To set out principles and means for handling conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment.
Overview of the principles and means for handling conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment.
This Policy applies across BAACTI.
Conflict of Interest occurs when the private interest of a committee member may influence or compromise the conduct of that committee member in the conduct of their activities at BAACTI, including when making decisions, determining research directions or unduly influencing relationships between that person, their colleagues and students. Apparent or perceived conflicts may undermine trust and be as damaging as an actual conflict.
Conflict of Commitment occurs when the private interests or non-BAACTI activities may harm or interfere with the productivity and involvement of committee members. This refers to an individual’s distribution of efforts between employment obligations to BAACTI and to outside professional activities. In this policy “conflict” or “conflict of interest” also includes a conflict of commitment.
Close personal relationship means a relationship with persons who are relatives, other financial dependent persons, a de facto partner (defined as a person who has committed to long term personal relationship with another person of the same or opposite gender) or any person with whom there is currently, or has been in an intimate relationship. It is not intended that relationships which exist due to ordinary collegiate academic collaboration fall into this category.
Committee member means a person who is elected by the members to serve on the committee.
Financial Interest means any right, claim, title or legal share in something having a monetary or equivalent value. Examples of Financial Interest include, but are not limited to, shares, share options, and the right to receive remuneration, such as salary, consulting fees, allowances, discounts and the like. Excluded from this definition is an investment by a superannuation, mutual, pension or other institutional investment fund in which a committee member has an interest but over which the committee member does not exercise control.
Significant Financial Interest means:
- A committee member or those with a close personal relationship with that committee member
- Holding a remunerated management or scientific advisory position in an External Entity.
- The option to obtain equity or the close proximity of equity in a potential new External Entity; or
- A long-term exclusive or otherwise significant consulting arrangement with an External Entity in a contractual relationship with BAACTI (for example, where a committee member receives an annual income in excess of $10,000 from such an entity).
An equity position will not be considered a Significant Financial Interest unless:
- The equity represents a significant share in the External Entity (in general, a holding of over 5% of the company’s shares would be presumed to be significant; holdings of less that 5% will require case-by-case consideration); or
- The proposed license or the originator’s future research is likely to have a significant impact on the value of the company.
External Entity means any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, franchise, association, organisation, company, business, or any other legal entity organised for profit, which is not BAACTI or an entity controlled by BAACTI, or a governmental entity.
Standards of Conduct
- BAACTI has a responsibility to ensure that its official activities and those of its committee and members conform to acceptable standards of integrity and good administrative conduct. It is the policy of BAACTI that its committee, and others acting on its behalf avoid ethical, legal, financial, or other conflicts of interest, and ensure that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligations to BAACTI or its welfare.
- The BAACTI rules refers to the general standards of conduct expected of BAACTI committee. The increasing complexity of conflicts, including those of personal relationships and financial gain from outside commercial activities, make clear principles and procedures essential. The provisions of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 bind committee members to behave in good faith, avoid conflicts of interest and commitment and act with propriety when making decisions about BAACTI matters.
- Members of committee also have a common law obligation of confidentiality and loyalty of service to the BAACTI, and must ensure that sensitive and confidential matters relating to the work or administration of BAACTI are not improperly disclosed, either internally or externally.
Commercial Conflicts are potential conflicts in which the BAACTI has a particular interest and must be disclosed such as:
- Fiduciary relationships means being a director, partner, or trustee is an example of the creation of a fiduciary relationship. If that relationship is owed to an External Entity there is real potential for a person’s obligations to that External Entity to conflict with any obligation the may owe to BAACTI, particularly where that person is a committee member. Committee members should not be in a position to direct BAACTI resources that can influence an External Entity’s development if they are directors or shareholders in it. Potential conflicts between a person’s role with that External Entity and their BAACTI role are likely to be such that the person may be unable to hold both a BAACTI position and a position with the External Entity.
Other Conflicts also requiring disclosure are:
- Remunerated or honorary positions and other connections with educational institutions which may give rise to a conflict of interest, including relevant external government or public committees, such as research councils, charities, government departments, professional bodies and training organisations.
- Gifts or offers of gifts of significant value, other than official gifts, and ex gratia payments.
Potential Areas of Conflict
- There are many possible conflicts of interest or commitment. Conflicts can arise from commercial interests, ethical, political or religious views or personal relationships.
- The potential for a conflict does not necessarily imply wrongdoing on anyone’s part. BAACTI requires the principles underpinning this policy to be applied to resolve conflicts whenever they arise.
- The most common are those arising from commercial interests and close personal relationships and this policy provides some additional guidance on managing such conflicts.
Financial conflicts of interest may arise:
- Where a committee member, who has budgetary responsibilities for procurement, also has a personal interest (or a person with whom the member has a close personal relationship has a personal interest) in an activity that is to be funded out of that project;
- With respect to BAACTI financial decisions in which the committee member is involved, including but not limited to investments, loans, purchases or sales of goods, services, equity (shares) and financial accounting decisions;
- With respect to matters with both financial and non-financial implications, such as decisions about the use of BAACTI equipment and facilities.
- BAACTI recognises that the disclosure by an individual of a potential conflict could involve the disclosure of personal information. BAACTI adheres to the Privacy Act 1988 and will treat information provided in accordance with its principles. Any individual who is concerned about the potential ramifications of disclosing particular information may raise their concerns directly with the President, particularly if they feel it is inappropriate to disclose such information to the committee. The President will determine how and to whom any information is subsequently disclosed bearing in mind the requirements of this policy and the privacy of the individual concerned.