Occasional offering or acceptance of business-related gifts or entertainment can be an acceptable business practice. However, improper or excessive gifts and entertainment can be a form of bribery and corruption, and cause serious harm to BAT
- “entertainment” shall mean any form of hospitality including food or drink, attendance at any cultural or sporting events, or any associated travel and accommodation offered or given to or received from a person or entity outside of BAT
- “gifts” shall mean anything of value offered or given to, or received from a person or entity outside of BAT that is not entertainment
- “G&E” shall mean gifts and/or entertainment
- “Private sector stakeholder” shall mean all other entities and individuals excluding Public Officials
- “threshold” shall mean £20 for a Public Official and £200 for a Private sector stakeholder in the UK. Group companies should provide guidance on what is modest and lawful is their markets, not exceeding these amounts and reflecting local purchasing power and regulations
Offering and receiving G&E
Any gifts & entertainment you offer, give or receive must:
- never be given/accepted if it can constitute bribery and corruption, as defined in the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy
- be given/accepted in an open way
- be lawful in all relevant jurisdictions, and not prohibited by the other party‘s organisation
- not involve parties engaged in a tender or competitive bidding process
- not have, or be capable of being seen to have, a material effect on a transaction involving any Group company
- not be a gift of cash or cash equivalent (vouchers, gift certificates, loans, or securities);
- not be asked for or demanded
- not be offered for something in return (i.e. offered with conditions attached)
- not be, or give the appearance of being lavish or inappropriate (disrespectful, indecent, sexually explicit or might otherwise reflect on any Group company poorly, having regard to local culture)
- be approved in writing in advance (where approval is required by this policy and/or additional local requirements)
- be expensed in accordance with the applicable business expense policies and procedures
- in addition, all G&E above the threshold for Public Officials and Private sector stakeholders must be recorded in the Group company’s G&E Register
When offering or accepting G&E, consider:
- Intent: Is the intent only to build or maintain a business relationship or offer normal courtesy, or is it designed to influence the recipient‘s objectivity in making a specific business decision?
- Legality: Is it legal in your country and in the country of the other party?
- Materiality: Is the market value reasonable (i.e. not lavish/extravagant) and proportionate to the seniority of the individual?
- Frequency: Does the individual receive G&E only infrequently?
- Transparency: Would you or the recipient be embarrassed if your manager, colleagues, or anyone outside the Group knew about the G&E?
G&E to Public Officials
It is prohibited to directly or indirectly seek to influence a Public Official by providing G&E (or other personal advantage) to them or a close relative, friends or associates.
Regulatory engagement is part of our business. Providing or receiving G&E (within the stated thresholds) in this context may be permissible. However, extra care must be taken as many countries do not allow their Public Officials to accept G&E and anti-bribery laws are often strict.
See Conflicts of Interest Policy for definition of “Public Officials” and “close relative”
We may offer or accept any G&E without prior approval, provided that it is:
- Below the threshold value of £20 per individual per instance (or lower local equivalent); and
- Lawful, infrequent and appropriate
We must seek prior written approval from our line manager and our local LEX Counsel, for the offering or accepting of any G&E to/from Public Officials (or their close relatives) above the £20 threshold up to £200.
The offering/receiving of G&E to/from a Public Official (or their close relatives) over £200 would only be appropriate if exceptional circumstances arise and requires prior written approval from the proposing Group company’s GM/Area Manager/Functional Director and prior notification by the Regional Head of LEX or Group Head of Business Conduct.
Private sector stakeholders
We may offer or accept any G&E to/from a private sector stakeholder without prior approval, provided that it is:
- Below the threshold value of £200 per individual per instance (or lower local equivalent);
- Lawful, infrequent and consistent with reasonable business practice.
We must seek prior written approval:
- From our line manager for the offering or accepting of any G&E above the £200 threshold.
- When approving requests, approvers must be satisfied that the proposed G&E does not contravene any of the expectations set out above and in particular that the timing and or wider context could not be perceived to suggest that any decision could be influenced by the G&E.
- There could be exceptional circumstances where pre-approval is not possible. Approval must be requested as soon as possible and no more than 7 days after G&E was given or received with written justification provided as to why pre-approval was not requested or obtained.
- Line managers, in consultation with local LEX Counsel, will determine what is to be done with any G&E offered to or received by Group Company employees exceeding the applicable thresholds. Generally, such G&E should be refused or returned. If this would be inappropriate or cause offence, the G&E may be accepted on the basis that it becomes the property of the relevant Group company.
- You should never avoid your obligation to seek necessary G&E approval by paying for it personally or having someone else pay for it.
- All G&E must be expensed in accordance with the appropriate business expense policies and procedures.
- In no circumstance should entertainment occur at BAT's expense without the presence of BAT personnel.
- For the avoidance of doubt, G&E should not be broken down into smaller amounts/values in order to circumvent the thresholds in this Policy.
- G&E should generally be directed to those with whom BAT has a business relationship and not their friends or relatives. But if friends, relatives, or other guests of an individual attend, then the costs should be aggregated for the purposes of the thresholds in this Policy.
- Refer to the Gifts & Entertainment Procedure for further guidance on exceptional approvals and blanket approvals which may be available in certain limited circumstances.
G&E to and from Independent External Auditors:
Group companies must not offer or promise to our independent external auditors any G&E that may create a potential conflict of interest or put their independence at risk. To do so risks putting BAT in breach of company and accounting rules and regulations. Acceptable entertainment would be limited to food and refreshments during business meetings, a conference or training involving multiple participants or an invitation to participate in a mass participation corporate event. KPMG is the current independent external auditor for Group and the majority of Group companies. If a Group company has appointed an independent external auditor other than KPMG then it must still comply with these G&E requirements.
G&E from Group Companies
There are no restrictions on employees accepting G&E from a Group company. Group companies should ensure that any such G&E are legitimate, appropriate and proportionate.
Keeping a formal record and monitoring
Each Group company shall be responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of a register of all G&E above the threshold levels (Group Companies may decide to keep a greater number of registers).
Who to talk to
Your line manager
Your local LEX Counsel
Head of Compliance: