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Appendix: Types of interests and the risks they create in local government

Ashburton District Council: Allegations of conflicts of interest affecting decisions on a second bridge.
Type of conflictRelevant lawLegal risks
Does the member stand to gain or lose financially from the decision the Council is being asked to make?

Or

Does the member’s spouse/partner or business stand to gain or lose financially from the decision the Council is being asked to make?
If yes, the potential conflict is financial.
Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968 For the member:
  • criminal conviction
  • loss of office
  • fine
For the Council:
  • judicial review
Is the decision likely to affect someone that the member is related to or closely associated with, or another organisation they are involved with?
If yes, is there a risk that the member will be seen to be biased in the way they vote because of their relationship or association with that person or organisation?
If yes, the potential conflict is non-financial.
Common law For the member:
  • no personal liability
For the Council:
  • judicial review
Is the decision likely to affect another organisation that the member has a role in?
If yes:
Is there a risk that the member will be seen to be acting in the interests of the other organisation rather than the Council?
If the member participates, is there a risk that they might breach obligations owed to the Council or the other organisation, such as a duty of loyalty or of confidentiality?
If yes, the member has a potential conflict of roles.
Common law For the member:
  • potential civil liability if the member breaches legal duties owed to the other organisation
For the Council:
  • judicial review
If member participates in this decision, is there a risk that people will think they have made up their mind about how they are going to vote before they have listened fairly to all the arguments?
If yes, there is a risk of predetermination.
Common law For the member:
  • no personal liability
For the Council:
  • judicial review

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Ashburton District Council: Allegations of conflicts of interest affecting decisions on a second bridge

ISBN 978-0-478-41096-9 (online)