Managing a conflict of interest

There are some circumstances, where declaring the perceived, potential or actual conflict may be sufficient to adequately mitigate or manage the conflict. The Declaration of a Conflict of Interest Form is available to all staff to complete and provide to their supervisor or relevant party e.g. Panel Chair; Board Chair etc.

Other strategies to consider:

  • Removal from situation or conflict. 
  • Restricted involvement in the situation or conflict and documenting this involvement.
  • Engaging an independent third party to oversee part or all of the relevant activity or process.
  • Relinquishing an interest which is ongoing, unacceptable and/or likely to damage the reputation of the University.

In some cases, it may be necessary or advisable to resign from a particular role if mitigating the risk of conflict is not possible1.

Suggestions to consider in developing a conflict management plan  

The following options could be considered and recorded as part of a conflict management strategy.

  • Taking no further action because the potential for conflict is minimal or can be eliminated by disclosure and effective supervision.
  • Disclosing the potential, perceived or actual conflict to those involved in making. decisions relevant to the matter and identifying agreed strategies to mitigate this and recording in a conflict management plan.
  • Refraining from participating in a decision-making process where a personal interest is apparent
  • Referring decisions on financial transactions, where there is conflict to another appropriate Manager for oversight and approval
  • Appointing independent reviewers to oversee the integrity of the process or decision-making
  • Appointing additional members to a panel or committee to minimise the influence of the individual about whom the perception of conflict is held
  • Restricting the access of the person who may be conflicted to relevant information that is sensitive or confidential
  • Requesting the person relinquish or divest the personal interest which creates the conflict or to make other arrangements
  • Modifying a research proposal or plan to remove or mitigate conflict
  • Removing the person from the responsibilities or duties to which the conflict relates
  • Seeking public disclosure of a researcher's financial interest in any research sponsor or the commercial success of any strategy, product or service.
  • Arranging for members of boards and committees to absent themselves from debate or decision on specific matters where they may be conflicted.