Conflict of Interest Policy.
Purpose and Scope.
Independent Strategic Advisory Board (ISAB) members have an obligation to act in the best interests,of Healthwatch Kingston Upon Hull (Healthwatch) in accordance with its governing document, and to avoid situations,where there may be a potential conflict of interest. Staff and some volunteers have similar obligations. This policy applies to ISAB members, staff, and volunteers whose roles are identified,as falling under this policy (collectively defined as members under this policy).
What is a Conflict of Interest?
Conflicts of interests may arise,where an individual’s personal or family interests,and or loyalties to some other individual,or group conflict with those of Healthwatch. Such conflicts may create problems; they can:
- inhibit free discussion.
- result in decisions,or actions that are not in the interests of Healthwatch and.
- risk the impression,that Healthwatch has acted improperly.
The aim of this policy is to protect,both Healthwatch and the individuals involved,from any appearance of impropriety.
Conflicts of interest may include,but are not limited to:
- Working for another organisation, whether NHS or Hull City Council related or not.
- Any directorships of companies,likely to have a commercial relationship,with the Hull City Council or the NHS.
- Voluntary or remunerated positions, such as trusteeship, local authority positions, other public positions.
- Membership of professional bodies,or mutual support organisations, including political parties.
- Investments in unlisted companies, partnerships and other forms of business, major shareholdings and beneficial interests.
- Gifts or hospitality offered to you,by external bodies and whether this was declined,or accepted in the last twelve months.
- Where a family member,or close personal relationship exists with an external body,or somewhere where you may be in a position,to award services to.
- Any other conflicts that are not covered by the above.
What to do if you face a Conflict of Interest.
All conflicts of interest, whether actual or potential, should be declared promptly,at the earliest possible opportunity.
If a member has any interest,in the matter under discussion, which creates a real danger of bias, they should declare the nature of the interest,and withdraw from the room, unless they have dispensation to speak.
If a member has any other interest,which does not create a real danger of bias, but which might reasonably cause others to think,it could influence their decision, they should declare the nature of the interest, but may remain in the room, participate in the discussion, and vote if they wish.
If a member is in any doubt,about the application of these rules, they should consult with,the Meeting New Horizons Chief Officer,or Delivery Manager.
If you fail to declare,an interest that is known to the Chief Officer,or Delivery Manager, they will declare this interest.
Decisions taken where an ISAB member,or Member of Staff has an Interest.
In the event,of the Healthwatch ISAB members,having to decide upon a question,in which an ISAB member 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.
All decisions under a conflict of interest,will be recorded 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.
Where an ISAB member benefits from the decision, this will be reported in the Annual Report and Accounts. All payments or benefits in kind to ISAB members,will be reported in the Annual Report and Accounts, with amounts for each member listed,for the year in question. Where a member of staff are connected to a party,involved in the supply of a service or product to Healthwatch, this information will also be fully disclosed,in the Annual Report and Accounts.
Declaration of Interests.
Board members, staff and volunteers are asked to declare their interests, and any gifts or hospitality received in connection,with their role in Healthwatch. A declaration of interests form is provided for this purpose, listing the types of interest you should declare.
To be effective, the declaration of interests needs to be updated,at least annually and also when any changes occur. If you are not sure what to declare, or whether and or when your declaration needs to be updated, please err on the side of caution. If you would like to discuss this issue, please contact the Meeting New Horizons Chief Officer,or Delivery Manager for confidential guidance.
A register of interests will be maintained,by the Delivery Manager. The register will be publicly accessible on the Healthwatch website,and available for inspection at the Healthwatch registered office. Declarations will also be published in the Annual Report and Accounts.
The information provided will be processed,in accordance with data protection principles,as set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and subsequent GDPR 2018. Data will be processed only to ensure that members,act in the best interests of Healthwatch. The information provided will not be used for any other purpose.