Guidelines for determining if a conflict of interest exists

Assessing a conflict of interest situation overall is to ask:

Would a reasonable disinterested observer think that an individual’s competing private interests conflict, appear to conflict or could conflict in the future with the individual’s duty to act in the University’s best interests?

In determining whether the above test is met, an individual should consider the following questions:

  • Could the individual or anyone associated with the individual benefit from or be detrimentally affected by the proposed decision or action, now or in the future?
  • Does the individual have a current or previous personal, professional or financial relationship of any significance with an interested party?
  • Does the individual or someone with whom they have a close personal relationship stand to gain or lose financially in some way?
  • Has the individual contributed in a private capacity in any way to the matter that the University is dealing with?
  • Has the individual received a gift, benefit or hospitality from someone who stands to gain or lose from the individual’s proposed decision or action?
  • Is the individual a member of an association, club or professional organisation, or does the individual have particular ties and affiliations with organisations or individuals who stand to gain or lose by the individual’s proposed decision or action?
  • Could the situation have an influence on any future employment opportunities outside the individual’s current duties?
  • Would there be any concerns if the competing private interest and the action taken (or not taken) by the University was disclosed on the front page of a newspaper or via electronic media?