Conflicts of interest: example scenarios

Are you clear on when to withdraw from a meeting because of a conflict of interest, such as a personal relationship? See real-life examples to understand the underlying principles, and find out what to do when conflicts of interest arise.

Last reviewed on 8 November 2023
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 5858
  1. What a conflict of interest is
  2. Declare your conflict of interest
  3. Why it matters
  4. Pecuniary interests
  5. Personal relationships
  6. Sitting on more than 1 board
  7. Chair of governors
  8. Parent governors and staff governors

Governance experts Fred Birkett, Keith Clover, Bill Dennison, Jane Edminson and Kate Foale helped us with this article, as well as governance consultant Nicki Wadley and the support service One Education.

What a conflict of interest is

A conflict of interest is any interest that you have that could potentially affect your ability to make impartial decisions. 

Broadly speaking, conflicts can arise from:

  • Personal relationships
  • Business or financial activities
  • Governance roles in any other educational establishments. There are many ways educational institutions can be linked which may not seem obvious at first. For example, independent pre-schools can be ‘feeder schools’ for primary schools, or staff can move between primary and secondary schools

Declare your conflict of interest

On the register of interests

Your board

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.