Conflicts of Interest and the CCG
As a commissioner of publically funded health and care services for the people of Calderdale, NHS Calderdale CCG is committed to managing any actual or potential conflicts of interest that arise in the course of its business in a manner that demonstrates the highest degree of transparency, probity and accountability.
The CCG sees the effective management of conflicts of interest as being essential to maintaining public trust and confidence in the commissioning system and assuring the public that the CCG’s decisions are robust, fair and provide value for money. Furthermore, as key to safeguarding the reputations of the health and social care professionals who provide invaluable direction and leadership throughout the CCG’s commissioning work and the CCG and its decisions from legal challenge.
The CCG’s Arrangements for Managing Conflicts of Interest
The CCG’s Constitution and Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy sets out the CCG’s arrangements for managing conflicts of interest throughout its decision making and commissioning processes. They also set out the expectations that apply to its Governing Body Members, staff, CCG Members, Clinical/Lay Associates and others involved in the work of the CCG. The arrangements described in the policy are in-line with relevant legislation and statutory guidance concerning the management of conflicts of interest.
What are Conflicts of Interest?
A conflict of interest is defined as ‘a set of circumstances by which a reasonable person would consider that an individual’s ability to apply judgement or act, in the context of delivering, commissioning or assuring taxpayer funded health and care services is or could be, impaired or influenced by another interest they hold’.
A conflict can be ‘actual’, i.e. there is a current material conflict concerning the matter at hand. They can also be ‘potential’, i.e. there is the possibility of a material conflict between one or more interests at a point in the future. As such, individuals can have interests without immediately recognising that a potential conflict exists. In such circumstances, the CCG always advises caution and that the interest be declared where there is otherwise a risk of accusations of improper conduct.
Conflicts of interests fall into four main categories:
- Financial interests: Where an individual may receive direct financial benefit or detriment from the consequences of a commissioning decision.
- Non-financial professional interests: Where an individual may obtain a non-financial professional benefit or detriment from the consequences of a commissioning decision, such as increasing their professional reputation or status or promoting their professional career.
- Non-financial personal interests: Where an individual may benefit or suffer a detriment personally in ways which are not directly linked to their professional career and do not give rise to a direct financial benefit or detriment.
- Indirect Interests: Where an individual has a close association with an individual who has a financial interest, non-financial professional interest or a non-financial personal interest in a commissioning decision.
Offers of gifts, hospitality and/or commercial sponsorship can also give rise to real or perceived conflicts of interest or undue influence. Consequently, those involved in the work of the CCG are also required to declare any offers of gifts, hospitality and/or commercial sponsorship that fall within the thresholds set out in the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy.
What happens when a declaration is made?
In addition to being required to make declarations during the CCG’s appointment processes and on appointment to the CCG, it is the responsibility of individuals to notify the CCG of any potential conflicts of interest or offers of gifts, hospitality of commercial sponsorships that arise during the course of their undertaking CCG business. The CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy requires them to notify the CCG as soon as they become aware of the potential conflict and/or receive an offer. At a maximum, they are asked to do this within 28 days.
Once a conflict of interest is declared, it is recorded on the appropriate register of interest. Any offer of gifts, hospitality or commercial sponsorship that is declared is also recorded on the appropriate register if the relevant thresholds, as set out in the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy, are met.
Declarations are also invited prior to each relevant meeting of the CCG and thereafter managed in-line with the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy on a case-by-case basis. Any declarations that are made are recorded in the meeting minutes accompanied by the actions taken to manage the declaration in the meeting.
Registers of Interests and Gifts, Hospitality and Commercial Sponsorship
The CCG is required to publish registers of interest relating to Governing Body members, decision making staff, Associates and Subject Specialists and CCG Members. When a declaration is made, the relevant register is updated as well as being reviewed at set intervals annually or biannually.
The current registers can be found here: Register of Interests
The CCG’s full Staff Register of Interest can be viewed at the CCG’s Head Quarters by appointment – contact email@example.com or call 01422 307400.
If you have any concerns regarding information published on any of the CCG’s registers, please refer to the guidance on raising a concern with the CCG below.
Raising a concern with the CCG
The Chair of the CCG’s Audit Committee has a lead role as the Conflicts of Interest Guardian. Their role involves ensuring that the Governing Body and the wider CCG behaves with the utmost probity at all times.
Supported by the CCG’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Governance, they act as a confidential point of contact for anyone who has concerns about conflicts of interest at the CCG, supports the rigorous application of conflicts of interest principles and policies and provides advice and judgement concerning conflicts of interest and their management.
All concerns received are documented and fully investigated to determine if a breach of the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy has occurred. The individual making the disclosure will receive an appropriate explanation of any decisions resulting from the investigation.
David Longstaff is the CCG’s current Audit Committee Chair and, as such, the CCG’s Conflicts of Interest Guardian. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 01422 307400.
Alternatively, you can contact the Head of Corporate Affairs and Governance, Judith Salter, at email@example.com or by phone on 01422 307400.
If you have a concern regarding information published on any of the CCG’s registers, in particular if you believe that public disclosure of information might give rise to a real risk of harm or is prohibited by law or that substantial damage or distress may be caused to you or somebody else by the publication of information, you are entitled to request that the information is not published. Such requests must be made in writing to the Conflicts of Interest Guardian for the CCG or the Head of Corporate Affairs and Governance in their role as Data Protection Officer. Their contact details are provided above. Further information about the data held on the CCG registers and how to raise a concern is available in the CCG’s Privacy Notice.
Breaches of the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy
Anonymised details of breaches of the CCG’s Management of Conflict of Interest Policy can be found here:
The CCG’s Register of Procurement Decisions
Actual and potential conflicts of interest are managed throughout the CCG’s commissioning cycle with potential conflicts being identified at the outset and revisited throughout. Details of the CCG’s arrangements for the management of conflicts of interest during commissioning exercises are set out in the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy.
The CCG’s Register of Procurement Decisions can be found here.
The CCG’s Contracts Register can be found here.
If you require further information concerning the CCG’s arrangements for managing conflicts of interest or the CCG’s Management of Conflicts of Interest Policy, please contact Head of Corporate Affairs and Governance, Judith Salter at committee@Calderdaleccg.NHS.uk or by phone on 01422 307400
If you have any questions about a procurement decision or processes, please contact, Martin Pursey, Head of Contracting and Procurement at CCG.Feedback@CalderdaleCCG.NHS.uk or by phone on 01422 307400