The purpose of this policy is to help the Management Committee of Ambulance Wish Western Australia effectively identify, disclose and manage any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in order to protect the integrity of Ambulance Wish Western Australia and manage risk.
The Management Committee aims to ensure that its members are aware of their obligation to disclose any conflicts of interest that they may have, and to comply with this policy to ensure they effectively manage those conflicts of interest as representatives of Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
This policy applies to the Management Committee members of Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
4. Definition of conflicts of interests
A conflict of interest occurs when a person’s personal interests conflict with their responsibility to act in the best interests of the charity.
Personal interests include direct interests, as well as those of family, friends, or other organisations a person may be involved with or have an interest in (for example, as a shareholder).
It also includes a conflict between a board member’s duty to Ambulance Wish Western Australia and another duty that the board member has (for example, to another charity). A conflict of interest may be actual, potential or perceived and may be financial or non-financial.
This policy has been developed to address conflicts of interest affecting Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
Conflict of interest are common, and they do not need to present a problem to the charity as long as they are openly and effectively managed.
It is the policy of Ambulance Wish Western Australia, as well as a responsibility of the board, that ethical, legal, financial or other conflicts of interest be avoided and that any such conflicts (where they do arise) do not conflict with the obligations to Ambulance Wish Western Australia.
Ambulance Wish Western Australia will manage conflicts of interest by requiring Management Committee members to:
- avoid conflicts of interest where possible
- identify and disclose any conflicts of interest
- carefully manage any conflicts of interest, and
- follow this policy and respond to any breaches.
5.1. Responsibility of the board
The Management Committee is responsible for:
- establishing a system for identifying, disclosing and managing conflicts of interest across the charity
- monitoring compliance with this policy, and
- reviewing this policy on an annual basis to ensure that the policy is operating effectively.
The charity must ensure that its Management Committee members are aware of the ACNC governance standards, particularly governance standard 5, and that they disclose any actual or perceived material conflicts of interests as required by governance standard 5.
5.2. Identification and disclosure of conflicts of interest
Once an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest is identified, it must be entered into Ambulance Wish Western Australia register of interests, as well as being raised with the Management Committee.
Where every other Management Committee member shares a conflict, the Management Committee should refer to ACNC Governance Standard 5 to ensure that proper disclosure occurs.
The register of interests must be maintained by the Secretary. The register must record information related to a conflict of interest (including the nature and extent of the conflict of interest and any steps taken to address it).
5.3 Confidentiality of disclosures
Under normal circumstances the secretary of Ambulance Wish Western Australia will have access to the information disclosed, however, if necessary to ensure an alternative disclosure mechanism one or more other members of the management committee may have access.
6. Action required to manage conflicts of interest
6.1. Conflicts of interest of board members
Once the conflict of interest has been appropriately disclosed, the Management Committee (excluding the Management Committee member who has made the disclosure, as well as any other conflicted Management Committee member) must decide whether or not those conflicted Management Committee members should:
- vote on the matter (this is a minimum),
- participate in any debate, or
- be present in the room during the debate and the voting.
In exceptional circumstances, such as where a conflict is very significant or likely to prevent a Management Committee member from regularly participating in discussions, it may be worth the Management Committee considering if it is appropriate for the person conflicted to resign from the Management Committee.
6.2. What should be considered when deciding what action to take
In deciding what approach to take, the Management Committee will consider:
- whether the conflict needs to be avoided or simply documented
- whether the conflict will realistically impair the disclosing person’s capacity to impartially participate in decision-making
- alternative options to avoid the conflict
- the charity’s objects and resources, and
- the possibility of creating an appearance of improper conduct that might impair confidence in, or the reputation of, the charity.
The approval of any action requires the agreement of at least a majority of the Management Committee (excluding any conflicted Management Committee member/s) who are present and voting at the meeting.
The action and result of the voting will be recorded in the minutes of the meeting and in the register of interests.
7. Compliance with this policy
If the Management Committee has a reason to believe that a person subject to the policy has failed to comply with it, it will investigate the circumstances.
If it is found that this person has failed to disclose a conflict of interest, the Management Committee may take action against them. This may include seeking to terminate their relationship with the charity.
If a person suspects that a board member has failed to disclose a conflict of interest, they must discuss with the person in question, notify the board, or the person responsible for maintaining the register of interests.