Earlier this year, NHS England published new rules on conflicts of interest which relate to all staff and are contained within our revised Standards of Business Conduct and Employee Declarations of Interest Policy.
All employees must declare instances where they, a close relative or associate, have a controlling and/or significant personal interest (including friendships) in any business, or any other activity or pursuit, which may compete for an NHS contract to supply goods or services.
Similarly, the Trust expects employees to declare personal interests (including directorships or other appointments) in any business venture or activity that could be perceived to have a connection to any healthcare provision or in any way be linked to their main employment with the Trust (e.g. provision of private treatment, private nursing or residential home).
In addition, staff are also required to make declarations, using the form, where they:
- are offered gifts or hospitality above a certain level (see policy);
- are offered sponsorship for events, research, posts or products/equipment;
- wish to take on private practice;
- hold a position of authority in another NHS organisation or commercial, charity, voluntary, professional, statutory or other body which could be seen to influence decisions they take in their NHS role, or sit on advisory groups or other paid or unpaid decision making forums that can influence how an organisation spends taxpayers’ money, or are, or could be, involved in the recruitment or management of close family members and relatives, close friends and associates, and business partners;
- are offered charitable donations;
- hold patents and other intellectual property rights (either individually, or by virtue of their association with a commercial or other organisation), including where applications to protect have started or are ongoing, which are, or might be reasonably expected to be, related to items to be procured or used by the organisation;
- hold any shareholdings and other ownership interests in any publicly listed, private or not-for-profit company, business, partnership or consultancy which is doing, or might be reasonably expected to do, business with DBTH.
The Policy also covers secondary employment for which there is a separate declarations form.
Further advice/information can be sought from the Trust Board Secretary’s office, 01302 644157 or email Jeannette.email@example.com.
Some staff are more likely than others to have a decision making influence on the use of taxpayers’ money, because of the requirements of their role. Such staff will be required to submit an annual declaration, even if it is a nil return.
The Trust has defined such staff as the following:
- Executive and non-executive directors.
- Consultant Staff.
- Corporate and Care Group Directors/Assistant Directors.
- Agenda for Change band 8c staff (and above).
- All staff within Pharmacy, IT and Procurement teams who have the power to enter into contracts on behalf of their organisation and are involved in decision making concerning the commissioning of services, purchasing of goods, medicines, medical devices or equipment, and formulary decisions.
Copies of all interests declared are to be published on the Trust’s website.
Finally, in common with other NHS bodies, DBTH has a variety of different groups that make key strategic decisions about things such as entering into (or renewing) large scale contracts, awarding grants, making procurement decisions or selection of medicines, equipment, and devices.
The interests of those who are involved in these groups should be well known so that they can be managed effectively. For DBTH these groups are:
- Board of Directors and its committees
- Charitable Funds Committee
- Executive Team
- Management Board
- Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Chairs of these groups should consider any known interests of members in advance, and begin each meeting by asking for declarations of interest. Members should take personal responsibility for declaring interests at the beginning of each meeting and as they arise. Any new interests identified should be declared.
If a member has an interest the chair should consider the following approaches and ensure that the reason for the chosen action is documented in minutes or records:
- requiring the member to not attend the meeting.
- excluding the member from receiving meeting papers relating to their interest.
- excluding the member from all or part of the relevant discussion and decision.
- noting the nature and extent of the interest, but judging it appropriate to allow the member to remain and participate.
- removing the member from the group or process altogether.
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