The importance of recognizing conflicts of interest in the public sector and managing them effectively is highlighted today in a report by the National Audit Office.
In the last year, the NAO has had a significant number of potential conflicts referred to it, through whistleblowing and otherwise, particularly in areas of government where services are increasingly commissioned and delivered by parties at arm’s length from departments.
According to today’s report, conflicts of interest can bring decision-making into disrepute, if not well-managed. Often the perception of conflict is alone enough to cause concern. This can lead to reputational damage and undermine public confidence in the integrity of institutions.
The NAO provides examples of conflicts that have arisen in the delivery of public services, drawing on existing work and other intelligence.