A conflict of interest is any situation in which the personal interests or interests owed to another body, of a trustee, employee or volunteer run counter to those of Exmouth Friends in Need.
Conflicts of interest occur in those situations where an individual trustee, employee or volunteer stands to gain directly or indirectly through engagement in activities which may potentially affect the Charity adversely. It will also occur if that individual is engaged with an organisation which has aims incompatible to those of the Charity.
Conflicts of interest can lead to decisions that are not in the best interests of the charity and which are invalid or open to challenge. Conflicts of interest can also damage a charity’s reputation or public trust and confidence in charities generally. These harmful effects can be prevented where individual trustees can identify conflicts of interest, and the trustee body can act to prevent them from affecting their decision making.
All trustees have a legal duty to act only in the best interests of their charity.
These conflicts of interest arise because, although the affected trustee does not stand to gain any benefit, the trustee’s decision making at the charity could be influenced by his or her other interests.
For example, a trustee’s loyalty to the charity could conflict with his or her loyalty to
The test is always that there is a conflict of interest if the trustee’s other interest could, or could be seen to, interfere with the trustee’s ability to decide the issue only in the best interests of the charity.
Although declaring conflicts of interest is primarily the responsibility of the affected trustee, the trustee body should ensure that they have strong systems in place so that individual trustees:
and understand their personal duty to declare them
All trustees should complete a Register of Interests of trustees on an annual basis and be alert to any other possible conflicts of interest and advise the Chair as soon as they arise.
Conflicts of interest is to be a standard agenda item at the beginning of each Board and Committee meeting to allow the opportunity for declaration of any actual or potential interest in any of the items on that agenda.
A trustee should declare any interest which he or she has in an item to be discussed, at the earliest possible opportunity and certainly before any discussion of the item itself.
If a trustee is uncertain whether or not he or she is conflicted, he or she should err on the side of openness, declaring the issue and discussing it with the other trustees.
If a trustee is aware of an undeclared conflict of interest affecting another trustee, they should notify the other trustees or the chair.
Keep a written record of the decision
The Commission expects the charity’s written records to document any conflicts of interest and how the trustees have dealt with them. The usual way to record the trustees’ decisions is in the minutes of their meetings.
Where there is a conflict of interest, the trustees should ensure that the written record of the decision shows:
Recording decisions in this way helps trustees to show that they have acted properly and complied with their duties.
The Commission’s guidance includes
It’s your decision: charity trustees and decision making (CC27)
Conflicts of interest: a guide for charity trustees (CC29)
Charity reporting and accounting: the essentials 2009 (CC15b).
This list is not intended to be exclusive but is indicative of the kind of issues that can arise.
Because of the nature of our involvement with our families we are unable to support two members of the same family with express permission from both parties.
Normally we will support the partner who has the children.
If this is shared 50/50 we will support the partner who has the child benefit.
We are unable to support our own family (and ex-family members) but will refer anyone we can not support onto other agencies with similar objectives eg Citizens Advice East Devon, Turntable, East Devon District Council.
If two family members approach EFIN and there is a history of domestic violence, we will support the partner who is in contact with Splitz or other domestic violence agencies.
3.2 Record the conflict of interest
Staff and volunteers working in these areas, plus trustees, will be asked to complete a declaration upon appointment which will be reviewed and updated each January.
A written record of reported conflicts of interest is to be maintained in a register which is to document any declarations of conflict of interest and how the charity have dealt with them, noting:
The nature of the conflict
The person(s) affected
How the management took the decision in the best interests of the charity