Conflict of Interest Policy
CONFLICT OF INTEREST POLICY
Purpose and Scope
1. Independent Strategic Advisory Body (ISAB) membershave an obligation to act in the best interests of Healthwatch North Lincolnshire (Healthwatch)in accordance with itsgoverning 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?
2. Conflicts of interests may arise where an individual’s personal or family interests and/or loyalties to some other individual/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 Healthwatchand
- risk the impression that Healthwatch has acted improperly
3. The aim of this policy is to protect both Healthwatch and the individuals involved from any appearance of impropriety
4. Conflicts of interest may include but are not limited to:
- working for another organisation, whether NHS or North Lincolnshire Council related or not;
- any directorships of companies likely to have a commercial relationship with the North Lincolnshire 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 Interes
5. All conflicts of interest, whether actual or potential, should be declared promptly at the earliest possible opportunity
6. If a member has anyinterest 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
7. If a member has anyother interest which does not create a realdanger of bias, but which might reasonablycause others to think it could influence theirdecision, they should declare the nature ofthe interest, but may remain in the room,participate in the discussion, and vote ifthey wish
8. If a member is in any doubt about the application of these rules, they should consult with the Hull CVS/Meeting New Horizons Chief Officer or Delivery Manager
9. 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
10. 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 majorityrequired. 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.
11. 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.
12. Where an ISAB member benefits from the decision, this will be reported in the Annual Report. All payments or benefits in kind to ISAB members will be reported in the Annual Report, 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.
Declaration of Interests
13. ISAB 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.
14. 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/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.
15. A register of interests will be maintained by the Delivery Manager. The register will be publically accessible on the Healthwatch website and available for inspection at the Healthwatch registered office. Declarations will also be published in the Annual Report.
16. 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.