transforming communities through charitable investment


Do conflicts of interest on your Board put a break on the decision making process?

Over the years we have worked with numerous organisations where matters that are seen to be conflicts of interest have threatened their progress and even existence. Common issues have included:

  • The position and involvement of the founder/CEO;
  • Lack of impartiality because of a Trustee or CEO’s personal position and professional or public interest;
  • Personal relationship between a Trustee and the CEO;
  • A funder or service user appointed as Trustee;
  • Trustees who have held positions with competing organisations;
  • Trustees whose partner or relative is a member of the staff team.

Whilst some of these issues can be quite common in the sector, they remain largely unchallenged or untested for the impact they can potentially have on the organisation.

To avoid fire-fighting when issues arise, our advice is:

  • Familiarise yourself with guidance from the Charities Commission;
  • Keep service users and the community as the focus of your objectives and discussions;
  • Implement a Board review process, ensuring it is consistent, transparent and objective;
  • Promote a culture that allows anyone to challenge an area or behaviours that seem conflicting;
  • Have the Board to sign up to an etiquette or code of conduct policy;
  • Ensure that communications are managed throughout your organisation and also externally if there is any exposure;
  • Reflect conflicting issues on your risk management framework, particularly if they could have strategic consequences.

Managing conflict effectively is in everyone’s interest. This is often easier said than done, especially if it is difficult to challenge the status quo.

We are currently offering a free conflict of interest session if booked with our “Excellence in Governance” training package.

To place a booking or for a confidential steer on managing your conflict of interest problem, please email

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