.

Nothing. I have a right to express my views

Wrong. Please try again.