Jane Alliance Neighborhood Services
Conflict of Interest Policy
This Conflict-of-Interest Policy was implemented and approved by Jane Alliance Neighbourhood Services governing Board of Directors on January 28, 2015.
The purpose of this policy is to define and state what will be regarded as a conflict of interest in order to assist Jane Alliance Staff, Board Members, Staff Members, Volunteers and Consultants in identifying potential conflicts of interest and also recognizing and managing such conflicts as they may arise between an individual’s private life and work responsibilities.
This policy will apply to all Jane Alliance Staff, Board Members, Staff Members and Volunteers as long as they are employed/practicing at JANS and for a period of up to and including one year after termination and/or separation from JANS duties unless certain conditions are met such as if the said employee is a placement student with a timed contract, etc.
Availability/Accessibility of Jane Alliance Neighborhood Services’ Conflict of Interest Policy
A written copy of this policy will be available to all staff, board members, staff members and volunteers and consultants in the Staff Manual and be mentioned in brief in the Confidentiality Agreement signed by all staff members and volunteers and those deemed to be working on behalf of or for Jane Alliance. This policy will also be available online for partners and other relevant bodies to review at their own will.
Individuals who perceive themselves to be involved in a conflict of interest can also check the employee manual of the organizations they are involved in and should familiarize themselves with any code of ethics, best practices, governance standards and by-laws the organization may have. They should also refer to any contracts they have signed with the organizations they work for and check for non-compete, confidentiality or conflict of interest clauses that may be applicable to them. If they do not know where to find them or do not have such material in their possession, they should speak to the HR Manager and/or the CEO/COO/President/Executive Director and request such material.
A conflict of interest for the purpose of this document is any situation, whether real, perceived, apparent, foreseeable or potentially where an individual’s private and personal interests would or could be in conflict with their public obligations (in this case their employment with JANS and/or their role in this charitable organization), where their official duties are or will be influenced by his private interests or where their duties may be influenced in the future by his private interests. The conflict of interest could result in an individual acquiring monetary gain, or other non-financial benefits whether tangible or intangible (personal favors, gifts, prestige, etc.) directly or indirectly from either organization/party involved in the transaction or contract in question. If possible, it is best that an individual abstains and refrains from using property and information of JANS for personal use or to help another individual that they are in contact with as this would also be considered a potential conflict of interest (such as using property or space for free for other projects that one is vested in when there is a requirement that such items are to be rented for a fee).
Examples of possible conflicts of interest can include the following:
A JANS director, staff member, or other employee accepting a personal favor from an organizational partner or donor unrelated to JANS affairs.
A member of JANS board accepting a gift from a staff member whose contract is coming up for renewal.
A director or manager at JANS accepting a contract from an organization that they worked for before and have not been remunerated for.
A manager, director or staff member initiating a contract or other bond with a company they are still working for.
In all the above situations there is real, actual or potential conflict of interest present. All members of JANS staff whether temporary or permanent employees and Board members should do their best to avoid such occurrences and when not possible to manage them.
Managing and Avoiding Conflicts of Interest
In the event that a conflict of interest occurs it is in the best interest of the individual involved and JANS that the individual discloses this conflict of interest to JANS Board of Directors or the Executive Director(s) immediately, whether in writing or orally.
If done orally they may have to repeat the information formally in person at the next Board meeting so that it can be written and reflected in the minutes (written summary of such meeting). If the individual chooses not to disclose such a matter in person due timing of the meeting, availability, etc. they can choose to write a letter to the Board of Directors which then will be reflected in the next minutes (Directors then should keep any proof of mailing and receipt of such a letter for future reference).
Once this is done, the Board will decide what should be done regarding the individual and the conflict of interest on a case-by-case basis.
In order to avoid a possible conflict of interest an individual Board Member, Director, Staff member, volunteer, independent contractor or otherwise must familiarize themselves with the Conflict-of-Interest Policy, Non-Compete Clauses in their contract, Confidentiality Agreement, By-Laws, Governance and Administrative Standards, Code of Ethics and best practices of JANS. Additionally if after reading these documents there is any question or discussion, the individual should consult the HR Manager, Executive Director or petition the Board in order to receive clarification on the matter as soon as possible. It is not the responsibility of the Board to contact the individual involved after the fact. If a conflict of interest does occur especially one that disparages the image of JANS, the individual may face disciplinary action up to and including termination and/or loss of severance pay and/or refusal of recommendation or other action as the Board sees fit. In addition any contracts/projects that they were involved in may be reviewed and/or terminated as a result.
When Should an Individual Report A Conflict of Interest
Any individual of JANS staff, including Board members, volunteers and placement students should disclose any conflicts of interest that they are aware of at the first board meeting or in the case of regular staff, volunteers and placement students at the beginning of their employment or tenure or as soon as one arises. In the case of Directors and Members of the Board potential conflicts of interest even if they are not actualized should also be disclosed at the next board meeting after the conflict arises or before as a pre-emptive measure if a director is interested in dealings with another organization that could result in a conflict of interest. The director may choose to do so either by letter to other Member of the Board or orally at the next board meeting.
What Information Must Be Disclosed
An individual must then inform the Board of Directors or Executive Director(s) of the essence and worth of any personal interests that they have that could potentially conflict with JANS. An example of this would be if for example a JANS employee works for a catering company that will be catering an event at JANS, the employee must state whether or not they have shares in the company, how long they have been working for the company, if they plan to be working at the event as the catering staff or a JANS employee, etc. and then the Board or the Executive Director may decide to have an emergency Board meeting to discuss the issue and may resolve to have the individual not attend the event, resign from their position with JANS or the catering company and/or face termination of employment with JANS.
In the case where a Board Member or Director has a conflict of interest or expresses interest in an involvement with another organization that could result in a conflict of interest the director/Board Member must state the fact that they have an interest in establishing a contract or transaction with an organization outside of JANS that may incur a conflict of interest, that they are a director, board member or officer of JANS or the other organization involved, that they have a vested interest in the outcome of the contract and because of the essence of their interest the outcome of the contract will be affected greatly, authenticity questioned or invalid.
Can Individuals Involved in a Conflict of Interest Continue in Their Positions?
If the individual is a board member, they can still rightfully participate in board discussions, operations and vote at board meetings, but they must abstain from voting or speaking on issues related to their conflict of interest, they can also leave the room when certain matters are discussed (if the Board decides to still enter into a contract or transaction with the organization(s) in question and retain the individual as a member of JANS). A director and/or board member can sit on Boards of more than one organization but must disclose to the organizations their level of involvement in other organizations and the nature of it and always act in good faith not giving either one an unfair advantage than any other. This can be tricky if the organizations are in the same geographical location or they have the same mission and values. A director however can act as a representative of an organization or group on a Board if given permission to do so by the organization he is representing or if it is written in the by-laws of the organization.
A director must always act in the best interests of the organization they are working for in this case JANS, even when representing other organizations or persons they must not conduct themselves in a manner that would harm JANS or its reputation.
If the individual is not a board member they can refrain from attending events where a conflict may occur or being involved in any negotiations between the various organizations they are involved in. It is always wise for the individual to err on the side of caution in these matters as a perceived conflict of interest can be just as detrimental to an organization’s reputation as an actual one.
An individual who is found to be involved in a conflict of interest may face the following remedies/penalties at the discretion of the Board:
Termination of employment contract
Be asked to resign either from JANS or the organization in conflict
Leave without pay and/or severance
Refusal of any recommendation and/or references in regard to their employment with JANS
Termination of the contract and/or project that the individual was involved in
Be removed from the contract/project that the individual was involved in
If the individual is a Board Member or a Director, they may be asked and required to refrain from voting on matters involving the contract of interest and leave the room when matters are discussed unless it directly pertains to their salary and/or employment (if not asked by the involved organization or JANS to be a representative or agent of that organization).
Barred from the premises
Any of the above remedies may be chosen by the Board as disciplinary action and in some cases more than one may be chosen at the Board’s discretion.