4 Council Members

Council member disclosure of interest

The Act requires council members who have an interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered, by the council or a committee, to disclose the nature of their interest (s 175). The Act requires:

(1) A member … who has an interest in a matter being considered or about to be considered … shall, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member’s knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the council or committee.
(2) A disclosure … shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting … and the member shall not unless the council decides otherwise—
(a) be present during any deliberation of the council or committee with respect to that matter; or
(b) take part in any decision of the council or committee with respect to that matter.

For the purpose of the Act, a council member has an interest in a matter if they have any direct or indirect pecuniary interest, or the matter relates to their conditions of service as chief executive or as a staff member of the TEI.

A conflict of interest arises when a council member has an interest that conflicts (or may conflict or be perceived to conflict) with the interests of the TEI. That is, the interest held could create an incentive for the member to act in a way that may not be in the best interest of the TEI. If that is the case, there is a conflict – irrespective of whether the member would act on that incentive.

The public sector has well established benchmarks for assessing whether a conflict exists, and perceptions about potential conflicts may be as important as an actual conflict. It is good practice for disclosure of members’ interests to be a preliminary agenda item at all meetings and for a full disclosure of interests to be provided on an annual basis and published via the TEI’s website.