Conflict of Interest: Outside Work Policy

    1. Introduction
    2. Aim of policy
    3. Scope
    4. Definitions and Principles
    5. Declarations, Permissions and Nil returns
      1. Outside Work requiring permission and declaration
      2. Outside Work requiring declaration only
      3. Nil returns
    6. Monitoring and Review
    7. Failure to avoid/ declare/ mitigate conflicts of interest
    8. Related documents/ regulatory framework
    9. Procedure

Further information for staff:

Further information for managers:

1. Introduction

The University values external engagement and recognises the importance of this in terms of the benefits it brings to the University, the professional development of staff and our contribution to the academic and wider community.

However outside work may expose the University to risks, including unauthorised use of university resources, potential legal liability, and damage to the University's reputation. As such it is a requirement of the University that all members of the University (as defined by Ordinance 9, Student and Academic Status and University Membership) are to complete the outside work My ERP page in accordance with this policy (as detailed in the Procedure).

This policy should be read in conjunction with the University’s Conflict of Interest Regulations.

Remember: The overridng principle is that if in doubt, declare and seek permission.

2. Aim of this policy

3. Scope

This policy applies to all staff (as defined by Ordinance 9) and Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students who are employed by the University.

Note: The University Governance team will manage declarations from members of the Board of Trustees. Further advice can be sought from the University Governance team.

4. Definitions and Principles

4.1 Outside Work

‘Outside Work’ means any work, income, or activity (paid or unpaid) undertaken by those identified as being in scope, for any external party. A conflict may arise when a member of staff undertakes external commitments which interfere with obligations arising under their contract of employment with the University.

There are five central principles limiting Outside Work. It must not:

      1. Impair the member of staff’s work at the University.
      2. Bring the University into disrepute.
      3. Put the University at financial risk.
      4. Involve any other actual or perceived conflict of interest
      5. Breach any statutory provision or other rights.

4.2 Conflict of loyalty

Means a situation, transaction, or other arrangement with or involving the University in which a member of staff has no financial or other personal Interest but has a conflict between their duty to the University and their duty to another person (which may be because they are a governor, member of staff, director, shareholder, member, officer, or employee of that other person).

4.3 Connected Person

Means any person falling within one of the following categories:

(a) any spouse or civil partner of a member of staff;

(b) any parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, or grandchild of a member of staff who is financially dependent on such Member of staff or on whom the Member of staff is financially dependent;

(c) the spouse or civil partner of any person in (b).

(d) any other person in a relationship with a member of staff which may reasonably be regarded as equivalent to that of a spouse or civil partner; or

(e) any company, LLP, or partnership of which a member of staff is a paid director, member, partner or employee or a holder of more than 10% of the share capital or capital;

(f) any member of staff who has connection to the nature of the Outside Work being undertaken

4.4 Conflict of Interest

Means any interest of a member of staff (as defined in the Scope above), or any Connected Person to a member of staff that conflicts, or may conflict, or may be perceived to conflict, with the interests of the University and:

(a) includes a conflict of loyalty.

(b) applies to the exploitation of any information, property, or opportunity

(c) has a financial conflict i.e., ‘any equity ownership in a company if this could give the appearance of conflict and/or that involves a material level of control over that company (e.g., ownership of more than 10% of the value of the business). Employees are not required to declare shares of minimal value or those held via investments in a pension scheme.’

4.5 Appropriate Manager

The following definitions of ‘Appropriate Manager’ apply specifically for the purposes of this policy:

Note: Where there is a family or personal relationship between two members of staff or where an Appropriate Manager has an interest re the outside work being declared, neither member of staff should be involved in any decision or process.

4.6 Consultancy

There are two potential routes for undertaking consultancy: 

Consultancy work which is undertaken via this route does not require further permission but must be declared under the Outside Work policy. (See Section 5.2: Outside Work requiring declaration only)

Consultancy work which is undertaken via this route requires prior permission and declaration under the Conflict of Interest-Outside Work policy (see Section 5.1). Staff should also refer to the guidance on undertaking private consultancy on the Research, Enterprise, and Development Office’s Research website.

The University Consultancy route is encouraged where possible. This offers benefits to both the University (in terms of risk management, strengthening engagement opportunities and the potential for future partnerships) and the member of staff (in terms of the use of university resources, access to support and reduced personal liability).

5. Declarations, Permissions and Nil returns

The activities listed in section 5.1 require declaration and prior permission under this policy to enable any potential conflict to be identified, assessed and where possible, resolved prior to the activity commencing.

The activities listed in section 5.2 are exempt from requiring permission but must still be declared in line with this policy (See Section 5.2: Outside Work requiring declaration only). This is on the basis that they may not breach or may not be reasonably perceived to potentially breach, the above central principles.

For staff in scope who do not have any Outside Work the University requires a nothing to declare return to confirm that this is the case.

All declarations can be made via the Outside Work tab, under the personal details in MyERP.

5.1 Type A: Outside Work requiring declaration and permission.

Members of staff in scope and wishing to undertake the following activities must seek prior permission from the Appropriate Manager and declare both the managers decision and the activity by updating their Outside Work tab on My ERP (as detailed in the Procedure).

  1. Holding executive directorships
  2. Holding non-executive directorships
  3. Remunerated employment outside the University
  4. Other relevant sources of income from outside the University
  5. Services that you undertake for the University on a self-employed basis or via an intermediary business which are not paid through payroll.
  6. Working for a University spin-out company (one based on the University’s intellectual property) including being a Shareholder, Director, Part-time employee or Consultant.
  7. Undertaking private consultancy (See section 4.6 for further details). 
  8. Undertaking private clinical medical work
  9. Acting as an expert witness in civil or criminal proceedings
  10. Any other form of Outside Work, including those that are normally exempt (see section 5.2.), which:

a)    is taking, or is likely to take, a substantial amount of time, such that it may conflict with core University duties or affect the quality of the member of staff’s work

b)    could bring the University into disrepute

c)    could put the University at financial risk

d)    could involve any other actual or perceived conflict of interest

e)    could breach statutory provision or other rights (such as the Working Time regulations)

5.2 Type B: Outside Work requiring declaration only

The activities detailed in this section are forms of Outside Work which do not normally require prior permissions/ approval but will still need to be declared in line with this policy and the employee must update their Outside Work tab on My ERP.

5.2.1.  Normal Academic Activity

The following external activities are regarded and recognised as a normal part of the academic role.  They play an important part in both raising the profile of the member of staff and the University and our contribution to the wider academic community. 

Staff are encouraged to seek and accept opportunities to undertake these activities, provided they do not adversely affect their overall performance in their role. Staff should discuss the level and nature of such commitments with their appropriate line manager.

What to do if you regularly undertake activities

If you are an academic and regularly undertake activities outlined in 5.2.1, please complete the audit form and MyERP update generically.

For example:

Name and address: Various HEI, academic and Research institutes
Business description: Research, or undertaking activities as described in 5.2 in the policy
Nature of activity: Normal academic activity

The University does not require a full and constantly updated list of each individual normal academic activity, but you should make sure your line manager is fully aware of all such activity. However, if such work were to become a conflict of interest then in line with this policy you are required to declare and seek approval as per the Type A guidelines.

  1. Presenting academic papers outside the University
  2. Giving lectures and seminars outside the University
  3. External examining
  4. Editing academic journals or a book series
  5. Reviewing books
  6. Refereeing academic articles
  7. Acting as a QAA assessor, member of a REF panel, or as a REF consultant for other institutions.
  8. Acting as a member of a research council
  9. Acting on the board of a research charity
  10. Serving on a research committee of a government department
  11. Acting on QUANGOs or similar bodies
  12. Sitting on the governing body of another educational institution
  13. Serving a learned or professional association
  14. Writing popularising books within the relevant discipline
  15. Writing textbooks in the relevant discipline
  16. Providing information and interviews to the media on topics within the discipline
  17. Writing and presenting a television or radio series
  18. Writing regular articles for newspapers or magazines
  19. Curating, or advising on, a temporary exhibition or permanent collection. 

5.2.2. University Consultancy

Consultancy work which is undertaken via the University Consultancy Procedure (and has therefore already been approved by the Head of School) does not require further permission under the Outside Work policy but the University still requires staff to update their Outside Work tab on My ERP with information pertaining to University Consultancy work. (See Section 4.6)

5.2.3. Public Duties and Volunteering

The University recognises that it has a civic responsibility to enable staff to take on public duties (e.g., acting as a Justice of the Peace, Local Authority Councillor or School Governor). Staff can take up to 18 days’ paid absence per year to undertake such duties. The University also provides an additional day’s paid leave for staff to participate in general volunteering activities. For further information, please refer to the Public Duties and Volunteering Guidelines. The University requires staff to update their Outside Work tab on My ERP with information pertaining to Public Duties and Volunteering.

5.2.4. Trade Union Duties

Elected representatives are entitled to reasonable time off to carry out duties as a trade union representative.

5.3. Type C: Nil returns

For staff in scope who do not have any Outside Work to declare the University requires staff to update their Outside Work tab on My ERP with a nil return.

6. Monitoring and Review

Staff and Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students who are employed by the University must update their Outside Work tab on My ERP (as detailed in the Procedure).

The University Governance team will manage declarations from members of the Board of Trustees. All Trustees of the University must declare any potential conflict of interest as prescribed by Ordinance 5.

Note: The University from time to time will conduct outside work audits. This will ensure full disclosure of all Outside work (including those that do not need permissions and Nil returns) and Conflict of Interest declarations 

7. Failure to avoid/ declare/ mitigate conflicts of interest

 The following may lead to disciplinary action being instigated against an individual:

 a. Failure to declare a potential conflict of interest.

 b. Failure to declare a potential conflict of interest in a timely fashion.

 c. Failure to mitigate against the actual or perceived conflicts of interest declared to them by another individual when that is their responsibility.

Note: Individuals must comply with an external organisation’s conflicts of interest policy, as well as this policy, when working with that organisation (e.g., academics acting as editors of academic journals).

8. Related documents/ regulatory framework

9. Procedure for declaring, obtaining permission to undertake outside work and submitting nothing to declare returns.

9.1. For Members of staff and Postgraduate Research (PGR) Students who are employed by the University

        they must complete the appropriate request form in line with the policy and update their Outside Work tab on My ERP

        9.2 The University Governance team will manage Conflict of Interest-Outside work declarations from members of the Board of Trustees. All Trustees of the University must declare any potential conflict of interest as prescribed by Ordinance 5.

        9.3.  Request Permission for Type A work

        Those in scope wishing to undertake any of the outside work activities listed as Type A in section 5.1 should seek prior permission from the Appropriate Manager by completing an Outside Work Request Form.

        9.3.1 Considering Requests

        Requests should be assessed against the five central principles governing outside work outlined in section 4.

        Managers should also refer to the further Guidance for managers on Outside Work and seek advice via their Head of HR Business Partnering where appropriate.

        9.3.2. Confirming Outcomes/Declarations

        The Appropriate Manager will confirm one of three outcomes to the employee: Approved (letter 1), Approved with conditions (letter 2), rejected (letter 3). Where permission to undertake Outside Work is granted, this will be subject to annual review to ensure the decision remains appropriate.

        For all outcomes, the member of staff must make a formal declaration of outside work against their staff record by updating their personal details on My ERP to enable future monitoring and review.

        9.3.3. Appeals

        If an employee wishes to appeal against a decision they should write to the Chief People Officer, HR within 14 days of receiving the written notification of the decision, setting out the reasons for the appeal.

        The Chief People Officer, HR will then arrange for the appeal to be considered by an Appropriate Manager who has had no prior involvement in the case, supported by HR. 

        The decision may be given at the appeal hearing and will in any event be confirmed in writing within 14 days of the hearing.

        The decision following the appeal shall be final.

        9.4. Type B activities

        Members of staff in scope wishing to undertake any Type B activities (section 5.2) must declare these in line with the policy and must update their Outside Work tab on My ERP.

        9.5. Type C: Nothing to declare return

        Members of staff, in scope, who do not have any Outside Work (Type C section 5.3.) must update and declare this on their Outside Work tab on My ERP as the University requires a nothing to declare return.

        Note: In addition to this procedure the University will from time to time undertake an audit of Conflict of Interest-Outside work declarations, permissions, and Nil returns. A separate procedure will be in place for this exercise.

         

        This policy was last reviewed and updated: December 2021