Aim: the aim of this standard operating procedure is to ensure that there is a policy for managing conflicts of interest as part of our governance procedures
Rationale: EdAct is required to have a policy on managing conflicts of interest. Members, Trustees, Governors and Staff of EdAct have an obligation to act in the best interests of Trust, and in accordance with Trust’s governing documents and policies. Conflicts of interests may arise where an individual’s personal or family interests and/or loyalties conflict with those of Trust
Such conflicts may create problems; they can:
- Inhibit free discussion;
- Result in decisions or actions that are not in the interests of the Trust; and
- Risk the impression that Trust has acted improperly.
The aim of this procedure is to protect both the organisation and the individuals involved from any appearance of impropriety.
This policy applies to Members, Trustees, Governors and staff of EdAct.
The declaration of interests
All Members, Trustees, Governors and staff with purchasing authority are required to declare their interests annually by completing the Register of Business Interests pro forma. The original is held by the school on behalf of the Trust. The Bribery Prevention SOP refers to practice when offered gifts or hospitality received in connection with the role of Member, Trustee, Governor or member of staff.
To be effective, the declaration of interests needs to be updated at least annually, and also when any changes occur.
Members, Trustees, Governors and Staff of EdAct are advised that if not sure what to declare, or whether/when any declaration needs to be updated, that they should err on the side of caution. The Chair of the Board of Trustees will provide advice and it is his responsibility to ensure that professional advice (i.e. from the auditors) is sought where necessary.
Interests will be recorded on the governing body’s register of interests, which will be maintained by Clerk. The register will be available on request.
At each meeting, the clerk will ask for any conflicts of interest to be declared.
The information provided will be processed in accordance with data protection principles as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998. Data will be processed only to ensure that Members, Trustees, Governors and Staff of EdAct act in the best interests of Trust. The information provided will not be used for any other purpose.
What to do if you face a conflict of interest
If you are a user of Trust’s services, or the parent/carer of someone who uses Trust’s services, you should not be involved in decisions that directly affect the service that you, or the person you care for, receive(s). You should declare your interest at the earliest opportunity and withdraw from any subsequent discussion. The same applies if you face a conflict for any other reason. You may, however, participate in discussions from which you may indirectly benefit, for example where the benefits are universal to all users, or where your benefit is minimal.
If you fail to declare an interest that is known to the Clerk, the Clerk will declare that interest.
Decisions taken where a Member, Trustee or Governor of EdAct has an interest
In the event of the Trust or Governing Body having to decide upon a question in which a Trustee or Governor has an interest, all decisions will be made by vote, with a simple majority required. A quorum must be present for the discussion and decision; interested parties will not be counted when deciding whether the meeting is quorate.
Interested board members may not vote on matters affecting their own interests. They must absent themselves from the discussion and the decision-making process.
All decisions under a conflict of interest will be recorded by Clerk and reported in the minutes of the meeting. The report will record:
- The nature and extent of the conflict;
- An outline of the discussion;
- The actions taken to manage the conflict.
If you have a conflict of interest, you must not be involved in managing or monitoring a contract in which you have an interest. Monitoring arrangements for such contracts will include provisions for an independent challenge of bills and invoices, and termination of the contract if the relationship is unsatisfactory.
This SoP will be reviewed annually after the accounts are complete and following any issue raised by auditors or other professionals.