The NDAR (the Association), as a registered charity, has a legal obligation to identify and manage any conflicts of interest that arise in the course of conducting its business. It is inevitable that in a relatively small community, such as Bellringing, potential conflicts of interest WILL arise. While this potential should not exclude individuals becoming members, officers or trustees of the Association, it is essential that the Association establishes an awareness and process that enables it to identify where potential conflicts of interest exist and for it to take appropriate actions to eliminate the risk of such potential conflicts of interest affecting decisions that the Association takes.
This policy document has been drafted with the assistance of the Charity Commission’s conflicts of interest guidance notes that can be found here : Charity Commission Conflicts of Interest Guide
Identifying Conflicts of Interest
A potential conflict of interest arises where a member, officer or trustee of the Association has an interest in a decision or action being taken by the Association AND he / she is in a position to influence that decision or action. This interest need not necessarily be just financial. For example, a member closely associated with a bell restoration project that applies to the Association for funding or other support would have a potential conflict of interest.
It is therefore incumbent on all members, officers and trustees to be vigilant of such potential and, where it arises, bring the potential conflict to everyone’s attention so that appropriate action can be taken. Ideally, such potential conflict will be declared upfront by the individual concerned, however, this may not always be the case and it is advisable to start all decision / recommendation taking discussions with the question; “are there any potential conflicts of interest here?”.
Preventing Conflicts of Interest
Decision making in the Association is distributed between various “informal” groups, branch meetings, Standing Committee meetings and the Association AGM. It is essential that, at whatever forum recommendations and / or decisions are taken, that any potential conflicts are taken into account. Where a member, officer or trustee is potentially conflicted, that person (or persons) should ideally be completely excluded from decision making discussions and related votes. This will protect both the individual concerned and ensure the other decision makers involved do not feel intimidated by that individual’s presence in the actual decision making process.
Recording Conflicts of Interest
When documenting recommendations and decisions (e.g. such as in meeting minutes), potential conflicts of interest must be recorded and the actions taken by that forum / meeting to manage the potential conflict also documented.
Approval and Future Update of this Policy
This policy was approved by Standing Committee on 29 February 2020