Many Government information campaigns are sponsored by the private sector, and these help save lives in the home or on the roads. Similarly, partnerships with private sector sponsors can be a valuable means of promoting British industry abroad. But departments and individual civil servants must remain impartial as between competing companies. You should therefore take care to comply with these guidelines:
- Companies' support should add significant benefit to an existing Government message or campaign.
- There should be no overt commercial advantage to the sponsor in terms of direct sale of products or promotion of brands.
- The project should not be 100% dependent on sponsorship support for its funding.
- Sponsorship should be sought in an open and even-handed manner from businesses competing in a given field. A chosen sponsor's competitors should not be given grounds to complain that they were not given a fair chance.
- Sponsorship should be of activities and events, and not linked to individual Ministers or officials, lest those individuals appear to be placed under an obligation to the sponsor. There must be no suggestion that sponsors are being given privileged access to Ministers in return for the sponsorship.
- Department must not, and must not appear to, endorse the sponsoring company or its products.
- Sponsors must not be involved in, or seeking, a significant commercial relationship with departments, nor may they be affected by the department's role in making or enforcing legislation.
- Sponsorship of individual amounts of more than £5000 must be disclosed in the department's annual report. For this purpose, the value of in kind sponsorship should be measured by ascertaining what it would have cost the department to pay for the support that was provided, not what it cost the sponsor.