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Gifts and entertainment

 
 

Gifts and entertainment

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.

 

Group companies must not offer or promise to our independent external auditors any G&E that may create a conflict of interest or put their independence at risk

 

Offering and receiving G&E

Any gifts and 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 redeemable 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 must be approved in the G&E Tracker. It is recommended that the G&E Tracker is also used for Private Sector stakeholders’ 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.

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)
  • 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 (as further detailed in the G&E Procedure).

 

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 and from independent external auditors

Group companies must not offer or promise to our independent external auditors any G&E that may create a conflict of interest or put their independence at risk (see G&E Procedure for further guidance on G&E involving external auditors). KPMG is the current independent external auditor for the Group and the majority of Group companies.
 

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

Always note:

  • 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 seven 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 offense, 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 G&E Procedure for further guidance on exceptional approvals and blanket approvals which may be available in certain limited circumstances
  • additional information is available in the G&E Procedure and G&E FAQs
 

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 the G&E Tracker for Public Officials, and ensure that a register of Private Sector G&E and a register of all G&E above the threshold levels are maintained.
 

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.

 

Who to talk to

  • Your line manager
  • Higher management
  • Your local LEX Counsel
  • Head of Compliance: sobc@bat.com