Transcript: What is sensitive expenditure?

Transcript for a video explaining what sensitive expenditure is.

Title: Office of the Auditor-General logo

Title: What is sensitive expenditure?

Karin Lasthuizen, Victoria University of Wellington

Sensitive expenditure is expenditure that could be seen as giving private benefit to an organisational member, additional to the business benefit to the organisation.

It's a tricky area, because sensitive spending is not just about complying with the rules. Stakeholders' perceptions of the expenditure and their sense of its appropriateness is equally important. Especially when being in the public eye, sensitive expenditure might feel like walking on eggshells. Trust and confidence are easily lost and can be very hard to win back.

Sensitive expenditure is a difficult area and ethics need practice and experience just as with financial, legal or political decisions. Sometimes there are new challenges, such as operating in environments with different values and norms, for example in public-private partnerships or overseas in more corrupt countries. And what is considered ethical behaviour changes over time and old guidelines might need adjustment.

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