Auckland DHB Chair Wayne Brown is under fire from National for not continuing with a formal agenda item of declaration of conflicts of interests at every meeting. He says members were still obliged to declare conflicts.
I’m a member of two boards (one commercial, one non-commercial) and on both these boards it is our standard practice to have declarations of conflicts of interests as the first agenda item for each meeting. This is standard governance best practice.
You are required to list on a conflicts register any ongoing interests which might conflict. For example I receive free hosting from Inspire Net so I have declared that to .nz Registry Services as Inspire Net is a customer of theirs.
But simply listing it on the register is not enough. The purpose of having it on the agenda for each meeting is so that having read the agenda and associated papers, we are required to declare if we have a specific conflict for any particular item. And if you do, the board them discusses what action is necessary to deal with it – it can range from simply noting it has been declared to agreeing the director should absent themselves for the discussion.
If Auckland DHB had followed best practice, it may have helped avoid what happened. Having it formally noted in the board minutes that you have declared you have no conflicts on any agenda item is not a trivial undertaking, and one tends to err on the side of caution to protect your reputation should there be an issue at a later date.Tags: New Zealand