Organisations must ensure the model conflict of interest policy reflects their level of conflict of interest risk.
This includes undertaking a risk assessment and building upon the minimum standards in the model policy to ensure high risk activities and functions are appropriately covered.
Activities and functions that may increase the risk of a conflict of interest
Conflicts of interest may arise anywhere in an organisation., However some activities and functions may put employees at greater risk of a conflict of interest because of their ability to make decisions that benefit others. These include:
Making binding decisions including:
- Issuing determinations on matters
- Passing binding judgments
- Exercising powers over planning and land development
Regulating individual or business activities including:
- Inspecting, regulating, or monitoring standards, businesses, equipment or premises
- Issuing qualifications or licences
- Issuing or reviewing fines or penalties
Distributing funds or other benefits including:
- Allocating grants of public funds
- Allocating subsidies, financial assistance, concessions, or other relief (including non-financial)
- Procuring goods or services
- Tendering for and managing contracts
- Making appointments to positions
Private interests that may increase the risk of a conflict of interest
Organisations should remind employees of their obligations to avoid or, if this is not possible, to manage any conflicts between their public duty and their personal interests.
All employees have private interests. In some circumstances their private interests may conflict with their public duties. Factors that employees should consider include:
Financial matters including:
- Financial and economic interests (such as significant liabilities, assets including shareholdings, real estate holdings, investments or other financial interests)
- Family or private business interests
- Interests such as trust or nominee companies, directorships or partnership holdings
Prosptective employment including:
- Promise or prospect of future employment with a person or organisation that the employee interacts with as part of their public duties.
Other public duties including:
- Access to privileged or confidential information in another public sector role
- Holding two or more public sector roles with conflicting accountabilities
Family and personal relationships including:
- Obligations to family or friends
- Competition with another person or group
Group affiliations including:
- Affiliations with not-for-profit, social or community organisations
- Affiliations with political, or professional organisations
Gifts, benefits and hospitality risks
Receiving gifts, benefits or hospitality can create a perception of a conflict of interest where decisions are made involving the giver of such gifts or benefits. The VPSC has set minimum accountabilities and provided guidance for the effective management of gifts, benefits and hospitality. See the Gifts, benefits and hospitality page for further information.
Your organisation’s conflict of interest policies and procedures should be linked to its policies and procedures for the giving and receiving of gifts, benefits and hospitality.