Statement of Business Ethics
Respect, honesty and integrity - it's how we do business
Providing quality water every day
To provide our community with safe, reliable water at the lowest sustainable cost.
We provide quality drinking water to more than 76,000 people across 15,000 square kilometres.
Our commitment and legislative responsibility
We are serious about our responsibility to our customers and community and seek the same from all our commercial partners and suppliers. This mutual support and obligation assists Riverina Water to ethically deliver value as a service provider, regulator and local government entity.
The procurement of goods and services by Riverina Water must be in accordance with the provisions of Section 55 of the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021.
Riverina Water staff are expected to maintain high standards of integrity and ethical conduct. Business conducted by Riverina Water will be in accordance with the ethics principles set out in this Statement.
Our Ethics Principles
Riverina Water will act honestly and equitably and avoid or declare conflicts between personal interests and official duties. Procedural fairness will be observed and documented when making business decisions. Tenders will not be called unless there is a firm intention to proceed to contract.
All potential suppliers will be treated with impartiality and fairness and given equal access to information and opportunities to submit bids.
Being impartial does not negate good business practices such as directly seeking bids for items of low monetary value or declining to invite bids from firms that have performed poorly in the past. In exceptional circumstances, Riverina Water may deal with a supplier exclusively, when there are valid reasons for doing so, based on sound probity principles.
Riverina Water will respectfully, effectively and ethically manage all forms of public resources including human, material and financial assets, as well as intellectual property and information.
Riverina Water will procure goods and services that offer the best value for money. Best value for money does not simply mean the lowest price, rather it is determined through comparative analysis of all the costs and benefits associated with a purchase, from sourcing to operating and eventual disposal.
Riverina Water considers commercial, technical, financial, social, ethical, economic and environmental factors in determining value for money.
All business relationships between Riverina Water and commercial partners or suppliers, will be fair, open and consistent. Clear documentation and lines of accountability will be maintained for business decisions to ensure the proper expenditure of money.
Council business will be transparent and open to public scrutiny. There will be cases, however, when information on Riverina Water’s relationships and agreements with private suppliers cannot be made publicly available due to confidentiality or privacy obligations.
Riverina Water is committed to sustainable procurement and will endeavour to include sustainable business practices and high levels of corporate social responsibility in our evaluation criteria for the selection of suppliers.
When assessing all other factors as equal, Riverina Water potentially gives preference to Australian made products, and/or goods and services from local businesses.
What our suppliers can expect from us
Riverina Water will ensure that our policies and procedures governing purchasing are consistent with best practice and high standards of ethical conduct.
We aim to pay our accounts on time and respond to reasonable requests for advice and information without .
Our staff are bound by Riverina Water’s Code of Conduct and are expected to:
- Abide by the law and relevant council policies and procedures
- Use public resources effectively and efficiently
- Deal fairly, honestly and ethically with all individuals and organisations
- Avoid conflicts of interest (whether real or perceived)
- Not accept gifts or other benefits from a supplier
- Not divulge confidential or proprietary information
What Riverina Water expects from our suppliers
In dealing with Riverina Water, you are expected to comply with relevant legislation, regulations, policies and contractual obligations, respecting the conditions and requirements stated in documents supplied by Riverina Water.
You are to ensure that any sub-contractors you employ are aware of Riverina Water policies and procedures and the consequences of not complying.
Additionally, you are expected to:
- Not exert pressure on Riverina Water staff or members of the Board to act in ways that contravenes the Statement of Business Ethics or the Code of Conduct
- Not offer staff inducements or incentives such as money, gifts or benefits
- Declare any actual or perceived conflicts of interest as soon as you become aware of such a conflict
- Not act fraudulently or secretively
- Not discuss Riverina Water dealings with the media
- Declare at the earliest opportunity if: you
- Have been convicted of fraud or a fraud-related offence
- Have been declared bankrupt, placed into external administration or into liquidation; or
- Have any corrupt finding or been identified as a person of interest by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)
Definitions and Guidelines
Members of staff, board members or anyone acting in an official capacity on behalf of Riverina Water cannot receive benefits, gifts, incentives or entertainment from any external parties. The matter of gifts and benefit is outlined in section 6 of the Code of Conduct Policy 1.1
Conflicts of interest may occur when an individual could be influenced, or could reasonably be perceived to be influenced, by a personal interest when carrying out public duties. A conflict on interest can involve avoiding personal disadvantage as well as gaining personal advantage.
All council officials are required to disclose any conflicts of interest in a matter to the Chief Executive Officer as soon as practicably possible. Should a conflict of interest arise or be recognised by a supplier during their dealing with Riverina Water, they must notify and declare this conflict of interest to the Chief Executive Officer.
The matter of conflicts of interest is outlined in sections 5 and 6 of the Code of Conduct Policy 1.1.
Riverina Water will not ask for, entertain or enter into any sponsorship or similar arrangement that is not open and transparent, or if such sponsorship would create a perception that it could be part of an attempt to improperly influence any council decision-making process.
Any information which is marked confidential, or which a reasonable person would expect to be confidential, should be treated as such and not shared with any unauthorised third party.
Access, licence or use of intellectual property rights are to be negotiated during the formation of a contract or agreement between Riverina Water and external parties. No individual or organisation is entitled to acquire any intellectual property rights because they are employed by, or have a business association, with Riverina Water.
To avoid misunderstanding, it is important to use written correspondence for communication involving business-related matters. Verbal communication should be followed up with written confirmation of decisions or commitments made.
All communication should be clear, direct and accountable to minimise the risk of perception of inappropriate influence within a business relationship.
Commercial partners and suppliers should not offer Riverina Water employees private employment which in any way conflicts with their public duties.
Riverina Water staff are required to obtain approval from the Chief Executive Officer prior to commencing any secondary simultaneous employment. Approval will not be granted where there is a potential to create a real or perceived conflict of interest between their public duty and other employment.
Council staff are not permitted to engage in private work with any person that has an interest in a proposed or current contract with council.
Former staff members must not disclose confidential information obtained during their employment or convert any property of the council to their own use unless properly authorised. Former employees who have dealings with council need to ensure that they do not seek or appear to seek favourable treatment or access to confidential information.
All contractors and sub-contractors are expected to comply with these guidelines. Suppliers are responsible for making any of their sub-contractors or associated parties aware of their compliance obligations.
Non-council employees must not make any public comment or statement that would lead anyone to believe that they are representing Riverina Water. Riverina Water staff are not permitted to provide public endorsement on behalf of Riverina Water, or on behalf of companies or their products without authorisation of the Chief Executive Officer or their delegate.
Council has zero tolerance for corrupt conduct, maladministration, serious and substantial waste of public money, government information contravention, and other forms of serious wrongdoing. All our suppliers, commercial partners and associates are expected to report any conduct or matter that they become aware of where they suspect fraud, corruption or wrongdoing involving Riverina Water.
Persons reporting corrupt conduct are protected by the Protected Disclosures Act 1994. This Act protects individuals disclosing corruption related matters from reprisals or detrimental action and ensures that disclosures are properly investigated and dealt with.
Reports can be made to the Chief Executive Officer or externally to the Independent Commission Against Crime (ICAC), the NSW Ombudsman or the NSW Office of Local Government.
It is expected that Riverina Water and those who conduct business with us will ensure that workplace safety is of paramount importance and that all legislative and procedural safety requirements are complied with.
The Statement of Business Ethics will be publicly available on Riverina Water’s website. It will also be included in council’s suite of contractor documentation to be provided to commercial partners, and will be sent to all new suppliers.
Breaches and consequences
The consequences of not complying with Riverina Water’s ethical requirements may include:
- Termination of any contract, agreement or order
- Loss of the opportunity for future work
- Loss of reputation
- Investigation for corruption; or
- Matters referred for criminal investigation
For staff and council officials, non-compliance may be considered a breach under the Code of Conduct, with action taken accordingly.