Strategies to manage 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 Disclosure of Conflict of Interests Form is available to all staff to complete and provide to their line manager 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 the role in question if a mitigation of risk is not possible1.

Suggestions to consider in developing a conflict management plan  

These options could be considered as part of a conflict management strategy. They are taken from University of Southern Queensland - Examples of conflict of interest.

  • Taking no further action because the potential for conflict is minimal or can be eliminated by disclosure and effective supervision
  • Having reported it to the appropriate person, recording the decision that there is no conflict, or that the potential for conflict is minimal
  • Disclosing the potential, perceived or actual conflict to those involved in making decisions relevant to the matter e.g. recruitment; purchasing; contracting; research etc 
  • Refraining from the decision-making process in his/her University role where the employee may have a personal interest
  • Forwarding any transactions requiring approval for payments to identified entities to a nominated oversight Manager for approval
  • Appointing an independent third party to oversee the integrity of the process or decision making
  • Appointing extra persons to a panel or committee to minimise the influence of the individual about whom the perception of conflict is held
  • Seeking the views of persons likely to be affected about the person continuing in the process
  • Restricting the access of the person to relevant information that is sensitive or confidential
  • Requesting the person to relinquish or divest the personal interest which creates the conflict or to make other arrangements
  • Seeking the relevant approvals for outside work
  • Removing the person from the responsibilities or duties to which the conflict relates
  • Making arrangements for members of boards and committees to absent themselves from debate or decision on specific matters
  • Seeking input from the Executive Director: People, Talent and Culture or the DVC: Research and Enterprise
  • Setting out the trigger triggers to escalate the situation for review of the management strategy.

1Information from University of Southern Queensland - Examples of conflict of interest.