Declaring a Conflict of Interest – All Staff

Disclosing an interest

There is nothing unusual or inherently wrong with a conflict of interest arising. It is how the conflict is dealt with that is important and this requires appropriate and careful consideration.  If you find yourself in a position of an actual, potential or a perceived conflict of interest you must declare it so that action can be taken to assess the risk and, where required, to manage or mitigate it. The University provides an on-line Declaration of Conflict of Interest form to assist you complete this task. In the Declaration of a Conflict of Interest form you will be asked to provide the following details (as relevant):

  • The matter to which the conflict relates, including dates of the conflict arising and the disclosure being made;
  • The nature and details of conflict (actual, potential or perceived, pecuniary/non-pecuniary etc);
  • Your proposed plan to manage or address the conflict;
  • Your details;
  • Your supervisor’s details.

The process

Once you have filled out the Declaration, it will be forwarded to your supervisor who will review your disclosure and determine whether an actual, potential, or perceived conflict of interest exists and consider the management plan for the circumstances.  The management plan will be recorded on the Declaration Form and a copy of the declaration will be recorded confidentially on the Register of Declaration of Conflict of Interests.

The Declaration of a Conflict of Interest Form provides a record of your action. It is an opportunity for an independent judgement to be made about the status of the conflict and the appropriateness of the management plan and ensure it is implemented if it is considered necessary to resolve or otherwise mitigate the conflict. The Declaration must be updated if the circumstances change.

If you have formally declared a conflict through the register of Declarations of Conflict, and knowledge of that conflict could impact on a process or a decision made by another University staff member in the course of their duties, or in a different situation, you are obliged to inform that person of the conflict and the strategies to mitigate the risk.

If your personal circumstances change which may impact on your duties or research and could or do lead to an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest, you should lodge a Declaration of Conflict of Interest.

Privacy protections

All declarations will be managed in a manner consistent with the requirements of the University Privacy Policy, the Management of Conflict of Interest Policy, the relevant procedures, and the law. UniSA’s requirement for confidentiality relating to the use of personal information  will apply.

If you are uncertain about how to describe or define your conflict, or unsure whether it is an actual, potential or perceived conflict, please read the guidance notes on this website for further advice and suggestions on how to manage a conflict.

Is this the only way I can disclose a conflict?

Using the Declaration of a Conflict of Interest form will depend on the situation in which the conflict of interest arises.  For example, if you are placed on a staff selection panel where one of the candidates is a colleague, relative or close friend, you would need to make an immediate declaration to the Chair of the selection panel and withdraw from the panel. Where this is not possible due to the specialist nature of the role or the relationship, and the Chair determines that you can remain on the panel, then you would complete a Declaration of Conflict of Interest subsequently to document the agreed conflict management strategy. This would ensure a record exists of how the conflict was managed.  

Failure to disclose or avoid a conflict of interest

Failure to disclose or avoid a conflict of interest is a breach of this policy and a potential breach of the Staff Code of Conduct and could result in disciplinary action for misconduct/serious misconduct in line with the provisions of the current UniSA Enterprise Agreement.

Any reasonable suspicion of corruption, or serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration resulting from failure to disclose, address or manage conflicts of interest will be reported to the Office of Public Integrity.