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Internal Staff Functions, Gifts and Recognitions

Approval Date
9 March 2021
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: Business Services
Baldrige Criteria
Process management

To provide clarity and equity in the provision of internal staff functions and recognitions.


This policy encompasses all the activities and operations of Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd), including any controlled entities, and applies to all Polytechnic Board members, employees (including permanent, fixed term and casual), secondees, contractors and consultants.


Otago Polytechnic Ltd is a Crown Entity.  As such it is funded by public money and therefore all spending must meet standards of integrity and financial good judgement that will enable it to withstand Parliamentary and public scrutiny.

Otago Polytechnic Ltd values all staff members and wishes to ensure that achievements, efforts, and milestones are appropriately recognised and celebrated, however this must be done while remaining within the standards of financial restraint that are expected of an entity that spends public money. 

For these reasons, staff functions, gifts and recognitions should be kept to as low a financial cost as possible.  The below sets out some guidelines in relation to this.


Sensitive Expenditure

1.          Spending under this policy is considered sensitive expenditure and all spending must be in accordance with the Sensitive Expenditure Policy.



2.          Approval of expenditure must be in accordance with the Delegations Policy. This requires a ‘one-up’ approval by the formal leader of the most senior person who benefits from the expenditure.


Whole of staff functions

3.          The Polytechnic organises and funds centrally whole of staff functions such as Staff Development Days, Executive Leadership Team Breakfast BBQ’s and the Christmas Party. 

4.          Staff who are unable to enjoy whole of staff functions due to being required to work (e.g., functions and childcare staff) or to being based off-site are encouraged to hold an alternative function with a budget to be agreed in advance by the formal leader of the most senior person attending.  Expenditure is to be cost effective, appropriate for the occasion and supported by appropriate documentation.  


Mihi whakatau

5.          The Kaitohutohu Office will provide advice in relation to a mihi whakatau for new employees.  This will be in accordance with tikaka, on first entry to the workplace and before the new employee’s work with Otago Polytechnic commences.  Mihi whakatau costs will be funded centrally by the Kaitohutohu Office.


Team Budgets

6.          The Polytechnic will provide a budget held by formal leaders and used at their discretion to cover ad-hoc team expenses, including meals and gifts.  As a guide this budget is up to $25 per person for the calendar year.  Examples of expenditure that can be paid for using this budget are morning tea at a development day, a platter of food for a shared lunch or morning tea to welcome or farewell team members.

7.          Team functions and celebrations are encouraged; however, these will need to be self-funded by those attending once the budget in paragraph 6 has been exhausted.


Functions and Alcohol

8.          As a general guideline, OP does not pay for alcohol.  There are some exceptions such as a) whole of staff functions that are organised and funded centrally (or substitute functions as detailed in paragraph 4 above), b) functions that involve hosting outside guests.  Any expenditure on alcohol should be pre-approved if possible.

9.          Organisers of functions/events are required to act as responsible hosts. This means to ensure responsible consumption of alcohol, offer non-alcoholic alternatives, and provide food. No alcohol is to be provided to staff under the age of 18 years old.



10.      Farewells for staff members who have worked at Otago Polytechnic Ltd for a significant period of time (i.e., over 10 years), or in a high profile/leadership or Otago Polytechnic wide role, will be offered on a case-by-case basis, noting that: 

a.     Costs are charged to the staff member’s work area.

b.     Consultation/approval/budget guidance must be gained from the DCE People, Culture and Safety in advance.

c.     Expenditure is to be moderate and conservative, cost effective, appropriate for the occasion and supported by appropriate documentation.



11.      Formal leaders who wish to give a gift, koha, benefit or reward to recognise and acknowledge service above and beyond normal expectations may do so with approval from the Head of College, Director or DCE for the area.  Any expenditure should be moderate, conservative, and appropriate for the circumstances. 

12.      Otago Polytechnic Ltd may give gifts, koha, benefits or rewards to recognise achievements of internal parties such as long service or annual staff excellence awards.  Any expenditure should be pre-approved by the DCE: People, Culture and Safety or Chief Executive and should be moderate, conservative, and appropriate to the circumstances. 

13.      Except for number 11 and 12 above, colleagues who wish to express thanks to another colleague should do so in a non-monetary way, such as a values card or a shoutout on Tūhono.  Any gifts given should be funded personally and not by Otago Polytechnic Ltd.  

14.      Flowers or gifts for significant personal events related to staff members (bereavements, weddings, births, and other similar events) should normally be funded through koha/collection from colleagues. In cases where OP funds are used, this is at the discretion of the Head of College, Service Director, relevant Deputy Chief Executive or Chief Executive, and expenditure should be kept to a modest amount (i.e., less than $100). 

15.      OP funds shall not be used to fund gifts for board members, contractors, consultants, or other external parties unless agreed in advance by the DCE People, Culture & Safety or Chief Executive.



Disclosure of Interests

Sensitive Expenditure

Procurement and Purchasing

Delegations from Council to the Chief Executive and Authorities and Sub-delegations from Chief Executive


Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive