It’s important that everyone in your agency behaves ethically. Conflicts of interest should be properly identified and transparently managed.
All agency staff, contractors, consultants and volunteers have a duty to put the public interest above their personal or private interests when carrying out their official duties.
A conflict of interest is where someone is compromised when their personal interests or obligations conflict with the responsibilities of their job or position. It means that their independence, objectivity or impartiality can be called into question.
A conflict of interest can be:
A conflict of interest can arise through a relationship, an activity or strong personal views.
An employee has a conflict of interest if, as part of their work duties, they’re required to deal with:
An agency employee could also have a conflict of interest if they’re given something from someone who could benefit from their decisions, eg:
A conflict can also arise if a person holds strong personal views on an issue their agency is considering, eg political views or religious beliefs.
The main goal of managing conflicts of interest is to ensure that decisions are made – and are seen to be made – on proper grounds, for legitimate reasons and without bias.
A poorly managed ‘perceived’ conflict of interest can be just as damaging as a poorly managed ‘actual’ conflict of interest. These conflicts can be positive or negative. You could be seen to favour or benefit someone, or be against them to disadvantage them.
While conflicts of interest should be avoided wherever possible, they often happen innocently. It is how they are managed that counts. A conflict of interest that has not been properly managed, could seriously undermine the integrity of our procurement processes and could lead to complaints, challenges and in some cases, the agency’s decision being overturned. When a conflict has been ignored, improperly acted on or influenced actions or decision-making, the conduct (not the conflict itself) can be seen as misconduct, abuse of office or even corruption
Conflicts that are identified must be reported to the manager in charge of the activity. The conflict and the process for managing it must be recorded in writing.
Conflicts of interest can be managed by:
All agency staff that are actively involved in a procurement activity, or could influence the process or the outcome of a procurement, must complete and sign a conflict of interest declaration and a confidentiality agreement as soon as they're appointed to an evaluation team.
People who should complete a conflict of interest declaration include:
This does not include:
You can complete these declarations online using the conflict of interest tool.
Declarations need to be revisited regularly and checked once the supplier has been chosen.
Alternatively, you can also use these agreements to declare a conflict of interest.
The conflict of interest (CoI) tool is available to all New Zealand public sector organisations to register and use as part of their procurement practice. The CoI tool makes it easy and fast to capture, assess, manage and record potential conflicts of interest of panel members evaluating a tender on a secure digital platform. It also helps agencies to transition from using, archiving paper based documents to a common digital platform and experience.
Features and benefits of the CoI tool include:
To register or express interest, please contact your New Zealand Government Procurement Account Manager, or submit a request through our online contact form.
You can complete the ‘Tiakitanga – Towards Better Evaluation’ e-learning module on managing conflicts of interest and developing the skills to facilitate tender evaluation process. This course is available on Hīkina.