Rule No. 1296 of 18 December 2008 on the acceptance of fees, gifts, decorations or honours, invitations and other advantages from third parties
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
CONSIDERING that Instruction No. 53 of 15 July 2005 on the acceptance of fees, gifts, decorations or honours, invitations and other advantages from third parties should be streamlined;
CONSIDERING that additional rules should be adopted for Secretariat members involved in procurement;
HAVING CONSULTED the Staff Committee, in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 3, of the Regulations on Staff Participation (Appendix I to the Staff Regulations);
D E C I D E S:
1. Secretariat members may not accept, from a third party (i.e. a State or a natural or legal person not party to a contractual relationship between the staff member and the Organisation), offers of fees (money) for services rendered in the performance of their duties. If Secretariat members receive, in relation to the performance of their duties, without prior notice, a fee (money) from a third party, it must be immediately returned to the sender.
2. Secretariat members must inform their direct superior without delay of any offer or payment of a fee (money).
3. The Head of the Major Administrative Entity to which the staff member belongs may authorise the payment by the third party of a corresponding amount of money to the Organisation.
1. Secretariat members may accept from a third party, in relation to the performance of their duties, a gift whose value is reasonably estimated not to exceed 100 Euros if:
§ it does not consist of money or another financial asset and
§ refusing it would be considered impolite given, inter alia, the cultural context and
§ they have grounds to believe that it is consistent with normal practice.
2. If the conditions set out in paragraph 1 are met, Secretariat members may also be granted ad hoc permission by the Head of their Major Administrative Entity (or the Director of the Private Office in the case of Heads of Major Administrative Entities) to accept from a third party, in relation to the performance of their duties, a gift whose value is reasonably estimated to exceed 100 Euros. Such permission shall be in writing and the Director of Internal Audit shall be informed.
1. Secretariat members shall refuse any advantage the acceptance of which may be reasonably interpreted as affecting their judgment or putting them in an ambiguous position.
2. Secretariat members shall refrain from any action which could be reasonably interpreted as soliciting from a third party any advantage for themselves or for anyone else in relation to the performance of their duties, with the exception foreseen in Article 1, paragraph 3.
1. Secretariat members are authorised to accept, in the interest of the Organisation, invitations to attend academic and social events which are addressed to them in their professional capacity.
2. However, they must first obtain, in accordance with standard procedures, permission by the competent hierarchical superior if this involves absenting themselves during working hours or if a mission order is to be issued. If invited to give a lecture, they must also comply with Rule No. 1236of 14 December 2006 on secondary activities of staff members and on publications and lectures dealing with subjects relating to the activities of the Organisation.
Secretariat members must obtain the Secretary General’s permission before accepting a decoration or honour from a State representative.
1. Secretariat members involved in the management of a contractual relationship to purchase goods or services for the Organisation shall refuse or return any gift, material advantage or preferential treatment offered or provided to them by the other contracting party or by a third party reasonably expected to seek to enter into such relationship. They shall report any such incidents to their direct superior. Article 1, paragraph 3 shall not be applicable to such Secretariat members.
2. Secretariat members involved in the management of a contractual relationship to purchase goods or services for the Organisation shall seek the written authorisation of their superiors before accepting an invitation to attend an event organised by the other contracting party or by a third party reasonably expected to seek to enter into this relationship. Such authorisation may be granted only by a staff member holding at least the A4 or L5 grade and only in respect of professional events.
Failure to observe this Rule shall give rise to disciplinary action in accordance with the Staff Regulations.
1. This Rule shall enter into force on the first day of the month following its signature by the Secretary General.
2. It shall repeal Instruction No. 53 of 15 July 2005 on the acceptance of fees, gifts, decorations or honours, invitations and other advantages from third parties (to which Rule No. 1275 of 18 April 2007 shall no longer refer). All references to Instruction No. 53 contained in other instruments shall be read as making reference to this Rule.
Strasbourg, 18 December 2008
The Secretary General
 The term designates staff members under Article 1 of the Staff Regulations, temporary staff members under the relevant Rules and seconded officials under Article 1a of the Regulations on secondment of international or national, regional or local officials to the Council of Europe.