A note for organisers of interchange
When considering an interchange opportunity, it is important to take full account of any possible conflicts of interest which may arise, such as:
- individuals on inward secondments using knowledge gained in a government department for either their company’s or their personal advantage;
- civil servants going to an organisation which could put in a tender to do work for their parent department at a future date; and
- civil servants going out to charitable organisations and subsequently lobbying departments, including their own, for policy favourable to their hosts’ needs.
In particular you should check if:
- a civil servant has had access to commercially sensitive information about any competitors of their prospective interchange host in the course of their official duties;
- a civil servant’s official duties have, in recent years, included giving advice of benefit to a prospective interchange host, and whether the offer of a secondment to them could be interpreted as a reward; and
- a civil servant about to start an interchange has been involved in policy development of interest to the prospective host organisation.
When dealing with possible conflicts of interest:
- define the interchange opportunity on paper, recording any possible conflicts of interest;
- agree between the parent and host organisation how the conflict should be handled and build in mutually agreed assurances; and
- identify whether the conflict can be contained or removed and, if it cannot, do not proceed with the interchange.