31 March 2017
Report no: PRC2017/2/111
Redrafted Gift Policy for Elected Members
Purpose of Report
1. The purpose of this report is to provide the Committee with a redrafted policy covering the area of acceptance of any gift, reward or benefit in relation to elected members.
That the Committee recommends that Council approves the proposed Gift Policy for Elected Members attached as Appendix 1 to the report.
2. At the Finance and Performance Committee meeting held on 1 March 2017, the Committee resolved the following:-
Resolved: Minute No. FPC 17101
“That the Committee:
(i) notes the information in the report;
(ii) notes the Strategic Risk Profile 2016 as approved by the Strategic Leadership Team, attached as Appendix 1 to the report; and
(ii) requests officers to review the Elected Members Gift Policy and report back.”
3. Council adopted a Gift Policy for Elected Members in 1995. The policy was reviewed in 2007 and 2011. The next review date will be set down for early 2020.
4. Council, at its meeting held on 15 December 2016, adopted a new Code of Conduct for Elected Members (‘the Code’) for the 2016-2019 triennium.
5. The major amendment to the Gift Policy for Elected Members is that it now reflects the provisions of the Code. (Refer to the underlining in section 4 attached as Appendix 1 to the report).
6. Section 10 of the Code outlines the ethical conduct of elected members for receiving any gift, reward or benefit to the value of $100 or more. Any failure by elected members to comply with the provisions set out in the section represents a breach of the Code. The redrafted policy has been updated to reflect that section.
7. Section 12 of the Code outlines the processes for investigating and determining whether or not a breach under the Code has occurred. The redrafted policy has been updated to reflect that section.
8. Another amendment to the Gift Policy for Elected Members is that it now reflects wording from the Sensitive Expenditure Policy relating to hosting for events and Koha. (Refer to the underlining in sections 4 and 6 attached as Appendix 1 to the report).
9. The above amendments to the Gift Policy for Elected Members explain the principles more clearly so that it is easier to understand.
10. The Committee’s options are as follows:-
a. Recommend to Council to approve the redrafted Gift Policy for Elected Members with amendments (if any) agreed to by the Committee; or
b. Directs officers to complete further work on the Gift Policy for Elected Members and report back; or
c. Not approve the redrafted Gift Policy and Elected Members and revert back to the original Gift Policy for Elected Members approved by Council in 2011.
11. As part of redrafting the policy, officers have consulted with other local authorities as to their policies around gifts received by elected members.
12. Council’s Risk and Assurance Manager has also been consulted and her feedback has been incorporated in the draft policy along with the Divisional Manager of Secretariat Services (refer to the underlining in Appendix 1 to the report).
13. The policy has no legal considerations.
14. Clause 15 of Schedule 7 to the Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) specifies the rules for the Code. The Act also provides that members must comply with the Code. However, a breach of the Code does not constitute an offence under the LGA 2002.
15. The policy has no financial considerations. However, a review of the Gifts Register for both elected members and officers usually forms part of annual audit process undertaken by Audit New Zealand of Council’s Annual Report.
16. The final Gift Policy for Elected Members will be made available on the hub, Council’s website and copies will be included in the elected members’ handbooks.
17. In making this recommendation, officers have given careful consideration to the purpose of local government in section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002.
Gift Policy for Elected Members
Author: Kathryn Stannard
Divisional Manager, Secretariat Services
Reviewed By: Enid Davids
Risk and Assurance Manager
Approved By: Tony Stallinger