Council wants to tell staff: Share your choccies

COUNCIL staff who fancy keeping their Dairy Milk and Galaxy to themselves could soon find that they have to share their choccies with colleagues, or face disciplinary action.

North Herts District Council (NHDC) has included a proposal in a report, which suggests making it policy that officers should share their chocolate gifts, and not to be seen keeping them to themselves.

The reason given is so that no one individual is seen to benefit from the gift. The report says that any breach of the policy could result in disciplinary action.

Cllr Lynda Needham, leader of NHDC, said: “The acceptance of gifts and hospitality by officers of local authorities is not merely an administrative issue. It reflects directly upon the perception of the probity of the authority and is supported by the council’s Code of Conduct for Officers.

“This draft suggests a few amendments to the existing policy, one of which is to make a clarification about unsolicited gifts of perishable good such as chocolate and cakes.”

The proposal only applies to officers, meaning councillors may do what they wish with perishable gifts.

But it is proposed to introduce a form for councillors, in which they must state what they do with a gift over �25.

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If officers receive a non-perishable gift then they are expected to donate it to the chairman’s charity, which is the North Herts Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity (SANDS).

Cllr Needham added: “Normally, any unsolicited gifts would be donated to the chairman to be raffled with the funds going to the chairman’s chosen charity.

“Because this is not always practical in the case of perishable good, the draft policy makes an alternative suggestion for these.”

The proposal was discussed at a Finance, Audit and Risk Committee yesterday (Thursday), with council making a final decision at Cabinet on Tuesday.

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