Glossary

Managing conflicts of interest: Guidance for public entities.

Public entity refers to a person or organisation subject to audit by the Auditor-General, as defined in the Public Audit Act 2001. It includes, for example, government departments, State-owned enterprises, local authorities, state and integrated schools, tertiary education institutions, other Crown entities, and various other entities that are controlled by public entities (such as subsidiaries or council-controlled organisations). A public entity can take different forms – it might be part of the Crown, a body created by statute, a company, a board, a trust, an incorporated society, or a single office-holder.

Member or official refers to any person who works for a public entity. They could be a statutory office holder, Minister, elected board member, appointed board member, or employee. For the purposes of this guidance, sometimes it will also be appropriate to regard someone who is a contractor or consultant to a public entity as an official.

Official role refers to the duties or responsibilities a member or official has to their public entity.

Other interest refers to a member's or official's separate interest or duty which comes into conflict with their official role. Usually, the "other interest" will be personal or private in nature. However, sometimes it may not be – for example, it might relate to another public entity. Sometimes the other interest might be better described as a duty, but for convenience we will usually use the term "interest" to include a duty as well. And sometimes the other interest might actually belong to someone else to whom the member or official has a connection (see paragraphs 2.32-2.33).

Bias is a common legal description of some types of conflict of interest, especially those situations that involve predetermination. In this guidance, we use the term "conflict of interest" to include situations that may be labelled as bias or predetermination (see paragraphs 2.23-2.24 and 2.40-2.44).

Note: We discuss and define conflicts of interest in Part 2.

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