Conflicts of Interest
What is a conflict of interest?
A conflict of interest happens when an individual's personal interests – family, friendships, financial, or social factors – could compromise their judgment, decisions, or actions in the workplace.
Why do we need to manage them?
NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin receives a significant amount of public funds to spend on healthcare for its population. We therefore have to make sure that anyone acting on our behalf, whether this is a board or committee member, GP, staff member or a contractor, act with impartiality when making decisions on how this budget is spent, and they do not use their role to further their own private interests or those of anyone they know.
How does we manage conflicts of interest?
Conflicts of interest are inevitable when commissioning services, so how we manage them is crucial. We do this by having a:
- Conflicts of Interest Policy and Standards of Business Conduct Policy, which are included in our Governance Handbook. As well as a Declaration of Gifts, Hospitality & Sponsorship Policy and Procedure. These set out how we wish our board and committee members, staff and contractors to behave and the measures we will take to manage conflicts of interest
- Register of Interests for all our staff, staff involved in our business, contractors and board and committee members. This clearly set out everyone’s interests so it is much easier to identify a conflict and manage it
- Register of Gifts, Hospitality and Sponsorship showing where offers of gifts, hospitality and sponsorship have been made and if these have been declined or accepted
- Register of Procurement Decisions to show how we have managed conflicts of interest relating to procurement/contractual decisions
- Register of Conflicts of Interest Breaches. This ensures that where there is a breach of the Conflicts of Interest Policy it is written down and lessons learned are shared more widely.
To further strengthen our management of conflicts of interest, we have appointed the Chair of our Audit Committee as our Conflicts of Interest Guardian. This role, alongside our Director of Corporate Affairs, works to:
- Act as a link for GP practice staff, members of the public and healthcare professionals who have any concerns around conflicts of interest
- Be a safe point of contact for employees, contractors, board and committee members to raise any concerns around this policy
- Support the rigorous application of conflict of interest principles and policies
- Provide independent advice and judgement where there is any doubt about how to apply conflicts of interest policies and principles in an individual situation
- Provide advice on minimising the risks of conflicts of interest.
- More details on this role are contained in the Conflicts of Interest Policy.
Hard copies of all the registers are also available to view upon request at our Headquarters.
Any suspicions or concerns of acts of fraud or bribery can be reported - see our Fraud Bribery and Corruption Policy and Anti-Fraud and Corruption information page, or report online via https://cfa.nhs.uk/reportfraud or via the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line on 0800 0284060 which provides a confidential route for reporting of genuine suspicions of fraud within or affecting the NHS. All calls are dealt with by experienced trained staff and any caller who wishes to remain anonymous may do so.