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 they arise.

Last reviewed on 16 November 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 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 one board
  7. Chair of governors
  8. Parent governors and staff governors

Our governance experts Fred Birkett, Keith Clover, Jane Edminson, Bill Dennison 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

You need to declare any interests on a declaration of interests form. Your clerk/governance professional is normally responsible for this, and will ask you to update it annually, or when your situation changes.