Conflict of Interest Policy
The purpose of this policy is to show clearly what steps we take to avoid both actual conflicts of interest, and perceived conflicts of interest, in the decisions made by the members of the PCC and its sub-committees.
In our church context we have many committee members who are church employees or church staff and are particularly likely to be affected by decisions of the PCC and its sub-committees.
Examples of a possible conflict of interest are:
- A decision is to be made about the standard of staff accommodation, and a member of the property committee is related to a member of staff.
- A decision is to be made about awarding a grant from the MSG to an individual, and members of the MSG are close personal friends of this individual.
Charity commission guidance
The Charity Commission states:
“We expect trustees to identify and address effectively any conflicts of interest that affect them or their charity. Trustees have a legal duty to act only in the best interests of their charity. They must not put themselves in any position where their duties as trustee may conflict with any personal interest they may have. A conflict of interest is any situation in which a trustee’s personal interests or loyalties could, or could be seen to, prevent the trustee from making a decision only in the best interests of the charity.”
A written policy is not a legal requirement but considered good practice.
At all meetings of the PCC and all its sub-committees there will be a standing item on the meeting agenda: “Declaration of Conflicts of Interest” for the topics discussed at that meeting.
A person with a conflict of interest may contribute to a discussion which affects them or a family member, however for the avoidance of doubt:
- Where conflicts of interest are declared the chair of the meeting has the option to ask the relevant person/people to step out of part of the meeting if it is necessary for the proper discussion of the topic.
- Where the person with the conflict of interest is the chair of the meeting, the committee members at that meeting will determine whether it is necessary for the chair to step out of the meeting for the proper discussion of the topic.
- The minutes of PCC and sub-committee meetings will record all declared conflicts of interest, and will record when someone has stepped out of a discussion because of a potential conflict of interest.