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Departmental Official Hospitality

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the five most expensive hospitality events hosted by his Department and its agencies were in the last three years; and what (a) the cost and (b) purpose of each such event was. (324657)

The Department is unable to provide information on the five most expensive events hosted by the Department and its agencies, where hospitality has been offered, as this information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Department's Code of Business Conduct states that a blanket ban on accepting or providing hospitality is neither practical nor desirable from a business point of view.

However, there must be a real business benefit to providing or accepting hospitality, as public money must not be used to fund occasions such as social gatherings, retirement or office parties.

This is in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.