Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Putting out the fires of Conflicts of Interests myopia

Conflicts of Interest have become almost a weekly news story. It is an easy allegation to make and it appears that those most vulnerable to the allegation, both organisations and individuals, seem naive to its risks. The latest story is no different than so many, someone with a responsibility for buying had an interest in selling something similar - now why wasn't a perceived conflict of interests expected?

So while Peter Smith yesterday referred to big threats against 'useless public procurement people in Northern Ireland' there was a parallel story unfolding in the NI Fire Service where someone with responsibility for buying uniforms also had a business, surprise, surprise, selling uniforms.

It is not difficult to protect against claims of conflicts of interest and CPOs need to ensure that the appropriate protections and processes are in place. Perhaps the issue is naivety? If that's the case CPOs need to take on the role of a vigilante and also include conflicts of interest awareness raising within their communications strategy.  

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