Fri, 31 Mar 2023
Conflict of Interest Policy
This policy outlines Metavision Institute’s approach to managing actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest. Metavision Institute aims to conduct its higher education operations in a transparent, accountable and impartial manner, and to ensure that students and staff are treated equitably and fairly. All members of Metavision Institute’s higher education community are expected to act with integrity, and not inappropriately influence a decision or process, or act according to their own personal benefit.
This policy applies to all members of Metavision Institute’s higher education community who may be in a position to inappropriately influence decisions according to their own interests, including Board and Committee members, staff, contractors, volunteers, and students.
Conflict of interest: a situation where there is a divergence between the individual interests of a person and their professional responsibilities such that an independent observer might reasonably conclude that the professional actions of that person may be unduly influenced by their own interests. This includes actual, perceived or potential, and financial and non-financial, conflicts of interest.
Relevant TEQSA Threshold Standards
This policy aligns with Sections 6.1 Corporate Governance and 6.2 Corporate Monitoring and Accountability requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework 2015.
1. Metavision Institute is committed to fostering the highest standards of administrative and professional conduct. Metavision Institute recognises that an apparent conflict of interest may create bias and be damaging to individual members of its higher education community, and adversely affect the reputation and standing of Metavision Institute and its ability to operate effectively.
2. All members of Metavision Institute’s higher education community are to seek independent advice, disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, conflicts of interest. This includes, but is not limited to, conflicts of interest in relation to:
- Student selection for enrolment and admission,
- Staff recruitment, appointment and promotion,
- Decision making by governance committees,
- Procurement activities, for example, awarding of tenders or selection of vendors andsuppliers,
- Authorisation of expenditure, and
- Other employment (that may compromise ability to perform work responsibilities).
3. Metavision Institute ensures all staff and governance committee members are aware of what situations constitute a conflict of interest, how to avoid such situations, and how to disclose conflicts of interest. To ensure independence in its governance structure, Metavision Institute has appointed a majority of independent (non-executive) directors to the Governance Board.
4. The declaration of conflicts of interest is a standing agenda item for all governance committees.
5. Metavision Institute will seek to resolve conflicts of interest to ensure good governance and to have minimal impact on its higher education community.
6. Where necessary and appropriate, Metavision Institute will act to protect both the member of Metavision Institute’s higher education community and its governance arrangements, which may include a reassignment of the member’s responsibilities.
7. When a conflict of interest arises, staff members and governance committee members are responsible for disclosing the conflict to their line manager, or the Chair of the committee of which they are a member. Staff members are to use the Declaration of Interest form in Appendix one. Declared conflicts of interest are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking account of the particular context and nature of the conflict.
8. A discussion will be held between members who disclose a conflict of interest and the line manager/Chair of the governance committee. Members will receive a response in writing from Metavision Institute advising the steps that will be taken to manage or avoid the conflict of interest, in line with this policy.
9. Guidance in relation to specific conflicts of interest:
9a. Close relationships with students
When a member of Metavision Institute’s higher education community has a close personal or external professional relationship with a student, that member of the Metavision Institute higher education community is not to participate in or contribute to the student’s admission, enrolment, assessment, supervision, or graduation.
9b. Close relationships with staff
When a member of Metavision Institute’s higher education community has a close personal relationship with a staff member, that member is not to be the line manager or to be involved in decision-making relating to that staff member, or to have access to their personnel records. The Academic Director will liaise with staff to make suitable alternative arrangements.
High standards in probity and ethical conduct are to be applied when giving or accepting gifts or benefits from students. Metavision Institute does not encourage students to give gifts to staff; although it is recognised that gifts may be given or accepted as part of ceremonial, social or cultural norms. A gift is not to be accepted if it could be regarded as an acceptance of inducement to act in a certain way, thereby creating a real or perceived conflict of interest. If there are doubts about the propriety of accepting a gift or benefit, then the gift or benefit should not be accepted.
10. Failure to disclose
A failure to follow this policy may be considered serious misconduct and be subject to disciplinary action, depending on the nature of the conflict of interest. The consequences of serious misconduct may include termination of employment or governance committee role.
11. Disclosures of conflicts of interest by staff members and written advice on steps to be taken will be stored in staff members’ records. Disclosures of conflict of interest by governance committee members and written advice on steps to be taken will be recorded in meeting minutes.
The Governance Board has responsibility for the oversight of the implementation of this policy.
The Academic Director, Executive Officer and Chairs of governance committees are responsible for ensuring effective implementation of this policy.
All members of Metavision Institute’s higher education community are responsible for ensuring that their activities and interests do not conflict with their obligations and functions at Metavision Institute and must disclose actual, perceived or potential conflicts ofinterest in writing to their line manager, Chair of the governance committee, or the Academic Director for students.
- Governance and Delegation Framework
- Risk Management Framework