Gifts and Hospitality

View the Gifts and Hospitality Register

All Members and employees of the council are required to ensure that all offers of gifts or hospitality are recorded, whether or not they are accepted.

Gifts

With the exceptions listed below, members and employees of the Council should tactfully refuse any personal gift offered to them or to a member of their family by any person or body who has or seeks dealings with the Council, e.g. i.e. in connection with a current or proposed planning application, organisations or persons who are or who seek to provide work, goods or services to the Council such as e.g. building contractors, suppliers of goods or equipment, firms able to provide professional or commercial services to the Council. Any offers received must be reported to the Corporate Director concerned or where the offer is made to a Member, to the Chief Executive and recorded in the Council’s register.

Exceptions:

A modest gift of a promotional character given to a wide range of people and not uniquely to the employee. These gifts are usually given at Christmas time and include calendars, diaries, desk sets and other articles of use in the office or job.
Gifts on the conclusion of any courtesy visit to a factory or firm of sort normally given by that firm.

A small gift where refusal would cause needless offence and the giver is not currently seeking a decision or business from the Council, but merely wishes to express thanks for advice, help or co-operation received.
Where the promotional offer takes the form of gift vouchers and these are given automatically with supplies purchased by the Council there is no reason why, when sufficient vouchers have accrued, they should not be applied in the purchase of an item which is of use to the Council.

Hospitality

Hospitality is sometimes offered to representatives of the Council and is accepted when it is reasonable in all the circumstances. Where it is offered to individual employees, special caution is needed where the host is seeking to do business with the Council or to obtain a decision from them. It is important to avoid any suggestion of improper influence. The question is one of judgement, and the following examples are intended to give general guidance. All instances of accepted hospitality by third parties must be recorded in the Hospitality Register.

Acceptable hospitality: 

  • A working lunch of a modest standard provided to allow the parties to continue to discuss business.
  • Invitations to a Society or Institute dinner or function.
  • Invitation to take part in a company jubilee or other anniversary celebration.
    Hospitality offered by other non-commercial bodies.

Unacceptable hospitality:

  • Holiday abroad or week-end in any holiday centre.
  • Offer of hotel and tickets for theatre.

Use of company flat or hotel suite.In general terms, it will often be more acceptable to join in hospitality offered to a group, e.g. a company’s golf day for customers, than to accept something unique to the employee, e.g. tickets for a theatre.

When a particular person or body has a matter currently in issue with the Council, e.g. an arbitration arising from a contract, then clearly common sense dictates that offers of hospitality be refused even if, in normal times, they would be in the acceptable list.