With this document you can:

This box is not visible in the printed version.

Lived Experience Advisory Panel: Managing conflicts of interest policy

The policy on managing conflicts of interest for the Gambling Commission's Lived Experience Advisory Panel. The policy aims to maintain public trust and confidence.

Published: 25 April 2023

Last updated: 25 April 2023

This version was printed or saved on: 21 July 2024

Online version: https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/policy/lived-experience-advisory-panel-managing-conflicts-of-interest-policy

Introduction

1. The credibility and impact of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) depends on the independence and objectivity of its advice to the Gambling Commission and on the confidence of others in its integrity. It is important therefore that LEAP members abide by agreed principles in this policy, reflecting the Nolan Principles of Public Life1.

The purpose of this policy is to explain:

2. This policy applies to the following groups of people, although the requirements and processes may be different for each:

3. The aim of this policy is to maintain public trust and confidence in the Commission and the individuals who work in and with the Commission.

4. As a statutory regulator and public body, the Commission expects those involved with it to maintain the highest standards of probity and integrity.

5. This policy is owned by the Governance team and will be reviewed annually in quarter two (July to September) to ensure it remains up to date and effective.


1 The Seven Principles of Public Life (opens in new tab).

What is a conflict of interest

6. The Gambling Commission has adopted the National Audit Office’s definition of a conflict of interest:

'A conflict of interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that an individual’s ability to apply judgement or act in one role is, or could be, impaired or influenced by a secondary interest. The perception of competing interests, impaired judgement or undue influence can also be a conflict of interest'2.

7. Conflicts of interest can create problems for the organisation and individuals. They can:

8. Professional experience and connections can bring benefits to the work of the Commission, and often form part of the reason why an individual has been appointed to a particular role. However, they can give rise to conflicts of interest, which must be managed effectively.

9. Not every interest will result in a conflict. Conflicts of interest can change over time – meaning that an interest that did not initially represent a conflict may become one. If you are unsure whether an interest represents an issue please seek advice from the Governance team.

Example

Acting as a trustee of a housing association is unlikely to present a conflict with Commission business, however, if that housing association were to submit a proposal to the Commission seeking regulatory settlement funds a conflict may well arise.


2 Managing conflicts of interest and keeping public trust - National Audit Office (NAO) insight (opens in new tab), August 2017.

Types of interest

10. Examples of potential conflicts of interest are (this list is not exhaustive) as follows.

Financial interests

Financial interests in a gambling and/or lottery operator, a company supplying a gambling operator or a company who supplies the Gambling Commission, an organisation seeking work and/or funds from the Commission.

Conflicts of loyalty

Conflicts of loyalty in which an individual’s duty to another person or organisation could prevent the individual acting solely in the best interests of the Commission.

Professional interests

Professional interests in concurrent work with a gambling and/or lottery operator, a company supplying a gambling operator, a company who supplies the Commission, or an organisation seeking work and/or funds from the Commission.

Political interests

Standing for elected office, holding a position in a political party.

Volunteering and/or charity work and/or campaigning and/or lobbying

Volunteering, being a member, trustee or director of any organisation active in matters relating to gambling, or who receives funding from National Lottery and/or society lottery distributors and/or gambling operators.

Indirect conflicts

Meaning conflicts arising from the interests of close family members and business relationships.

11. The relationships included in paragraph 10. 'Indirect conflicts' previously are defined as:

12. Gifts and hospitality are not dealt with within this policy. The rules relating to these issues can be found within our corporate governance framework.

13. Conflicts may be potential, actual or reasonably perceived3. All three types require management.


3 Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, paragraph 4.2 (PDF) (opens in new tab), June 2019.

Incompatible conflicts

14. There are circumstances in which conflicts cannot be managed in such a way as to remove the influence of those conflicts or perceived conflicts on decision making by the Gambling Commission. Examples of such conflicts are (this list is not exhaustive):

15. For the purpose of this policy, a senior interest refers to positions equivalent to the level of Chief Executives, Directors, Senior Management, Trustees – whether paid or unpaid.


4 Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, paragraph 3.11 (PDF) (opens in new tab), June 2019.

Past convictions

16. People with past criminal convictions linked to gambling harms are welcome to join the group. These people will have relevant experience of this form of gambling-related harm and these perspectives will be valuable to the work of the group. If someone is subject to a live and on-going criminal investigation, they would not be able to be a member of the group. If someone is subject to live and on-going regulatory case work, then conflicts arising will be managed on a case-by-case basis.

Press and media

17. Members of Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) are not expected or required to engage with press or media enquiries. If members are approached by the media and you do not wish to make a comment or you would like support or guidance, please contact the Lived Experience Coordinator in the first instance, and the Gambling Commission Public Affairs team will manage the situation.

18. If you are engaging in any media or press activity, we would encourage you to inform us so we can be prepared if we are approached by the press for comment.

19. To be clear, the Commission does not seek to restrict your public comments on gambling but would ask that you make it clear that you are speaking in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the LEAP group.

Principles for managing conflicts of interest

20. The key principle for dealing with actual or potential conflicts of interest is integrity, as defined in the Seven Principles of Public Life5.

21. In general, everyone covered by this policy should:

Definition of integrity

'Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial of other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.'


5 The Seven Principles of Public Life (opens in new tab).

Managing conflicts of interest

22. Different rules apply to different groups of people, reflecting their varied roles in the Gambling Commission’s governance structure. An overview of the types of roles and the rules that apply can be found at Annex A.

23. Managing interests and abiding by the principle of transparency is an on-going responsibility of each individual and needs active management. The Governance team maintain the Commission’s register of interests and can provide advice as needed, however it is the individual’s responsibility to ensure they are familiar with these rules on handling interests, complying with them, and ensuring their declaration of interest is accurate and up to date.

Declaration and publication of interests

24. The purpose of a register of interests is to ensure the Commission is able to identify and manage potential conflicts. For the most senior decision-makers and advisers in the organisation their register of interests will be published on the Commission website as part of our commitment to transparency and the requirements of Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies which specifies interests should be declared publicly6.

25. For individuals appointed into decision-making and advisory roles, a declaration of interests will be sought at appointment, with an annual update thereafter (usually in April).

26. For individuals who enter into a role or activity where a declaration is needed (for instance, becoming a member of a decision-making group or making a procurement decision), a declaration of interests will be sought, with annual updates required.

27. All employees and contractors are asked to identify any conflicts of interest during the recruitment process. It is the individual's responsibility to keep any declaration up to date, and the Commission will issue annual reminders to do so.

28. In recognition that interests may be acquired or may unexpectedly give rise to a conflict, decision-making meetings will have declarations of interest as a standing agenda item, allowing individuals to notify the Chair of any emerging conflict. Any declaration will be recorded in the minutes. The Chair of the meeting will decide how to manage the interest, with support of the secretariat and referring to this policy. It is the individual’s responsibility to disclose any emerging interest.

Decisions about managing interests

29. The action taken to manage an interest will depend on the nature of the interest and its interaction and/or potential interaction with Commission business. In the event of an unresolved conflict, the decision on how to manage it will be taken by the Accounting Officer, advised by the advisory group chair if appropriate.

30. Disputes about the proposed handling will be dealt with through a review of the decision by the Chair of the Commission. In the case of Commissioners and the Chair – referral to Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS).

31. In all cases outlined in paragraphs 29. and 30., advice and guidance should be taken from the Governance team, People Services or General Counsel, as appropriate.

32. Failure to disclose an interest or comply with directions to effectively manage a conflict of interest may result in disciplinary action or termination of appointment.

Rules for managing interests

33. In the case of incompatible conflicts (see paragraph 14. within the 'Incompatible conflicts' section), the interest must either be removed or the individual’s employment or appointment with the Commission must cease. The decision lies with the individuals outlined in paragraph 29., and in the event of a dispute, follows paragraph 30.

34. In recognition of the serious consequences of identifying an incompatible conflict, additions to the list at paragraph 14. (within the 'Incompatible conflicts' section) can only be made by the Board of Commissioners with advice from General Counsel.

35. Individuals must remove themselves from discussion or determination of matters in which they, or a connected person, have a financial interest. The exception to this requirement is some decisions relating to pay and conditions, which must, on occasion, be discussed by the people affected by them. Care will be taken to ensure the risk of conflict is minimised and oversight is provided. As a minimum decisions of this type must always be recorded.

36. The requirement for an individual to remove themselves from a discussion or determination includes avoiding any procurement process where they have an interest in a potential supplier, any meeting where the issue is being discussed, and any discussion of the issue outside of meetings. If a conflict is engaged during a meeting, the meeting will halt whilst the individual leaves. The recusal should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

37. In matters where individuals, or connected persons, have a non-financial interest, they should declare the interest and not participate in the discussion or determination of a matter where the interest might give rise to the suggestion of bias or perceived bias.

38. In other cases, options for managing interests will vary depending on the interest and the nature of the individual’s role with the Commission. Possible responses include (this list is not exhaustive):

Example

People Services proposing a new performance management process to the Executive Team.
Commissioners at the Remuneration Committee reviewing proposals in relation to expenses payments.

These proposals will have an impact on everyone involved in the design and decision but is an essential part of the role of the parties.


6 Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies, paragraph 4.3 (PDF) (opens in new tab), June 2019.

Data protection and confidentiality

39. We will comply with United Kingdom (UK) data protection law and any other applicable legislation. To see more information on how we process your personal information, see Annex B: Privacy notice - register of personal interests.

40. We will protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of all information we process in line with our policies and procedures which can be found on the Gambling Commission’s website.

Annex A: Rules and handling

Decision makers

A definition of this role would be:

Likely role titles within definition

Required handling

Can expect the highest level of scrutiny. Declarations of full interests published on The Gambling Commission's website for transparency.

Source of rules

For all - HM Treasury Managing Public Money (opens in new tab).

Commissioners and independent committee members - Code of Conduct for Commissioners, Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies (PDF) (opens in new tab) and terms and conditions of appointment.

For Commission employees - Code of Conduct for Employees and contract of employment.

Advisers

A definition of this role would be providing advice to the Commission on matters of policy or strategy.

Likely role titles within definition

A likely role title may include a member of an advisory group.

Required handling

Can expect a high level of scrutiny. Declarations of relevant interests published on the Commission's website for transparency.

Source of rules

For all - Terms and conditions of appointment, Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies and terms of reference of each group.

Financial and/or commercial decision makers

A definition of this role would be those who procure goods and services (including evaluation of procurement processes). Those who manage a contract. Those who are budget holders.

Likely role titles within definition

Likely role titles may include:

Required handling

Relevant interests to be declared annually and when entering procurement process and/or taking on the management of a contract. Internal management.

Source of rules

Source of rules include contract of employment, Code of Conduct for Employees and Managing Public Money.

General

A definition of this role would be all Commission employees and contractors.

Likely role titles within definition

All Commission employees and contractors.

Required handling

Relevant interests (including indirect interests) to be declared as they arise and particularly at beginning of work with the Commission, when moving to a new role within the Commission and during notice period. Internal management.

Source of rules

Contract of employment and Code of Conduct for Employees.

Specific circumstances

A definition of this role would be circumstances where, by virtue of the work being undertaken, there are particular demands that require specific rules in relation to conflicts of interest.

Likely role titles within definition

At present, those working on the 4th National Lottery Licence competition (Commission employees, contractors, Commissioners and advisers). Adjudicators as members of Regulatory Panels.

Required handling

None.

Source of rules

For all - Contract of employment or engagement and Code of Conduct for Employees.

For the fourth National Lottery - 4th National Lottery Licence competition Conflict of Interest (COI) policy.

For adjudicators - Adjudicator Governance Framework.

Annex B: Privacy notice – register of personal interests

This Privacy Notice sets out how the Gambling Commission processes your personal information in relation to the Register of Personal Interests.

The purpose of the register is to record information about any private interests that individuals have that others may reasonably consider to conflict with their public duties.

We collect this information to protect both the organisation and the individuals involved with it to maintain the highest standards of probity and integrity.

Who do we keep information about?

We keep information about:

What information do we collect about you?

We will record the information that is provided to us on the Register of Interests form as follows:

How will your information be used?

Your information will be held on a central register of interests which will be maintained by the Governance team.

For the most senior decision-makers and advisers in the organisation, information will be published on the Commission website as part of our commitment to transparency and to meet the requirements of the Cabinet Office Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies which specifies interests should be declared publicly.

Annex A of the Managing Conflicts of Interest Policy contains information relating to which category of information will be published.

What is our lawful basis for processing your personal information?

The General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 (opens in new tab) sets out the lawful bases for which personal information can be processed. The personal information that we process is done so as follows:

For Commission employees

Article 6(1)(a) – processing is necessary for the performance of a contract.

Please see relevant Codes of Conduct.

For individuals appointed by the Commission and/or Connected Individuals

Article 6(1)(f) – processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the Commission for the Register of Interests to be established and maintained.

Who is your personal information is shared with?

The central register of interests and completed forms, that are maintained by the Governance team will only be accessed by that team.

Where required this information will be published on the Commission’s website as set out in Annex A of the Managing Conflicts of Interest Policy.

Is my information transferred to a third country or international organisation?

No – but the Register of Interests is published on the Commission’s website which can be viewed from any location.

How long do you keep information about me?

The information that we collect about you will be updated at least annually.

The details recorded on the Personal Interests Register will be removed from the Commission’s website within one month after the individual leaves their position.

Electronic records will be kept for the duration of employment and/or appointment and then for 3 years after the individual has left their position. After this time, the information will be destroyed.

Your data protection rights

Under data protection law, you have rights including:

Your right of access

You have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information.

Your right to rectification

You have the right to ask us to rectify personal information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete.

Your right to erasure

You have the right to ask us to erase your personal information in certain circumstances.

Your right to restriction of processing

You have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances.

Your right to object to processing

You have the the right to object to the processing of your personal information in certain circumstances. You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

Please contact us at foi@gamblingcommission.gov.uk if you wish to make a request.

How to complain

If you have any concerns about our use of your personal information, you can make a complaint to us at foi@gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

You can also complain to the ICO if you are unhappy with how we have used your data.

The Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO) address:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Helpline number: 0303 123 1113.

ICO website: https://ico.org.uk (opens in new tab).