Cathrine M. Lofthus,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority
South Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority
Switchboard +47 62585500
Street address Parkgata 36, Hamar Leirvollen 21 A, Skien
Mailing address: Postboks 404, 2303 Hamar
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's ethical guidelines for the procurement of goods and services and contact with suppliers.
av Helse Sør-Øst RHF
1. Background and main principles
All employees of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority and anyone acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority shall act in accordance with good business practice, the applicable legislation and general ethical norms. The goal is to contribute to wealth creation in society by ensuring the most efficient use of resources in connection with public procurements. These guidelines shall also serve to ensure that the general public has confidence that public procurements are made in a socially beneficial manner. These ethical guidelines concern the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's relationships with its suppliers and the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's responsibility to society as a major purchaser of goods and services.
•Together with the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's core values, these guidelines form the overarching framework for procurements throughout the entire South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
•The guidelines shall ensure compliance with recommendations from the authorities concerning environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility in public procurements and the commitments that the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has undertaken through membership in the Ethical Trading Initiative alliance.
3. To whom the guidelines apply
These guidelines apply to all employees of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority; including all hospital trusts, subsidiaries, subdivisions and the regional health authority, consultants and all board members or elected representatives when acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. Managers have a particular responsibility to ensure that their employees are familiar with and act in compliance with the guidelines.
4. Relationship to other regulations
The requirements laid down in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's ethical purchasing guidelines are minimum requirements. Everyone must observe the legislation, regulations, circulars, relevant industry-specific ethical guidelines, and internal rules that apply to the organisation. Everyone who purchases goods or services on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has a duty to familiarise themselves with the Norwegian Public Procurement Act and appurtenant regulations.
No person may participate in the processing of or decision-making regarding a procurement if there are any circumstances that might undermine confidence in the individual's independence and/or impartiality. No one should under any circumstances process, decide or exert influence in a procurement if this person or a close associate of that person (friend, family member or close professional associate) has any direct or indirect financial or personal interest in the matter.
6. Financial framework
All employees of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority and all those acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority have a duty to adhere to the current budget and financial constraints before undertaking a procurement. The life cycle costs of the procurement must always be taken into account.
7. Relationship to suppliers and other business contacts
7.1 Duty of confidentiality
All information relating to the individual supplier's business operations that for competition reasons it is important to keep secret shall be treated as confidential.
7.2 Relationship to business contacts
It is natural that friendships develop between employees of the procuring agency and employees of the supplier in long-term agreements. These relationships must not influence decisions concerning future procurements. Extra caution must be exercised before and during a procurement process.
Suppliers must always be chosen in accordance with the basic requirements defined in the Norwegian Public Procurement Act, including ensuring that contracts are awarded on the basis of objective assessments that ensure real and fair competition in the procurement process.
Anyone acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has a duty to work to build confidence in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's decisions and safeguard the reputation of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
7.3 Loan of equipment from the supplier
Anyone acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority is obliged to exercise great caution when offered loan of equipment from a supplier. Loan agreements must not violate other signed purchase agreements or be an improper advantage that influences decisions on future or related procurements (e.g. purchase of consumables). Any financial consequences must always be assessed before the loan contract is signed.
7.4 Improper advantage and corruption
Corruption is abuse of trust for personal gain. Corruption occurs when a person requests, receives or accepts an offer of an improper advantage or reward by virtue of the position, office or assignment he/she holds. Both the giver and the recipient of such benefits can be convicted of corruption.
Trading in influence or influence peddling is also punishable by law. Trading in influence occurs when a person for him-/herself or others requests, receives or accepts an offer of an improper advantage in return for influencing the conduct of a position, office or assignment, or gives or offers anyone an improper advantage in return for influencing the conduct of a position, office or assignment.
Corruption and trading in influence are criminal offences and punishable under the Norwegian Penal Code. Both the individual person and the organisation found guilty of corruption or trading in influence are punishable by imprisonment or fines.
To prevent individual employees ending up in grey areas in respect of the penal provisions on corruption and trading in influence, all trips, gifts and other advantages are to be handled as follows:
•Travel expenses for professional purposes must be covered by a national education fund or by the individual employer within the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.
•Gifts of insignificant value are not considered an improper advantage, but special caution must be exercised if such gifts are given frequently. For health personnel, reference is also made to the regulations pursuant to Section 9 of the Norwegian Health Personnel Act (FOR 2005-08-29 no. 941) on the receipt by health personnel of gifts, etc. and annotations.
•"Improper advantage" includes not only material objects, but also other advantages, such as personal discounts on the purchase of goods and services or free loan of equipment for personal use. Exceptions may be made for specially negotiated agreements on employee benefits that an enterprise has signed.
7.5 Cooperation on research and development
In cases where there is close cooperation with suppliers on research and development projects, it is important to act with great caution to avoid actions in connection with the projects having any influence on future procurements. Experiences gained from such projects may be used in the design of specifications for ordinary tender competitions, but the companies from the development projects must not be involved in a way that precludes competition.
8. Ethical trade
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority shall be a driving force for ethical trading and undertakes to set requirements for an ethical supply chain wherever this is a relevant issue. As a member of the IEH (Ethical Trading Initiative Norway), the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority is committed to following the IEH Code of Conduct and to working for an improvement of labour and human rights and the environment in the production of goods and services for the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. In all regional procurements and other joint procurements, ethical requirements shall be set if a risk assessment of the product and supply chain so indicates. The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority will establish its own system for following up on suppliers.
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority shall be a driving force for sustainable procurements. During the planning of the individual procurement, costs relating to the use of the product throughout its entire lifetime (life cycle costs) and the environmental impact of its manufacture and disposal shall be taken into account.
9.1 Universal design
In the procurement process, it must be ensured that products, buildings and outdoor areas that are in general use are designed so that everyone can use them equally easily, as far as is possible, without any special adaptations or aids.
Before any procurement, the need for the procurement must always be considered carefully. Reduced consumption can yield substantial environmental benefits.
10. Loyalty to agreements
All employees of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority and anyone acting on behalf of the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority are required to comply with the contracts that have been signed for the purchase of goods or services. Purchase of goods outside of the contracts may undermine the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority's reputation and purchasing power. Suppliers must be able to trust that the enterprise adheres to the contracts that have been signed. Procuring goods or services outside of signed contracts also increases the risk of a breach of the Public Procurement Act and the risk of violations of other articles in these guidelines, such as the requirements concerning sustainability and ethical trade.
11. Sanctions in the event of violations of the applicable regulations
Disciplinary action may be instigated if an employee attempts to circumvent or violate any applicable regulations. Depending on the severity of the breach, violation of the regulations may result in a verbal or written warning, termination of employment, dismissal without notice, and, as applicable, filing an official report. Violation of the provisions of the Norwegian Penal Code may also result in public prosecution under criminal law. Employees in doubt as to how the guidelines should be interpreted should contact their immediate supervisor.