Council’s proactive approach to Business Ethics
Wingecarribee Shire Council has been listed in an investigation conducted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption into allegations that employees accepted benefits from companies.
Wingecarribee General Manager Jason Gordon says the incidents that are being investigated date back to 2007 and 2008.
“It was alleged that three staff had received four $50 gift cards, to a total value of $200. Only one of the staff was in a position to be influenced when making purchasing decisions. Investigations commenced as soon as we became aware of information and the officers involved have been interviewed. As yet the matters are still open as we are working with ICAC to get further details.
“It is disappointing that investigations by ICAC such as this taint the whole industry as corrupt, purchasing staff who deal with external suppliers, when in fact it is only a few individuals. Those found guilty of these types of offences should have the book thrown at them.”
In general, Council expects its Councillors and staff to decline gifts, benefits or hospitality offered during the course of their work. All gifts offered, accepted or declined are required to be formally recorded in a public Gifts and Benefits Register.
Council’s Statement of Business Ethics requires Councillors and staff to disclose any actual or potential conflicts of interest. Council extends this duty of disclosure to all external service providers, which include applicants, objectors, business partners, contractors, suppliers, and anyone with whom they do business.
Mr Gordon said “All staff of Wingecarribee Shire Council recently completed refresher training about their obligations under the Code of Conduct. They know that receiving gifts of more than “nominal value” from people are unacceptable and understand our reporting requirements for the Gifts Register.
“New employees are provided with information about these important policies and procedures as part of their induction training.
“Breaches of Council’s Code of Conduct are unacceptable and dealt with seriously. Internal and external auditors have reviewed our procurement processes and no particular issues were found which is pleasing following a focused purchasing improvement program in recent years,” he added.
The Statement of Business Ethics is a means of providing guidance regarding the standards of ethical behaviour that external service providers can expect from Councillors and members of staff. Similarly, the Statement of Business Ethics also articulates the standards of ethical behaviour expected of external service providers in their dealings with Wingecarribee Shire Council.
The Code of Conduct and Statement of Business Ethics can be found on Council’s website http://www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/council/policies-plans-codes