School operations

School Council – Conduct and Conflict of Interest

Conflict of Interest

Conflicts of interest that are not effectively identified or managed:

  • put the school council and the school’s reputation at risk
  • jeopardise the public’s confidence in the school and school council

A conflict of interest occurs when a school councillor’s personal interests may influence, or may be seen to influence, their public duty.

A personal interest may arise from a member’s:

  • personal preference
  • relationship
  • connection
  • bias
  • property
  • hobby
  • or a desire to help family and friends

Personal interests can also be pecuniary (financial) or non-pecuniary.

Some examples of conflict of interest risks may arise when a school council undertakes the following activities, or in the following areas:

  • recruitment and selection activities
  • procurement activities
  • funding allocation activities
  • previous associations
  • gifts, benefits and hospitality


Conflicts of interest in recruitment might include:

  • family relationships or friendships with an applicant
  • close working relationship with an applicant
  • a hostile relationship with any applicant

If councillors are involved in any type of recruitment or selection process, each person must:

  • consider whether they have a real, potential or perceived conflict of interest

If so, or if unsure, each person must:

  • declare the conflict of interest to the school council at the earliest possible stage

Procurement or funding allocations

Conflicts of interest in procurement or funding allocations might include:

  • gifts, benefits or hospitality being offered to employees involved in the procurement process
  • family relationships or friendships with a supplier
  • close working relationships as a result of regular business with a supplier

Conflict of interest risks can affect any stage of procurement. Regardless of the monetary value, these risks must be proactively managed throughout the life of a procurement project.

Other areas where conflict of interest might arise

Other interests and associations that may result in potential, perceived or real conflicts of interest are:

  • external consulting
  • other (external employment)
  • private tutoring
  • out-of-hours sporting or community activities
  • using contractors for private works
  • personal relationships with employees
  • group affiliations
  • other public duties (member of local council or political party)
  • family and other relationships
Guidance chapter explaining school council conflict of interest

Reviewed 11 June 2020

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