This specification outlines
the ethical and financial considerations and procedures involved in the giving
and receiving of gifts, benefits and entertainment by all level of Executive, Leaders,
employees and contractors. Organisations
already contracted with or otherwise looking to partner with Queensland Rail (e.g.
as suppliers) are to be made aware of the requirements of this specification.
2 Requirements of this Specification
The Financial Accountability Act 2009, the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, and the Queensland Rail Code of Conduct contain provisions that require Queensland Rail and its employees to act appropriately from a financial and / or ethical perspective. It is all employees' responsibility to understand this specification prior to accepting or offering a gift, benefit, or entertainment.
To deliver on the requirements, Queensland Rail will -
- Follow directions of responsible Ministers in relation to entertainment and hospitality, including the requirement to comply with The GOC Corporate Entertainment and Hospitality Guidelines;
- Exercise restraint in accepting or offering gifts and / or spending on benefits and entertainment and avoid conflicts of interest – real or perceived;
- Ensure the giving or receipt of gifts, benefits or entertainment are considered in terms of the principles of commerciality, value for money, reasonableness, professionalism, transparency, impartiality, ethics, integrity and accountability to achieve the best social, economic and environmental outcomes for its responsible Ministers and the people of Queensland;
- Implement processes and procedures including but not limited to registers and conflict of interest declarations that are easily accessible and understood and subject to monitoring and management action when non-compliance occurs.
Failure to comply with this
specification can result in disciplinary action including dismissal and
referral to police and the Crime & Corruption Commission.
2.1 Acceptance of Gifts, Benefits and Entertainment
Queensland Rail has an acceptance tolerance of up to $20 but otherwise holds a general rule of non-acceptance. Further, if offered a gift, benefit or entertainment, always consider why the offer was made and how acceptance will be perceived.
In most circumstances a gift accepted will remain the property of Queensland Rail regardless of value.
Leaders may decide to apply tighter restrictions, including a 'no' acceptance policy where the nature of the work of a team or individual employee warrants.
When considering acceptance of a gift or offer, key principles in your decision include –
- Whether as a Queensland Rail employee you are in a position to influence or authorise granting work or payment for work completed to the offeror, if so then it is more likely that the acceptance would create a real conflict of interest or be perceived as a conflicted interest and inappropriate.
- If the offer is made to a Queensland Rail employee in a public forum, then it is less likely to be perceived as an attempt to influence than if offered in a private context.
- Expensive items are more likely to be perceived as trying to win favour.
- While the perception that one offer may not be considered sufficient to cause an employee to act outside their official duty, the sum of multiple offers may be considered to do so.
- If partners or children of Queensland Rail employees attend an event it is more likely to be perceived as a private event.
- Generally if Queensland Rail wishes personnel to attend an event, then QR will pay for the event itself.
- It would be impolite to decline, or return a gift or offer. In such circumstances these need to be reported to Ethics@qr.com.au and arrangements will be made to dispose of the received item generally to a sponsored charity.
A Decision Making guide has been included in Appendix 2 and a listing of acceptance / expenditure examples in Appendix 3.
2.1.1 Authority to accept Gifts or Offers
Where an employee believes there is value to QR in accepting a gift, benefit, or entertainment over the $20 threshold, the employee will need to obtain pre-approval or otherwise as soon as practical from their Level 4 (General Leadership Team) or higher leader. A leader cannot grant approval for his or herself.
Acceptance of a gift, benefit, or entertainment over the value of $350 can only be approved by the CEO.
|Under $20 individual or aggregate value ||Employee can accept / no approval required|
|Business entertainment above $20||Level 4 (General Leadership Team) or higher leader|
|Non business entertainment or any gift (regardless of value)||Decline or if can't decline, assign to QR use or donate to QR charity via authorised area|
|Individual or aggregate value exceeds $350 or other general derogation from this specification. ||CEO |
Derogation from this
Specification can be sought from the General Counsel where
an award is made to an employee and involves a cash prize.
2.2 Giving by Queensland Rail of Corporate gifts, benefits and entertainment
In offering corporate hospitality the following principles apply -
- Must be for official purposes and foster positive relationships with individuals, groups or other stakeholders in order to achieve beneficial commercial and community obligations, including promoting and furthering the Queensland Rail brand and business.
- The expenditure is commensurate with the commercial or community purpose and not repetitive, extravagant or flamboyant, ensuring optimum value for money outcomes.
- The public perception and the benefit to Queensland Rail, the State of Queensland and / or the public generally are clear and transparent and will withstand scrutiny.
- Personnel attending a corporate event will be those who can best achieve Queensland Rail's stated objective of the event.
- Corporate gifts given are selected where appropriate from the official range maintained by Corporate and Customer Relations Unit.
- The ratio of guests to Queensland Rail employees (and their partners or family) should be no less than 1:1. It is also expected that the costs will not normally exceed $150 per person, and as a general rule the value of beverages should not exceed that of meals.
- Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) implications are observed.
- Hospitality is not used as a substitute for business meetings ordinarily conducted in the workplace or to by-pass other existing Queensland Rail processes.
2.2.1 Authority and Documentation
Corporate and Customer Relations must be notified prior to initiating any major event, and can assist businesses where required.
Unless as otherwise stated in this Specification, expenditure will be pre-authorised by personnel in accordance with Queensland Rail's delegation framework. Additionally, where the value or commitment of the event costs $5,000 or more, the CEO is to approve, and details must be provided prior to the event, to the responsible Ministers via Corporate and Customer Relations.
Where partners (or other family members) of the Queensland Rail representative(s) attend, this must be pre-approved by an Executive Leader (ELT member), or in their case, the CEO. In the event of the CEO or a Board Member, the Chairman of the Board to approve.
Authorising personnel must
ensure sufficient supporting information including business cases, fringe
benefits tax forms, tax invoices, and receipts.
Further, a post event evaluation of larger events is to be undertaken by the
organising business and submitted to Corporate and Customer Relations for
reporting to the Board and responsible Ministers.
2.3 Reporting of Gifts, Benefits and Entertainment
Any gift, benefit or entertainment received or given that has a retail value of more than $20, or equates to an aggregate total of more than $20, must be recorded in the Corporate Register maintained by Ethics & Integrity unless otherwise exempted in this Specification.
Details must be reported within one week of acceptance / receipt. If employees are in doubt about whether a matter ought to be reported, they should err on the side of caution and report.
Offers declined do not need to be recorded except –
- Where it is a personal offer and value is greater than $50
- Offers of cash (including cash equivalent such as shares)*
- Items of a cultural or historical significance*
- Any offers from known or potential suppliers during a tender process*
All of the above must be entered into the Corporate Register. For those items marked with an asterisk (*), these need to be immediately notified to Ethics@qr.com.au, regardless of their value.
The content of the Corporate Register will be subject to ongoing scrutiny by the Legal Department for the purpose of analysis for trends, potential conflict of interest, corruption or other inappropriate behaviour, and need for corrective and prevention action. Further the Corporate Register will be subject to reporting and/or publishing.
Corporate entertainment and hospitality
Whilst generally exempt from reporting in the Corporate Register, the annual budgeted and actual expenditure for corporate entertainment and hospitality provided by Queensland Rail are to be reported in Queensland Rail's quarterly reports to the responsible Ministers. This includes both corporate hospitality and staff events. To facilitate accurate reporting an appropriate transaction description must be entered into SAP by the area initiating the expenditure which will clearly identify (a) The nature of the expense, and (b) The reason for the event. The table below provide examples of the type of information that should be included in the description:
| ||Corporate Hospitality||Staff Events|
|The nature of the expense|
- Room hire
- Room hire
|The reason for the event |
- QR Hosted event
- Community engagement
- Supplier engagement
Staff recognition (e.g. long service award; excellence awards, BBQ, morning tea)
- Staff briefing
- Training course
- Catering for Gulflander 125th Celebration
- Subway platter for Planning Workshop
Corporate Register Exemptions
Several matters are exempt from listing on the Corporate Register in the expectation that there are other procedures in place to manage, monitor and report on them including –
- Reward and recognition of performance or staff including celebratory or milestone events, floral arrangements, or tributes - instead refer the HR's Reward and Recognition eForm
- Corporately approved events, donations and sponsorships
- Training, seminar attendance, etc. offered under contract with a supplier
- Professional association events and associated costs e.g. air travel paid for as an award nominee/winner - unless attendance is at the 'personal' invite of a commercial organisation in which case all costs need to be registered
- Giveaways, prizes and awards for customers and staff, part of a business Group's customer sales campaign, or an approved HR program (including staff events)
- Staff holding corporate entertainment accounts
- Staff discounts including travel and concessional ticket passes or other benefits provided under Enterprise Agreement or otherwise corporately approved
- Meals (including beverages) provided to staff (including contractors and suppliers) and customers in response to an incident such as train delays, or derailments
- Concessions or reimbursements to staff for study, professional organisation membership or other corporately approved benefit
- Famils' (familiarisation trips) offered on long distance services to media (and others) to experience the Queensland Rail train travel experience
- Minor catering for in-house (on QR premises) business meetings, information sessions, internal conferences or programs, for Queensland Rail employees and guests
- Other matters approved by Ethics & Integrity
2.3.1 Determining values
Employees should ensure
they have appropriately researched and validated any estimated retail value of
any gift, benefit or entertainment.
Deliberately or negligently providing an undervalued amount to avoid
reporting or to fraudulently keep an item is considered misconduct.
2.4 Corruption - Real or Perceived
Where suspicions or concerns are held that gifts or offers were made (and regardless of value) in order to coerce or improperly influence a Queensland Rail employee's action, activity, thinking or decision, the offer/activity needs to be reported as soon as possible to Ethics & Integrity.
Attempts by employees to avoid reporting a gift, benefit or hospitality or its substance where they are required to do so under this specification or otherwise in keeping with the spirit of this specification are to be reported to Ethics & Integrity.
The following establishes the unique accountabilities and responsibilities of the key internal stakeholders for this Specification.
3.1 Who does what?
Corporate and Customer Relations Oversee corporate gifts,
benefits and entertainment offered by Queensland Rail, or employees as part of
their duties and facilitate ministerial reporting.
CEO Consider for approval offers allowed by this specification but greater than $350.In exceptional circumstances, consider approving an employee accepting and / or keeping a gift, benefit or entertainment otherwise denied by this specification.
Finance With Corporate and Customer
Relations and Leaders, facilitate ministerial reporting.
Leaders Consider appropriateness of an employee accepting and / or keeping a gift, benefit or entertainment between $20 and $350, and where accepted is captured appropriately and timely in the Corporate Register.
Work with Corporate and Customer Relations in the provision of any gifts, benefits or entertainment to stakeholders.
Legal Department Maintain the Corporate Register
and provide general advice on protocols and consideration in relation to
receiving or giving gifts, benefits or entertainment.
4 Terms and definitions
The following key terms and definitions are unique to this Procedure. Please refer to the Business Glossary for other terms not included in this section.
Conflict of Interest
A conflict of interest involves a conflict between an employee’s duties and responsibilities and the employee’s private interests. A conflict of interest can arise from avoiding personal losses as well as gaining personal advantage – whether financial or otherwise.
Source: Code of Conduct MD-10-62
Refer Crimes and Corruption Act 2001
Source: Section 15
Is a commercially oriented event or activity to which an invitation is
extended to an external client, stakeholder, shareholder (or their
representative), supplier or community group that involves provision of
catering and/or entertainment and which is provided on the basis that it will
deliver commercial benefit through networking opportunities and the development
of new or strengthening of existing relationships with the invited guests.
Gifts, Benefits and Entertainment
Refers to items given and
received in the course of official duties and includes tangible (of lasting
value) and intangible (of no lasting value) items.
For example -
- Gifts of alcohol, clothes, products;
- Gifts of travel or accommodation;
- Preferential treatment such as queue jumping, use of facilities, benefits or benefits generally;
- Free conference attendance in exchange for presenting a paper at the conference;
- Cap, pen, notepad, flowers, chocolates;
- Free use of facilities such as gyms, holiday homes or discounted travel;
- Awards or prizes including lucky door prizes;
- Tickets to the theatre, sporting and other events; Restaurant meals and beverages
Would include any activity that is likely to attract public attention due to the profile of guests attending, the level of expenditure, the likely publicity, etc.
undertaken outside the normal working environment.
Usually mass-produced and not given as a personal gift. This includes sponsors material provided to all delegates at a conference.
Token benefits and entertainment are of a low value nature for example a cup of coffee.
Appendix 1 – Related documents
Queensland Rail documents
- MD-12-378 Accounting
- MD-11-7032 Entertainment and Hospitality
- MD-10-62 Code of Conduct
- MD-15-188 Recognising employee performance
- MD-12-314 Sponsorship & Donations
- MD-12-354 Delegation of Authority
Strategy / Plan
Specification / Framework
Form / Template
- Corporate Entertainment and Hospitality Guidelines issued by Queensland Treasury per direction by responsible Ministers 3 May 2013