Talk:Declarations of Interest

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COI by volunteers

We also have the situation where volunteers may have conflicts of interests with the activities that they undertake, or propose to undertake. This can be particularly difficult to manage where those volunteers are being given funding by WMUK to support their activities. I am not aware of the availability of guidance in this sort of situation - I would welcome comments on how to best manage these COI. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:03, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

Illustrative cases might be helpful to understand what you are aiming to define. By the way, I would stick to "Declarations" rather than "Conflict" to emphasis the intention is positive declarations rather than assuming that activities or possibly payments would be in conflict with the charity's mission. Thanks -- 22:42, 2 July 2012 (UTC)
I think a different page for volunteers is a good idea. I think this one is currently giving either too much (Mike) or too little (Roger, prob Doug) information. What I would expect to see is a full list of employers, other directorships, some memberships, significant shareholdings and so on, but no comments or analysis. Like the PDF one linked here. But we can discuss. Johnbod (talk) 01:33, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Putting pressure on volunteers to make public declarations of their interests would be an odd and potentially damaging process. There may be reasons for such interests to be known by trustees or the Chief Executive, for example during any procurement process where a particular volunteer was influencing the final decision, though I would expect this to remain confidential unless the volunteer is comfortable about making a public statement and the trustees assess it as significant. Irrelevant, tangential or insignificant declarations by anyone should be avoided. I agree, worth discussing and I would caution against any volunteer rushing to make public declarations until the consequences are carefully thought through. -- (talk) 11:02, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Nil declarations

I have removed expressions of "none" from this document. Trustees have a duty to declare any interest which may result in conflict of loyalties with the charity, there is no duty to make nil declarations. Please avoid adding implicit statements of process. If we need a process defined for declarations, either generally or in relation actively to manage interests for an individual trustee or staff member, then this should be raised with the board. -- (talk) 10:35, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Please add them back, as it makes it difficult to keep track of the document without them. There's an ambiguity in that if someone's missing from the list, then they might have not declared their interests, or they might have no interests to declare. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 12:52, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
If someone has no declaration for this public document, then no declaration is necessary. There are 7 trustees so I do not understand the difficulty in keeping track. If you think one of them has forgotten to add a declaration then an email or a phone call might be in order, though I have sent around an email to all trustees and the Chief Executive today just to make sure that nobody has lost track. I am not about to put my name on this public document with a blank section making it appear that I have forgotten to fill it in, and we should avoid creating bureaucratic processes that require meaningless nil declarations. Thanks -- (talk) 17:31, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Mike for a change! A declaration that says "I have nothing to declare" tells members, donors, and the public that you haven't just forgotten to declare an interest. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 18:21, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
It is neither a requirement by the Charity Commission or best practice for charities. -- (talk) 20:49, 5 July 2012 (UTC)
I've added the nil declarations back to the page. I think Harry's hit the nail on the head for why having those declarations is good. It may not be a requirement of the Charity Commission - but the CC sets out the minimum standards we should be attaining, which we should be aiming to exceed. I'm surprised to hear that it's not best practice for charities - please could you explain that statement? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:00, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
Agree with Mike & Harry that nil declarations remove a potential ambiguity, and the point of this document is to avoid that ambiguity. MartinPoulter (talk) 23:06, 10 July 2012 (UTC)
I also agree. It is best practice to have a record of interests, and a record of interests that doesn't distinguish between having not been filled in by a particular board member and that board member having no interests to declare isn't really doing the job. --Tango (talk) 02:03, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
I tend to agree, though it doesn't bother me just to note it at the end as "No other people have relevant declarations to make". One thing I will point out though is that it is a good idea to choose one or the other (either to have them or not) and for everyone to be listed (or, of course, not). Because the page notes that sensitive declarations will be noted on the private office wiki - and you might find some idiots assuming that missing individuals therefore have a private declaration listed. Just to head off the inevitable. --ErrantX (talk) 20:17, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Any progress on this? One blank section looks very odd. John Vandenberg (talk) 03:24, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

I've put it down for discussion at the September board meeting, but the Board may have chance to talk about it earlier than that depending on how things go. Things are rather busy right now, though. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 05:37, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

Register of gifts

Someone buying you lunch isn't an interest. We should have a separate register of gifts for that sort of thing. Do we have a policy on gifts? If not, I suggest something simple - gifts below £30 individually and below £100 cumulatively over the last 12 months from that person/company don't need to be declared. Anything over those limits and under £200 individually or cumulatively can be accepted, but has to be included in the register. Anything over £200 should be rejected unless agreed by a board resolution. This applies to all board members, staff members, and volunteers when acting in an official capacity. I don't think anything more complicated than that is necessary, and that should be sufficient transparency to allow any potential conflicts to be spotted before they become a problem. --Tango (talk) 11:20, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree, lunch is uninteresting. I have had several cups of tea and the odd cheap sandwich bought for me in the staff canteen of the British Library, meh, we have much bigger things to worry about. I would suggest even simpler, any "gift" or "expense" paid for by another party as part of Wikimedia UK business over 50 quid should be declared. This includes any pattern of small gifts/expenses, such as if the BL paid for my lunches in their staff canteen every working day for a month (around 20 of their cheap lunches just might push over 50 quid). By the way, your proposal assumes we have a system for accepting declarations from volunteers - I suggest we get such a policy and procedure agreed first (per the water cooler discussion on principles). -- (talk) 13:19, 12 October 2012 (UTC)
I think £30 is the right place to draw the line. That allows a nice working lunch to come under the threshold, but anything more than that gets declared. If you want to draw the line for cumulative gifts at the same point for simplicity, I wouldn't object. I do think there needs to be an upper limit on what gifts can be accepted (with the board making exceptions in some cases if there is a particularly good reason for accepting it). Large gifts create conflicts, or the perceptions of conflicts, far too easily. Just declaring them doesn't remove that in the way it does for smaller gifts. As for volunteers with COIs, my view is simply that they should declare them whenever they are relevant - I don't think anything else is practical. Volunteers should declare gifts whenever they are received in connection with their work for WMUK. --Tango (talk) 01:08, 14 October 2012 (UTC)