Sponsorship

Version Number

2.1

Implementation Date

27/04/2015

Scope

Department-wide

Purpose

Details the steps required to ensure Government sponsorship arrangements are undertaken in an open, transparent, fair and responsible manner.

Overview

By engaging with local businesses and community organisations, many state schools and other units of the department 

have created innovative programs that are tailored to local needs and provide enhanced student or community benefits. 

While appropriate sponsorship activity can generate significant benefits for all parties, inappropriate activity can do irreparable damage to a school’s, or the department’s brand and public image.

This procedure is underpinned by whole-of-government requirements and explains the key principles of sponsorship.  

A sponsorship framework is provided to help guide outgoing sponsorship activities undertaken by departmental units and schools.

A Sponsorship and Fundraising Checklist for Schools and Parents and Citizens’ Associations is also provided as a step-by-step guide to sponsorship and fundraising arrangements for schools and Parents and Citizens’ Associations (P&C Associations). 

The Community Engagement and Partnerships Branch (CEP) provides advice and guidance to all departmental units wishing to engage in sponsorship activity. The key principles underpinning sponsorship advice are based on:

  • integrity of State Government funding (core funding)
  • alignment with departmental and State Government priorities
  • appropriate acknowledgment
  • appropriate activity
  • appropriate association
  • appropriate authorisation
  • ethical behaviour and fair dealing
  • open and effective competition 
  • effective management and reporting
  • value for money.

Sponsorship Key Principles
Care should also be taken before accepting sponsorship from any person or organisation that is:

  • tendering for, or likely to tender for, future significant departmental contracts, so as to avoid perceptions of bias in granting a contract
  • competitor to an existing sponsor, if it is contrary to an agreement with existing sponsor, or likely to jeopardise existing sponsorship
  • friend, relative or business associate of a principal, central office director, or any other person who is making a decision on sponsorship. In such cases, it is good practice to declare conflict of interest and, if practical, withdraw from decision-making process and pass decision to another person.

 Acceptable sponsorship recognition may include:

  • notices, via newspaper, radio, television or any other form of public media
  • acknowledgment, complimentary advertising or a foreword from sponsor in departmental or school publications, for example, in a school prospectus or magazine
  • posters or other notices at school, departmental premises, or at place of business of sponsor
  • lists of sponsors in school newsletters and yearbooks
  • appropriately placed (i.e. via a ‘school sponsors’ link) logo or sponsor message on the school website 
  • letter or certificate of appreciation presented to a sponsor
  • name or logo on departmental signs or uniforms (e.g. school sports uniforms), subject to agreement by the school community and appropriate approval
  • sign indicating name and/or logo of sponsor, for duration of a sponsored activity, or for an agreed period of time 
  • naming rights of events, equipment, materials or facilities, subject to appropriate approval
  • attendance of a representative(s) of sponsor at school or departmental functions and opportunity to make an address or present awards at such functions
  • acknowledgment in speeches.

 Unacceptable sponsor organisations would:

  • produce products that may be potentially harmful to health of students, such as tobacco or alcohol. However, temporary marquees for the sale of alcoholic products are acceptable for school fetes, or other events that are targeted at the external community and conform to appropriate legislation and local laws
  • have a public reputation that conflicts with values of department, such as those associated with questionable corporate practices (e.g. working conditions), or those associated with discriminatory attitudes (e.g. racist or sexist attitudes)
  • be involved in sex or gaming industry, a political party or religion. However, organisations that receive grants or donations derived from gambling industry, such as Gambling Community Benefit Fund, are acceptable
  • restrict the department or school from handling products or services of a competitor or require the purchase a product or service from a sponsor
  • force the school, students or parents to only purchase from one supplier

 Unacceptable sponsorship would:

  • be contrary to ethos, values and purpose of the department
  • be discriminatory, obscene or degrading
  • incite people to commit illegal acts or violate laws
  • promote tobacco products, alcohol, drugs, sex industry, gaming and gambling, or ​​ religion
  • involve politicians, political parties, political organisations and political aspirants
  • involve individuals 
  • promote or condone alcohol consumption or drink driving by young people
  • portray violence, undue aggression, and menacing or horrific elements likely to disturb children and young people or likely to disturb people in general
  • use sexual overtones to advertise products or services or be otherwise objectionable or offensive
  • conflict with core business of the department 
  • involve an endorsement of products or services
  • be targeted at students and made available on student lesson pages available on departmental or school intranet sites 
  • not be consistent with any existing policies or key strategies of department or Queensland Government
  • conflict with events and initiatives of the Queensland Government
  • include an unsolicited offer of a gift or benefit, where benefit will only be accrued upon indirect supply of contact details of students, their parents or guardians
  • involve a sponsorship fee that will be used to provide sponsorship or a grant to a third party
  • compromise privacy including providing personal information about students, parents/guardians, staff or other members of school community to any organisation not authorised to access this information
  • involve students providing personal information in order to access services provided by company 
  • involve acceptance of sponsor’s products or services as a condition of an individual student’s participation in sponsored activities
  • be where the school receives a commission or incentive from the sale of an organisation’s goods or services. This is considered to be product endorsement.
  • promote food or drinks that are not aligned with the intent of Smart Choices, Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools, including those items which are classified as ‘red’ under the strategy

 Department officer behaviour - Ethical behaviour and fair dealing
Officers undertaking activities in relation to sponsorship must:

  • disclose and resolve conflicts of interest between their private interests and public duties
  • ensure any gifts received are recorded in the appropriate gift registry
  • not entertain approaches from sponsors or sponsorship recipients that might be interpreted as attempts to influence the sponsorship evaluation process
  • maintain confidentiality in all dealings
  • maintain high standards of accountability
  • apply systems and procedures that produce an open, equitable and efficient approach to sponsorship.

 Two examples of unethical behaviour in the context of sponsorship are:

  • entering into sponsorship agreements for personal gain
  • creating the impression that the provision of sponsorship funding is a requirement for future business dealings with the agency.

The Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (Qld) establishes that the principles of respect for the law and the system of government; integrity; diligence; and economy and efficiency are fundamental to good public administration.

Open and effective competition
For solicited and unsolicited offers of sponsorship, each potential sponsor should declare any current offer it has made, or knows it will make in future, to department for provision of goods and/or services.

Sponsorship Agreements 
The Sponsorship Offer Form, Incoming and Outgoing Sponsorship Letter of Agreement and Incoming and Outgoing Sponsorship Agreements and are used to formalise sponsorships between two parties. 

If the proposed sponsorship involves any of the following, it must be referred to CEP:

  • has potential to be controversial; 
  • involves activities that may be high risk; 
  • involves naming rights
  • is first of its kind for department; 
  • involves significant events; 
  • has statewide implications.

Responsibilities

School staff:

  • refer all sponsorship approvals to your Principal.

Queensland State School Principals:

  • ensure familiarity and compliance with the Sponsorship Key Principles. A Sponsorship and Fundraising Checklist for Schools and Parents and Citizens’ Associations has been developed to guide decision-making
  • consult the school community (including P&C Association or School Councils) before arrangements are progressed with potential sponsors
  • consult with Information Management Services Branch if computer equipment and/or services are a major element of sponsorship 
  • consult with the Director, CEP regarding arrangements more than $10 000 or where such sponsorships may be high risk or controversial.
  • Ensure Sponsorship templates have been prepared to assist schools manage sponsorship documentation:
  • sign sponsorship agreements up to financial delegation level
  • ensure  process and any final arrangement would withstand critical public scrutiny when negotiating sponsorship
  • document how decision was made, authorise appropriately, and file locally.

Parents and Citizens’ Associations and School Councils:

 Regional Directors:

Department of Education and Training officers who are not Directors:

  • refer all proposals and arrangements to your Director for advice.

Directors, Assistant Directors-General and Deputy Director-General:

  • ensure familiarity and compliance with Queensland Government Sponsorship Framework
  • refer proposals to the Director, CEP for advice if required.
  • obtain authorisation to proceed with sponsorship arrangement via a General Briefing Note and business case to the Director-General. This in-principle agreement is to occur before any final agreement is developed and be progressed through the CEP branch.
  • authorise incoming sponsorship proposals, up to financial delegation when the brief to the Director-General has been endorsed 
  • ​Consult the Director, CEP branch for all proposals that:
    • have potential to be controversial
    • involve activities that may be high risk
    • are first of their kind for department
    • involve significant events, or
    • have statewide implications.

Director, Community Engagement and Partnerships:

  • consider and assess proposals forwarded by Principals, Central Office Directors and Regional Directors for advice
  • advise Principals, Central Office Directors or Regional Office Directors, and relevant delegates, of outcome of all proposals submitted for advice 
  • authorise any statewide media releases generated by sponsor recipients
  • provide an annual report of all new and current sponsorships to the Department of the Premier and Cabinet
  • sign incoming and outgoing sponsorship contracts up to financial delegation level. 

Director-General of Education and Training:

​consult with the Minister for Education and Training and, as appropriate, other key stakeholders, on proposals that have potential to be controversial, are first of their kind for department, or involve outgoing sponsorship of significant events and/or events requiring Cabinet Budget Review Committee approval

  • review and authorise business cases granting an in-principle agreement for non-school arrangements
  • authorise incoming sponsorship proposals, following consideration of advice provided by the Director, CEP not exceeding $500 000
  • authorise outgoing sponsorship proposals that:
    • are not new significant events
    • do not require Cabinet Budget Review Committee approval
    • do not exceed $500 000.

Process

Providing and receiving sponsorships (Queensland State Schools)
  • identify sponsorship opportunities 
  • consult with school community including P&C Associations and the School Council
  • analyse risks, costs and benefits
  • register the sponsorship in the school-based register
  • develop a sponsorship proposal detailing the initiative, target audience, sponsorship entitlement and level of sponsorship investment and distribute to potential sponsors prepare sponsorship templates to assist schools manage sponsorship documentation:
  • ​manage the documentation by providing the agreements (two copies) to the organisation for signing first. These are then signed by Principal up to financial delegation
  • prepare a report for the organisation providing sponsorship
  • report on sponsorship annually on all incoming sponsorships over $10 000 to CEP branch.
Providing sponsorships – DET
  • Consult with the CEP branch who will liaise with the Queensland Government Sponsorship Network
  • Analyse the risks, costs and benefits
  • Obtain authorisation to proceed with sponsorship arrangement via a General Briefing Note and business case to the Director-General. This is to occur before any final agreement is developed and should be progressed through the CEP branch
  • Prepare sponsorship agreement:
  • ​Provide two copies of the agreement to the organisation for signing first 
  • The agreements are then signed by an officer with the relevant financial delegation (This can include Executive Directors and above.) 
  • Receive a report from the organisation at the end of the agreement
  • Register and report on all outgoing sponsorships annually to the CEP branch.
Receiving sponsorships – DET
  • Identify sponsorship opportunities and analyse risks, costs and benefits
  • Obtain authorisation to proceed with sponsorship arrangement via a General Briefing Note and business case to the Director-General. This in-principle agreement is to occur before any final agreement is developed and should be progressed through the CEP branch
  • Prepare a sponsorship proposal for potential sponsors detailing the initiative, target audience, level of investment required and sponsorship entitlements
  • Prepare sponsorship agreement:
  • ​Provide two copies of the agreement to the organisation for signing first. 
  • The agreements are then signed by an officer with the relevant financial delegation (This can include Executive Directors and above.) 
  • Prepare a sponsorship report for the sponsoring organisations
  • Register and report on all outing sponsorship annually to Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Annual reporting is coordinated by the CEP branch.
Display of Queensland Government or school emblem or logo
Whenever the Queensland Government or school emblem or logo is displayed as part of a joint acknowledgment or promotion, it should be of similar or greater size to that used by commercial partners. CEP branch can be consulted on appropriate use of logos in sponsorship arrangements.

Commercial billboard advertising
Commercial billboard advertising greater than four square metres is not permissible at Queensland state schools. The only exception is existing billboards already erected at individual sites prior to the implementation of this procedure.

Food and drinks of minimal nutritional value
Any sponsorship arrangements in state schools should be consistent with Smart Choices – the Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools. This includes sponsorship arrangements which involve direct access to food or drinks, the use of vouchers to promote food or drinks, and images, names or logos synonymous with the sale of food or drinks of minimal nutritional value. When considering advertising proposals involving foods or drinks, schools should act cautiously and consider the Guiding principles for applying Smart Choices in the school environment in the document Smart Choices@school events.

Regulators and sponsorship
Agencies with regulatory or inspectoral responsibilities should neither seek nor accept sponsorship from individuals or organisations that are, or are likely to be, subject to regulation or inspection during the term of the sponsorship agreement.

Where an agency considers a sponsorship agreement with an organisation it may regulate to be appropriate due to exceptional circumstances, Ministerial authorisation is required in advance to enter into sponsorship negotiations.

Similarly, corporate sponsorship of government research and vice versa, has the potential to be controversial and damaging to the agency. Processes to ensure the integrity of the research must be clearly established and documented. There may include having the research supervised by an independent third party, such as a university, to ensure its integrity.

Sponsorship procedures should provide for sponsorship to be terminated if occasions arise when the department’s sponsorship and regulatory interests conflict.

Sponsorship and purchasing
Purchasing and sponsorship activities of agencies should not influence decisions relating to each other. Responsible officers should discourage any perception that providing sponsorship is a pre-requisite for doing business with government, or that providing sponsorship to a corporation implies an advantage in government purchasing decisions.

Sponsorship agreements should contain a statement that highlights the independence and separation of purchasing and sponsorship decisions. It is important that decision-making processes are transparent and documented.

Recording
Records of all sponsorship agreements should be kept locally, including:
  • ​basic details of all agreements, including those less than $10 000
  • evidence that other organisations were given opportunity to compete (unless there were grounds for this not to occur)
  • all proposals and selection processes
  • business case approval
  • all budget and financial commitments
  • all transfers of goods and services, supported by relevant taxation invoices
  • approved use or application of sponsorship benefits
  • a copy of formal agreements
  • details of risks, benefits and costs associated with agreements, giving consideration to value of proposed agreements.
Evaluation
Sponsorship agreements are evaluated annually. For sponsorship agreements of $10 000 or less, this may be an informal process, provided it is appropriately recorded. For agreements valued more than $10 000, a formal process should be used, which includes consideration of each of the principles of this policy.

Issues to consider in evaluation process include:
  • number and profile of people reached under the arrangement
  • costs and benefits to the recipient and provider of sponsorship
  • payment processes
  • extent to which sponsor took up benefits offered as part of arrangement
  • overall satisfaction levels of school, sponsor, school community and relevant others
  • other potential opportunities that have arisen during period of contract
  • future recommendations.
Determining value for money
Value for money is not purely price driven and should not be interpreted simply as highest price when seeking sponsorship, or lowest price when providing sponsorship. Value for money is determined by a number of factors including:
  • strategic benefits and risks, if any, of proposed arrangement
  • relevance of offer to strategic goals and purpose of department and/or school
  • quality of product and its benefits
  • time and resources devoted to negotiating and managing sponsorship 
  • monetary value of goods.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
When determining value for money for sponsorship arrangements, be aware that such arrangements may have (GST) implications and that revenue from an arrangement should meet any GST liability. The department’s Corporate Taxation Unit can provide advice on GST. In addition, the Director, CEP can provide advice on determining market value.

GST may not be applicable if sponsorship is paid to a Parents and Citizens’ Association. Advice on this can be obtained from Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens’ Associations and/or the department’s Corporate Taxation Unit.

Online Resources

Review Date

14/03/2016
Attribution CC BY

Appropriate acknowledgment
Sponsors’ level of acknowledgment should be in proportion to their investment. A low value sponsor should receive a less prominent acknowledgment than a sponsor of greater value. 

Appropriate activity
Appropriate sponsorship maintains or enhances public confidence in the Department of Education and Training and the Queensland Government. For example, sponsor benefits and sponsored programs should be compatible with the ethos of the department.

Appropriate association
Refers to ensuring sponsorship activity is with organisations whose public image and products or services are compatible with the ethos of the department. 

Business Case
Prior to incoming or outgoing departmental sponsorship contracts being signed a short business case must first be approved by the relevant authority (see responsibilities). A business case outlines the risks, costs and benefits of proposed sponsorships. Refer to the Example Business Case for further information.

Commercial Billboard advertising
Billboard advertising refers to any signage advertising at a state school that is greater than four square metres.

Core funding
Money provided by department or government for day-to-day operation of programs and delivery of budgeted services. Sponsorship funds received should be used to value-add to this existing funding, but not replace it.

Donation or bequest
A gift, donation or a bequest is different from a sponsorship. A gift imposes no obligations on the recipient and offers little or no return to donor. A bequest is a form of donation, to be utilised for a specific purpose as directed by the benefactor.

Gifts to a non-profit body are not consideration for a supply (Goods and Services Tax (GST) does not apply).

According the DET Standard of Practice, ‘Donations may be accepted on behalf of the department for departmental use, but must be registered in accordance with the requirements of Part 2, of the Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009’ (DET employees only).

Financial Delegation
The amount of expenditure approval allocated to specific positions.

Fundraising
Activities that aim to raise funds for the school which are not based on advertising or sponsorship. The same key principles outlined in this procedure also apply to fundraising. (See Sponsorship and Fundraising Checklist for Schools and Parents and Citizens’ Associations)

Grant
A ‘grant’ is a generic term applied to funding or other incentives provided to individuals or bodies (including community groups, statutory bodies or commercial enterprises) that exhibit some, or all, of the following characteristics:

  • a transfer to a recipient which may be in return for compliance with certain terms and conditions
  • a transfer which may not directly give approximately equal value in return to the Government (that is, there is a non-exchange transaction or subsidisation), and
  • a recipient may have been selected on merit against a set of program-specific criteria.

Source: Queensland Treasury, Financial Accountability Handbook, Volume 6, Grant Management

Naming rights
A form of sponsorship where a sponsor, in addition to sponsorship benefits, has negotiated to have their name added as a prefix to the sponsored activity.

Naming rights in this context does not apply to naming of school buildings and facilities after a person, or persons, who have given meritorious service to school or public education.

Personal information
Personal information means information or an opinion, whether true or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion. This includes, but is not limited to name, telephone number of home address of students, parents or staff.

Product endorsement
Endorsement involves acting on behalf of a company to sell, recommend or promote a company, their products or services, or any other activity that could create a public perception that a school, other departmental unit or staff member is promoting or recommending an external organisation.

Examples of product endorsement include a letter from a Principal to parents endorsing, recommending or promoting a company’s products or services; or state school teachers providing favourable​ comment on an educational product on a public website, where they identify themselves as departmental employees.

Where departmental units (including schools) offer advertising opportunities via newsletters or other communication devices, they must ensure that all advertising arrangements are transparent, available to all acceptable organisations and do not suggest or imply endorsement. 

Promotion or incentive schemes 
Arrangements conducted by a company that are intended for commercial or other benefits, and which involve and reward students, teachers, schools or school systems for participating in such schemes.

Provision of goods in-kind
Instead of cash, some sponsors may prefer to provide goods or services, otherwise known as in-kind items. This may include event tickets, travel, press, radio and television coverage, as well as food, beverages and other consumer goods. This practice is acceptable provided:

  • parties agree on a fair and justifiable value (current market value) for items
  • value of items is included in total value of sponsorship agreement
  • benefits are for the organisation and not individuals organising sponsorship or sponsored initiative
  • processes are properly documented and managed
  • accountability is maintained
  • where goods are foods or drinks provided to school students, their supply is guided by Smart Choices, Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools). 

The department does not accept goods that are not of a satisfactory standard, simply because they are ‘free’ or ‘offered’. This does not constitute value for money.

Signage advertising
Signage advertising includes posters, placards, notices, signs and advertising structures to which such advertising is affixed to, painted on, or supported by.

Significant events
Results in significant economic, social and environmental impacts for the host community and usually involves a high level of involvement from the government or community in which the event is staged. They will be events that generally have whole-of-government and/or statewide implications. A significant event will meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • A significant contribution of additional government funding is required
  • There will be attendance of a significant number of international Heads of State, national or international Government Ministers or senior government officials
  • There is a requirement to coordinate a number of government agencies, including essential services
  • Event is considered to have a high risk for community and/or government.

Sponsorship
The association of the sponsor’s name, logo, products or services with the sponsored organisation’s service, product or activity. This is in return for negotiated and specific benefits such as cash or in-kind support or promotional opportunities. It involves a negotiated exchange and should result in tangible, material and mutual compensation for the principal parties to the arrangement. Sponsorship can take the form of cash and/or in-kind support.

Sponsorship does not include an offer by a company to provide the school with monetary support after a predetermined dollar amount has been spent with the company or a quantity of products have been purchased. This is a purchasing arrangement and should be treated as such.

In-kind or ‘contra’ sponsorship is the provision or receipt of goods or services to support or enhance an initiative at a reduced rate or free of charge. These arrangements are also liable for GST.

Incoming sponsorship is when a department or agency receives sponsorship monies from another party for an initiative and/or event.

Outgoing sponsorship is when a department provides sponsorship monies to another party for an initiative and/or event.

Sponsorship does not include monies paid through a bidding process to attract events.

Sponsorship does not include donations, philanthropic gestures, bequests or gifts, which impose no obligations on the receiver and offer little or no return to the donor. A sponsor expects to receive a reciprocal benefit beyond a modest acknowledgment.

Sponsorship does not include purchasing or selling goods or services for value, including advertising space, editorial comment or advertorials.

Sponsorship is not provided to individuals. The provision of funding to enable staff to attend training courses, personal development opportunities or other such activities is also not considered sponsorship.

In this context, sponsorship does not include students canvassing for funds (‘being sponsored’) for school or other activities.

There may be circumstances where GST does not apply to the sponsorship:

  • The organisation or recipient of the cash or in-kind contribution is not GST registered; or
  • The recipient is a not for profit organisation and has elected to treat the fund raising event as input taxed (no GST is charged on supplies and GST cannot be claimed on purchases/expenses).

For further information on taxation issues please contact the taxation team.

Sponsorship agreement
Means a legally-binding written contract between the department and an external organisation detailing the sponsorship relationships (including full terms and conditions) between the two entities.