Conflict of interest policy

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Charlie Mead
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Charlie Mead » Mon Mar 14, 2016 9:39 pm

When the BDGA Board publishes its version of a COI policy I will respond appropriately. I wait to see the terms of reference, especially in relation to the sponsorship of events, tournaments and specific disc golf related activities. Meanwhile I can assure everyone that I sleep very well at night knowing that there is no conflict of interest in anything that I do. In any official role that I execute on behalf of members of BDGA all my decisions are verified by the Board and are in the best interest of the sport. I represent GB DG athletes at the highest level and I know that I would not be able to do so if my fellow representatives world wide thought that I was biased in any way. Thank you.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:43 pm

I would also point out Chris that you spent 3 years on the former development committee being the only individual involved in disc golf for profit who was a member of said committee. Through this you had sole access to these 'hot leads'. At no point during that time did I see you championing the cause for any other BDGA member who ran an organisation for profit to be added to the committee. So your concern for things being fair and equal on how development enquires are passed on is clearly a very new approach.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by seamus » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:38 am

I think you all would be pleasantly surprised at the amount of correspondence between Chris, Matt, Richard and myself regarding disc golf in the area, which btw is business not sport.

Who has been selected for the development committee?
Who decided the Board needs to write its own COI policy?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by bruce » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:54 am

james wrote:I would also point out Chris that you spent 3 years on the former development committee being the only individual involved in disc golf for profit who was a member of said committee. Through this you had sole access to these 'hot leads'. At no point during that time did I see you championing the cause for any other BDGA member who ran an organisation for profit to be added to the committee. So your concern for things being fair and equal on how development enquires are passed on is clearly a very new approach.
This is factually incorrect. Derek was on the committee and is fairly well known for running a DG business... The committee was formed by asking for interested parties to volunteer, no one was refused on any grounds, so any interested party had the opportunity to be involved at any time.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by ChrisOBrien » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:29 am

james wrote:I would also point out Chris that you spent 3 years on the former development committee being the only individual involved in disc golf for profit who was a member of said committee. Through this you had sole access to these 'hot leads'. At no point during that time did I see you championing the cause for any other BDGA member who ran an organisation for profit to be added to the committee. So your concern for things being fair and equal on how development enquires are passed on is clearly a very new approach.
The equipment and services provided by CTS are an excellent fit to the needs of the people enquiring. At the time the development committee began I was the only one dedicated to providing such services (with the exception of Seamus who at the time was focussing on developing Foxlake). I had written an in-depth document all about the process of designing and installing. Some sections of this document was made available to the BDGA as a resource to provide to people enquiring. To say I had sole access to these 'hot leads' isn't true but one of the enquiries has come to fruition - Calcot Manor. I have been of service to the BDGA during my role as development committee and completely embrace the changes that are taking place now. At this stage I want to see that it is evolving for the better, in a more fair and equal way, but I hope you can understand that the amount of information released about the changes and lack of direct communication to myself about it being dispanded - it has left me and many others guessing.

I do feel reassured by your comment:
James wrote: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.
Regarding the web development and hosting / no commercial interest - this is something I began to raise with the BDGA in the summer of 2014, when the site was embarrassingly out of date by over a year. I made the suggestion the BDGA finds an alternative webmaster who is impartial and with no commercial interests. I don't think it should be a 'no brainer' at all, to go with a skilled volunteer. Correspondence on the matter between myself and the whole board continued in January 2015. Here is a snippet from these discussions from the National Director at the time: 'one of the long standing dependencies has been on the host (Nige) for access, updates, we use the domain for the email addresses etc. Ideally I'd like to remove this dependency and go to a 'paid for' web hosting service. WordPress frequently have security vulnerabilities, phpBB regularly updates, I'd expect a provider to update these as a matter of course.'

That would have been a better path in my opinion. Clear and independent.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by james » Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:26 am

seamus wrote: Who has been selected for the development committee?
Who decided the Board needs to write its own COI policy?
We'll be taking applications shortly.

And all Board decisions are collective.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Nige » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:40 pm

Disc Zoo's recent activities have been done with an open heart and with a clear conscience. There is no secret plan to gain a competitive advantage through any channel, there is no hidden agenda, there is no intention to breed mistrust amongst other concerned parties.

We are only seeking to do things in a new way, and I think we are sufficiently responsible and capable of doing that in a professional manner.

There is an awful lot of negativity coming my way, for what reason I have no idea. Come on, seriously. We're all Disc Golf. Catch some Spirit.

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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by bruce » Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:53 am

I have been trying to avoid negativity here and frame this in context of putting clear boundaries in place to avoid future negativity. It seems clear they are needed. Nothing personal and I was very clear in my opening sentence that I was not accusing anyone of doing anything untoward.

For the record my view on the website was not actually anything to do with fair competition, or COI, it was guided by two principles: 1) our financial position is such that we could now afford a paid-for service, 2) a paid for service gives you an enhanced level of service and accountability.

As an example, if you get your mate to come around and help you knock out a wall, it turns out to be a supporting wall and your house collapses, you have little avenue for recompense. If you hire a builder with full insurance to do the work and they screw up, then you are covered.

I have no issue with Nige with his excellent web design skills being part of the process for the new website. I still think you should consider paid-for 3rd party hosting and moving to an independently managed platform such as Wordpress.
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Nige
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Nige » Wed Mar 16, 2016 7:34 pm

It wasn't you I was getting the negative waves from, Bruce.

With regards the web site, yeah, it's in a shocking state. I'll build it, and I'll do a good job, but I need the materials to do it. There's a very small team of volunteers working on the incredibly difficult task of collating and generating the content, and when they have it, I can move forward.

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Del
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Del » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:21 pm

Going back to the Development leads I'm a bit concerned that nobody has chimed in to say that they have had leads directed their way by the BDGA. Maybe they have, but have not said, or maybe they have had leads which came via the BDGA but didn't know that was how the enquirer knew of their existence. Or is the BDGA trying to be so scrupulously impartial that it does not inform people of any suppliers? I would be interested to know how James/the BDGA have responded to enquiries along the lines of "I have 20 acres of land and am interested in installing a disc golf course, can you advise me on how to go about this?"
James manifesto stated that he wanted the BDGA to be more actively involved. Personally I think the BDGA should concentrate on providing services to members and promoting the sport rather than use its limited resources in getting involved in a consultancy role which can be provided by several suppliers.
If it was me replying, I would refer to course design standards, PDGA demographics, PDGA approved targets, local reference sites and clubs, potential sources of funding, and then say the following people are involved in the supply and/or installation of disc golf courses
Chris O'Brien, email, web address
Nigel Williams, email, web address
Seamus Scanlon, email, web address
Richard Hatton, email, web address
They are all members of the BDGA in good standing, but the BDGA does not vouch for their services.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by mat cutler » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:36 am

Del wrote:Going back to the Development leads I'm a bit concerned that nobody has chimed in to say that they have had leads directed their way by the BDGA. Maybe they have, but have not said, or maybe they have had leads which came via the BDGA but didn't know that was how the enquirer knew of their existence. Or is the BDGA trying to be so scrupulously impartial that it does not inform people of any suppliers? I would be interested to know how James/the BDGA have responded to enquiries along the lines of "I have 20 acres of land and am interested in installing a disc golf course, can you advise me on how to go about this?"
James manifesto stated that he wanted the BDGA to be more actively involved. Personally I think the BDGA should concentrate on providing services to members and promoting the sport rather than use its limited resources in getting involved in a consultancy role which can be provided by several suppliers.
If it was me replying, I would refer to course design standards, PDGA demographics, PDGA approved targets, local reference sites and clubs, potential sources of funding, and then say the following people are involved in the supply and/or installation of disc golf courses
Chris O'Brien, email, web address
Nigel Williams, email, web address
Seamus Scanlon, email, web address
Richard Hatton, email, web address
They are all members of the BDGA in good standing, but the BDGA does not vouch for their services.
Well said Mr.Robins

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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by seamus » Fri Apr 29, 2016 2:23 pm

james wrote:
seamus wrote: Who has been selected for the development committee?
Who decided the Board needs to write its own COI policy?
We'll be taking applications shortly.

And all Board decisions are collective.
Since this has taken 6 weeks with no action I recommend applying the Pdga COI policy until one can be written by the Bdga.
How is that development committee?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by LostMeow » Wed May 25, 2016 10:22 am

This is the Conflicts of Interest Policy that the BDGA Board and other non-executive officers will be signing up to. I will release the COI statements as soon as possible.

http://bit.ly/BDGA-COI-policy
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Jester » Wed May 25, 2016 11:09 am

All looks good Tom, although I'm a bit concerned about about this specific point:

'C. Completed "Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Compliance" forms shall be retained by the BDGA. All such information shall be held in confidence unless the best interests of the BDGA dictates otherwise. Any disclosure of such form or the information therein shall take place only upon the majority vote of the Board or as may be required by valid legal order.'

The conflict of interest discussion appear to centre around Member concerns of perceived impartiality in the decision making of our elected DIrectors and Officers. It therefore felt like a very positive step to bring in a CoI policy to prove either:
1) a Director or Officer has no conflicts, or
2) a conflict exists, but because it is made known to Members, and the Director or Officer abstains from discussions or decisions where the conflict would arise, they can continue in their role

If these CoI statements are not made available to the members as a matter of course, I don't necessarily see the point in having them. I'm not suggesting you need to go as far as making the statements publically available, but if they are not published to members how will we know our elected DIrectors and unelected Officers are acting with the high standards their position expects?

James promised a more open and transparent BDGA but the wording above appears to be contrary to that. Perhaps I've got the wrong end of the stick, and that the Board actually does considers it in 'the best interests of the BDGA' to publish the statements? Please do correct me if that is the case, I just felt the above wording lies more to the non-disclosure end of things which IMHO negates the purpose of CoI statements in the first place and puts us back to square one.

tl:dr
I believe all Director and Officer CoI statements should be shared with all Members of the BDGA.
I believe all individuals standing for a Director or Officer positions should provide a CoI statement first so that Members may be aware of any conflicts before voting takes place.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by LostMeow » Wed May 25, 2016 11:52 am

Fair point(s). The text was copied from the PDGA COI policy, so I presumed that whatever was good enough for their 80000+ members would suffice for our 1500. I was intending on publishing the statements unless they contained confidential/sensitive information.
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Jester » Wed May 25, 2016 12:28 pm

LostMeow wrote:I was intending on publishing the statements...
Excellent! Very glad to hear that.
LostMeow wrote:...unless they contained confidential/sensitive information.
Ah. Perhaps I'm missing the point here, please help me understand if I am.

We agree the point of the CoI policy is to demonstrate we are an open and transparent organisation, and to give our Members confidence there is no untoward behaviour from our DIrectors or Officials.

A CoI statement will either state an individual has no conflicts, or list things that are/could be perceived as conflicts where the world of Disc Golf and the individual's role in the BDGA are concerned. What the statement won't do is list the individual's private information, or details not pertinent to DG or their BDGA role. Given that, I don't see how/why any part of a CoI statement could or should be redacted and not shared with the Members.

Indeed, it could cast doubt on an individual's suitability to hold a BDGA position if they wished to self-censor pertinent details that Members should be aware of. Doesn't that go against the point of having each DIrector/Offical make a public CoI statement in the first place?

TL:DR If a DIrector or Officer has a conflict of interest they will not make known to the Members, IMHO I don't see how they can continue in/stand for their position.
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LostMeow
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by LostMeow » Wed May 25, 2016 1:39 pm

I don't know. Just seems sensible to have some flexibility. If it's good enough for the PDGA I reckon it's probably good enough for us. This was adapted from their policy, ergo according to their own policy they don't disclose any of the COI statements to their members.

The point is supposed to be that BDGA Board (+ non-executive officers) publicly acknowledge they are abiding by this policy. If it subsequently turns out they acted contrary to it, here's what the policy says:

"If the Board or committee thereof has reasonable cause to believe that a Director or Officer has failed to disclose actual or possible Conflicts of Interest, it shall inform such person of the basis for such belief and afford such person an opportunity to explain the alleged failure to disclose. If, after hearing the response of the Director or Officer, and making such further investigation as may be warranted under the circumstances, the Board or committee thereof determines that the Director or Officer has in fact failed to disclose an actual or possible Conflict of Interest, it shall take appropriate disciplinary and corrective action."

i.e. the policy is policed (!) by the Board, not the entire Association. The policy is openly there to reassure the membership that things are being done properly.

The bottom line is, if you have so little trust in BDGA Board members, why not run against one of them in the next election?

TL;DR - to be honest this is one of the most tedious things I've ever had to do. People wanted a COI policy. I adapted one from an organisation very similar to ours. Here it is. What more do you want??
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by bruce » Wed May 25, 2016 10:29 pm

I don't really see why anyone running for office should have to declare COIs up front, or for that matter publish them post election/appointment. The policy seems pretty clear to me, namely 'you will declare any COIs and you will not allow them to influence your decisions'. The board should be capable of enforcing that without the general members having oversight.

When I sign up to an anti bribery policy at work, I don't have to list all my possible temptations, I just have to state that I won't be tempted. I see this the same way
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Jester » Thu May 26, 2016 7:33 am

If only we could trust everyone to be as open, honest and morally upstanding as you, Bruce. In a perfect world the CoI policy would not be needed, but the world isn't perfect and there are those who seek to gain an advantage whenever possible. The policy is there to stop that before it can start.

I have to sign up to a similar anti-bribary policy at work too, something pretty standard these days and I agree pre-disclosure for that would be uneccessary.

I don't agree however the BDGA CoI policy is in the same boat. It's purpose is to make clear to Members our elected DIrectors and non-elected Officers are acting with the integrity required by their roles. I think we'll all feel better when all conflicts/commercial interests/grey areas are out in the open and it's clear everything is above board.


Tom - I hope you know I respect the work you and all the Board members do, you know I did it myself for over 5 years. My comments are only intended to support your work and help get the best possible solution implemented that avoids future gaps or loopholes that would undermine the point of having the CoI policy. I know you don't really think that just because an individual is not standing for election themselves it makes their opinion any less valid, but I am a bit concerned it's only you that seems to be doing any of the Board's heavy lifting these days. There are 4 other Board members who could perhaps help share the load?
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Re: Conflict of interest policy

Post by Neil M » Thu May 26, 2016 3:28 pm

At school we have to sign a declaration of COI every year. It is not released publicy. However members of the school governing body have their COI's published on the school website.
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