RSO Conflict of Interest Information
The Nuclear Waste Services (NWS) Research Support Office (RSO) recognises that academics and other interested parties working with the RSO have diverse interests and contacts within the local, national and international community. Links between academics that work within the RSO and funders (including NWS), policy makers and other public bodies are fundamental and beneficial to the running of the RSO. However, the RSO recognises that such connections and working practices may give rise to potential conflicts of interest.
This conflict of interest policy aims to set out the roles, responsibilities and arrangements for identifying, managing and monitoring conflicts of interests. The National Audit Office (NAO) cross-governments Conflicts of Interest report, published in 2015, has informed much of our Conflict of Interest policy document development. The policy has been reviewed by the RSO Core Team, and will be presented to the RSO Strategy Board for endorsement.
What is a conflict of interest?
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. It can occur in any situation where an individual or organisation (private or government) can exploit a professional or official role for personal or other benefit. This definition is based on generally accepted standards.
For the purpose of this policy the term conflict of interest encompasses actual, perceived, or potential conflicts of interest.
Actual – a direct benefit, financial or otherwise, to the individual or to a relative or friend of the individual.
Perceived – a situation whereby a reasonable person would consider it likely that an actual conflict of interest would occur, regardless of whether there is an actual or potential conflict of interest.
Potential – a situation that could develop into an actual or perceived conflict of interest.
Individuals working with the RSO are responsible for identifying and declaring any conflict of interest as they arise. The types of conflicts that may arise for specific roles within the RSO, and the reporting expectations for people within those roles, are indicated in the Conflict of Interest policy document. Members of the Core Team, the Discipline Leads and the NWS Subject Matter Experts must declare annually, when prompted, any personal and professional interests that may compromise, or might be reasonably assumed to compromise, impartiality or lead to a private benefit. Where there are no conflicts identified we will ask for a null return. The annual declaration will coincide with the Strategy Board meetings.
The RSO project manager will maintain a register of interests. This will be updated following the annual declaration by all RSO staff, and ad hoc following additional declarations as they arise.
Here is a link to the full Conflict of Interest policy which also contains examples of potential conflicts of interest.