Internal Staff Functions, Gifts and Recognition - OP Business Division Procedure

To be read in conjunction with

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Te Pūkenga National Expenditure Policy

Approval Date
23 March 2022
Approved By
Finance, Otago Business Division Otago Polytechnic
Next Review
30 November 2022
Finance, Otago Business Division Otago Polytechnic
Baldrige Criteria

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 OP Business Division Procedure - Sensitive Expenditure.



  1. Approval of expenditure must be in accordance with the Delegations from Te Pūkenga Council to the Executive Director and Authorities and Sub-delegations from Executive Director. This requires a ‘one-up’ approval by the Formal Leader of the most senior person who benefits from the expenditure, including paragraph 6.


Whole of Staff Functions

  1. Otago Polytechnic Ltd organises and funds centrally for whole of staff functions such as Staff Development Days, Executive Leadership Team Breakfast barbeques (BBQs), and the Christmas Party. The costs of these functions are allowed for in the annual budget/reforecast. The Chief Executive holds delegated authority to approve actual spending at the time.
  2. 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

  1. 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 Ltd commences.  Mihi whakatau costs will be funded centrally by the Kaitohutohu Office.


Team Budgets

  1. Otago Polytechnic Ltd 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 one-hundred dollars ($100) 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.  Expenditure above this limit should be approved by the People, Culture and Safety.
  2. 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, Otago Polytechnic Ltd does not pay for alcohol. There are some exceptions such as:

a) For 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.                                                         

c) Any expenditure on alcohol in these cases 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 eighteen (18) years old.



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

a) Costs are charged to the staff member’s work area for team area farewells.

b) Consultation/approval/budget guidance must be gained from the People, Culture, and Safety in advance for a staff member’s farewell beyond the immediate team.

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



  1. 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 DCE, Director, or HoC for the area.  Any expenditure should be moderate, conservative, and appropriate for the circumstances. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Except for paragraphs 11 and 12, 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.  
  4. Flowers or gifts for significant personal events related to staff members (e.g., bereavements, weddings, births, and other similar events) should normally be funded through koha/collection from colleagues. In cases where Otago Polytechnic Ltd funds are used, this is at the discretion of the HoC/Service Director, relevant DCE, or Chief Executive, and expenditure should be kept to a modest amount (i.e., less than one-hundred dollars ($100). 
  5. Otago Polytechnic Ltd funds shall not be used to fund gifts for contractors, consultants, or other external parties unless agreed in advance by the  People, Culture and Safety.
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