In accordance with the Law ‘conflict of interest’ means “a situation where a person has a private interest which may improperly influence or be seen to improperly influence his public duties and responsibilities, or that of a connected person, in circumstances suggesting that the person concerned knew or ought reasonably to have known of the connection or possible connection, direct or indirect, between his duties and responsibilities and his private interest,” (section 2 of the Law).
What is the difference between an Apparent and a Potential Conflict of Interest?
An apparent conflict of interest exists when an interest would not necessarily influence the person but could result in the person's objectivity being questioned by others.
A potential conflict of interest exists with an interest that any reasonable person could be uncertain about whether or not it should be reported.
Tips to Prevent Conflicts of Interest
Ensure compliance with the Law regarding:
filing annual declarations for the Register of Interests (sections 11 and 12);
timely disclosure of conflicts of interest and observed procedures for dealing with them (section 29); and
compliance with the Nolan Principles (Schedule 2).
Ensure compliance with the Regulations, including declaring any gifts (of a value indicated in the Instructions for submitting declarations) received;
Observance and compliance with policies and procedures for mitigating and managing conflicts of interest;
Implement sanctions for any breach of the Board’s established policies and procedures;
Ensure board members are trained in all relevant policies, procedures, and legislation to ensure awareness of their accountabilities;
Include ‘conflicts of interest’ as a risk to be assessed in the Board’s internal audit and on-going overall risk management processes;
Include information on processes for managing conflicts of interest in documents aimed at external stakeholders (such as a statement of business ethics or client service charter);
Remind members of the requirement to refrain from placing themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might influence the performance of other official duties that might influence or might be perceived to influence the performance of their official duties; and
Ensure members, in the discharge of their duties are at all times: