Conflict of interest policy

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bruce
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Conflict of interest policy

Post by bruce » Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:17 am

To be clear up front, I am not accusing anyone of anything, this is posted with a view to setting some boundaries to avoid future issues. I will be using a recent example to illustrate the point, but I am not suggesting that anything untoward has occurred...

The new board are (rightly IMO) looking to assist the EC team with some sponsorship to offset kit & travel costs. It seems this is being provided by Disczoo, although I haven't seen a formal announcement of this; the prize for a logo design is the only public declaration of their involvement. As far as I'm aware, no other UK disc golf companies were approached wrt to sponsorship.

As British DG goes forward it seems likely that there will be more partnerships like this, and I think it's important the the BDGA remains neutral and equitable to all parties with an interest in the UK DG scene. To facilitate this, I suggest the BDGA sets out a conflict of interest policy, and asks all appointed officials to declare any COIs. Luckily the PDGA has already done the hard yards here, so it should be a simple process to adapt their policy to the BDGA: http://www.pdga.com/board-of-directors/ ... f-interest

It's also important to be transparent, and I'll refer to James' first election 'manifesto' point here:
1: Collective Decision Making: As mentioned above I would like to run a BDGA that is a much more inclusive operation in terms of decision making.
When partnerships and sponsorship decisions are made, it will pay for them to be made publicly and openly...
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by ChrisOBrien » Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:32 pm

24 views, no comment. What do the members of the board have to say?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by LostMeow » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:48 am

My initial response is: blimey, that's a long-winded policy... :?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Del » Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:26 am

Yes, the BDGA should have a Conflict of Interest policy. This is standard practice in many organisations - I've submitted my annual declaration at University of Warwick this week. We have to make a statement every year, even if there are no conflicts to declare.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Charlie Mead » Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:09 am

I agree entirely. And to set the record straight there have been no official agreements made for any sponsorship for EDGC Team as yet - just an offer to help with fundraising for the team from Disc Zoo that is in idea form only. Also Disc Zoo and Catch The Spirit have both been informally approached to see if they could help sponsor EDGC Team Kit. Neither have made any formal commitment as yet.

The problem with rumour and gossip is that it is just that. The Board have been approached for advice and guidance on funding all aspects of the EDGC Team and we are working on a range of opportunities including fundraising which will involve the team and as many BDGA members that feel they can and want to contribute.

News on all aspects will made available as and when they happen - it is early days yet in this process!
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:20 pm

Mirroring what Charlie has said. And following on from what Bruce says...When sponsorship and partnership decisions are made they will always be made publicly and openly. But until such time as a sponsorship decision has been made we can't really make it public or open since there is nothing to make public as of yet.

The board have been considering a number of fundraising options to aid in the travel and fees of the team going to EDGC. Nothing is set in stone as yet but when it is it will all be made clear.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by bruce » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:14 pm

It certainly wasn't my intent to start rumours or gossip, I was suggesting a way to avoid such things in future. Good to hear the team is getting support.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by rhatton1 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:25 pm

Whilst putting sponsorship up to tender might be a bad idea, can the BDGA give an idea of what it is looking for sponsorship wise in a formal statement and then put out a call for "Expression of interest" from potential sponsors. This is an often followed route in sporting sponsorships/partnerships and works to protect both parties.

Could they be clear in the statement who will make the final call on the decision - The board by vote? The national director by himself or Charlie (can't remember the job title)?

Coming back to the actual thread - will the BDGA enact a Conflict of interest policy going forward?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Charlie Mead » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:53 pm

Rich - we are, as said earlier in this thread, at an early stage and no formal list of intent, sponsorship etc has been created. We are being pushed along by Bruce's creation of this thread and I am conscious that I am having to be a lot more 'official' than I had intended at this stage. As James has said the Board are involved in all aspects of what I am trying to do - simply put to make the cost to each individual selected for EDGC as low as possible whilst getting the greatest value for money.

As such I will put out a formal request for tenders for sponsorship for a range of products and services in the next few days for which any individuals, groups, clubs, companies or other interested parties can bid. I would be more than happy to receive any support for the team from any source (ethically) so that we can best represent our country at the showcase for European Golf in 2016.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by LostMeow » Fri Feb 26, 2016 4:54 pm

I think it is agreed that a COI policy is a good idea for the BDGA. Please give us a chance to redraft any necessary parts of that gargantuan PDGA document.

If it were up to me, the policy would be replaced by a Google-esque mission statement: "Don't be evil."

As far as I am aware, Charlie as PDGA coordinator is handling the EDGC team. In the past it has not been run by the BDGA Board (at least in the 5 (?) years I've been on the Board) and I (personally) don't see a pressing need for that to change now - other than Charlie reporting back to us. I assume he will tender for sponsorship as and when. Alternatively, if you are representing an organisation that might like to offer sponsorship, why not make an offer?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by rhatton1 » Fri Feb 26, 2016 8:00 pm

Tom, absolutely, I know that's no small task and you have way more than you bargained for on your plate already. Everything you are doing is highly appreciated. When it comes to the EDGC team it has historically been put together by the Captain but one of James main manifesto points was to make it more professional and supported, which is great.

Bruce's post however looked to be as a result of another stating Disc Zoo are putting forward a prize for the design competition, seems a trifling thing of no consideration, especially when you know the good motives behind it but...

Let's take ourselves away for a moment from everything we know about the sport - everything we know about each other and look at this situation with outside eyes.

A prize - probably a disc - is good advertising for a company for a very minimal investment. They are then intrinsically as a company linked with the National team, probably blazoned all over their website - that looks good to people not intimately aware of our sport, it's useful to have that seen by hundreds of eyes on social media as well from the original message, all of whom buy discs.
None of the other main disc sellers in the country were advised in advance this prize competition was going to happen.
After being pointed out and questioned this competition was then shared on Facebook without the wording or anything else changing.
The person running the competition and declaring the prize has ties (assuming financial?) to the organisation benefiting.

With outside eyes that doesn't look good.

I know the BDGA work and Charlie's PDGA coordinator work is no ones full time job and so it's asking a hell of a lot to make sure everything is watertight and checked before being released. But once something has been pointed out as an issue, don't then release again without looking to change, or at least explaining why a change isn't necessary. Just don't open yourselves up to the possibility of criticism.

This is why I asked to be clear on who will make the final decision. In the same way I said to Tom/James before Christmas that if I were allowed to be on the development committee I would have no say in where funds were allocated. Anyone with a financial tie, a familial or even ex business relationship tie should be very careful before being involved in a decision process involving money. This sounds incredibly critical as I read it it, its not meant to be and especially not directed at any individual. I am saying do not open yourselves up to the possibility of motives being questioned.

I'm lifting this quote from a document about conflicts of interest as it is very relevant especially in such a small sport as ours-
"The integrity of the board’s processes and decisions depends on respecting the fact that conflicts of interest are always present. It’s how we acknowledge and address them that matters."

Things in this sport are changing. Quickly. The BDGA have to be seen to be transparent in all their dealings. They currently aren't, this isn't an accusation, it's just true at the moment, and it always used to be true too, this hasn't suddenly changed in the last 6 months. However the UK Disc Golf scene has changed and the board unfortunately for the already stretched volunteers on it need to change with it. It is a lack of transparency that causes rumour and gossip to start.

In other news, Disc Golf UK would be delighted to offer a prize for the competition. and would be interested to hear about the other products and services when there is more information.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:35 pm

http://www.disczoo.com

I think as we can see nothing is blazened across anything. A prize was offered in order to encourage participation in the creation of a team logo that we can be proud of. As far as I understand we don't need to consult anybody before we accept a offer that I saw as a nice gesture. I don't think Disczoo after offering a small prize for a logo competition could or would even attempt to claim they are the sponsors of the national team. From where I stand we are in a position where we would like to make an expensive trip for our team as cheap as possible and any offer to aid in that mission will be accepted provided that it is ethical and in the interest of the team. No one person or company will have a monopoly on sponsorships. All are welcome.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Dan » Tue Mar 01, 2016 10:54 pm

Should we have a conflict of interest policy?

If we were registered as a charity, and I'm pretty sure that was a goal of the BDGA for this year, we should certainly have one. It needn't be complex but we should.

As Rich rightly said, we are a small group now, but we hopefully won't always and if there is a time when other people are looking in at us as an organisation, we should be above board.

Basically I'm just hijacking this to bump the charity thing and hopefully a conflict of interest policy would be a convenient side effect. :D


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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Vic » Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:08 am

To eliminate problems with a conflict of interest policy, any discussions relating to equipment and discs should be a mandatory declaration for those with interests in any organisation distributing or marketing such goods, and any decisions taken in relation to these discussions should exclude those with conflicts of interest in the voting process.
Is this not a simple and clear way of making sure that any external or internal examination of the practices of the BDGA maintains trust in the integrity of it's structure and practice?

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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by seamus » Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:54 am

Well said Vic.

As a side note to conflict I would like to hijack this thread slightly and bring up a subject that is bound to cause tension sooner or later. As more and more private disc golf businesses appear in the UK I think it is important to understand that for some of us this is our business and turning up to an event with a box full of wares to sell on the tournament property is not acceptable without permission. It is not a big problem nor is it something that is out of hand yet here. It was a big issue for a few years from where I moved and some friendships never recovered.
I am only mentioning this so we might avoid any future conflicts.

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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Jester » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:10 am

Vic wrote:To eliminate problems with a conflict of interest policy, any discussions relating to equipment and discs should be a mandatory declaration for those with interests in any organisation distributing or marketing such goods, and any decisions taken in relation to these discussions should exclude those with conflicts of interest in the voting process.
Is this not a simple and clear way of making sure that any external or internal examination of the practices of the BDGA maintains trust in the integrity of it's structure and practice?

Vic
Absolutely, Vic, you couldn't have put this any better. I cannot think of any reasonable justification that any Board member, or official appointed by the Board, would not declare today on this thread anything that if later discovered would cause their integrity to be brought into question.

A precedent for upfront, honest behaviour was set many years ago by Del Robins and Richard Sampson, when in their roles as National Director and Communications Director they made clear their respective business involvements in Del's Discs and Discology.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by seamus » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:24 am

Is there a deadline set for the establishment of a development committee?
I've already been contacted twice by people who received no response after seeking disc golf course information from the Bdga.
Seems a shame to be so unorganized at the hottest time of year for development.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Thu Mar 10, 2016 1:42 pm

seamus wrote:Is there a deadline set for the establishment of a development committee?
I've already been contacted twice by people who received no response after seeking disc golf course information from the Bdga.
Seems a shame to be so unorganized at the hottest time of year for development.

Development committee should all be sorted in the next few weeks. Not sure about people not being responded to as I have forwarded all development emails to come to me in the short period in which we've had no development committee and i've responded in full to all of them. I'll check junk folders etc and see if there is any problem with these queries getting through.

Thanks for the heads up Seamus!
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by ChrisOBrien » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:52 pm

Jester wrote:Absolutely, Vic, you couldn't have put this any better. I cannot think of any reasonable justification that any Board member, or official appointed by the Board, would not declare today on this thread anything that if later discovered would cause their integrity to be brought into question.
Time has gone by and still no conflict of interest identified or declared? Are we sure? How about:

National Director sponsored by a Disc Golf equipment provider, and son of:

International Rep also sponsored by same company. Stake holder of company and actively working on their behalf, for example import of disc golf targets from far east with intention to sell at a profit.

Communications Director - Significant association with same company via CDGC. Assigning the same company to develop the BDGA website and host the website and email accounts.


Regarding the Development committee:
What happened to the Development Committee - am I no longer on it? Should I be on the new one? I am pretty dedicated and experienced in the development of the sport, am I not? I would like to see that responses to enquiries are transparent to board members and potentially all members if requested and that there is in no way a recommendation towards any one particular supplier or equipment solution. There are a few enterprises in the UK now who have set themselves up to assist with development projects of all kinds. Therefore all the BDGA has to do is point enquiries to all these contacts for equipment and services together with advice of any local clubs or players in the same geographical area. Let's be honest - the enquiries that come in all essentially equate to potential 'hot leads' so why not encourage and assist the people who enquire to contact all potential providers for advice and quotes.

I consider everyone in the game of Disc Golf to be my friends and I in no way want to undermine the hard work and passion that the BDGA board are putting into the sport. I am not one for speaking out in this way as don't like to directly interfere and moreover I like to trust that everyone in our sport to adheres to the Spirit of the Game on and off the course. I have a duty to get involved here as a long term member and director of a Disc Golf related business which has existed as a trusting partner organisation to the BDGA for 10 years.

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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:29 pm

Ok, so let me make things clear on my end of things. I am sponsored by Disczoo, they provide me with discs and clothes to wear. This in no way affects my decision making process on any aspect of BDGA work as bias towards any disc golf company doesn't come into most of the things that I do. Furthermore, I didn't take on a voluntary role so that I could potentially increase the stock of Disczoo, that would really seem like a lot of work just to boost the company a little bit. If there is any feeling among members that the decisions being made by myself or those that I work with on the board are in the best interest of one particular company and not in the best interest of British Disc Golf then I welcome their questions as I have absolutely nothing to hide.

Secondly, we looked for volunteers and put a team together to re-design the website. Nige Williams involvement in this re-design is nothing to do with a special relationship with Rich Wood or any member of the board. It is more to do with the fact that Nige works as a web designer and so was best suited to the job of redesigning a website. A no brainer you could say.

Regarding the development committee. It has been disbanded and we are nearly finished setting out a structure for the new committee. It is currently up for debate whether or not individuals who make a profit from installation of courses should be allowed on the committee as the committee will have a budget and will be making decisions on how development money is spent. It seems fitting in this thread to point out that would represent a serious conflict of interest.
I can confirm that in the time the committee has been disbanded I have been responding to these 'hot leads' with the exact same responses detailing the contact details of each individual or company and have let the enquirer decide for themselves how to proceed I imagine after looking at websites etc. The new committee will also have a group of board approved companies that they should recommend which provided they provide a good service any company will be added to said list.

I hope this clears some things up.
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