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Senate Governance

The Accountability and Governance Framework sets out the terms of reference for the Clinical Senate and explains how it relates to the Strategic Clinical Networks and NHS England.

The Senate Council has a Managing Conflicts of Interest and a Standards of Business Conduct policy which applies to both the Clinical Senate Council and Assembly.  There is also a role description for Senate Council Members.

Managing potential conflicts of interest appropriately is needed to protect the integrity of NHS England and the members of the Clinical Senate Council and Assembly from any perceptions of wrong-doing.

The Wessex Clinical Senate will make arrangements to manage conflicts and potential conflicts of interest to ensure that decisions made by the Council and Assembly will be taken and seen to be taken without any possibility of the influence of external or private interest. 

Verbal declarations are sought at the beginning of every Senate Council meeting and written declarations of conflict of interest have been made by Senate Council members and are available on request.

A conflict of interest will include:

  1. A direct pecuniary interest: where an individual may financially benefit from the consequences of a commissioning decision (for example, as a provider of services);
  2. An indirect pecuniary interest: for example, where an individual is a partner, member or shareholder in an organisation that will benefit financially from the consequences of a commissioning decision;
  3. A direct non-pecuniary interest: where an individual holds a non-remunerative or not-for profit interest in an organisation, that will benefit from the consequences of a commissioning decision (for example, where an individual is a trustee of a voluntary provider that is bidding for a contract);
  4. An indirect non-pecuniary interest: where an individual is closely related to, or in a relationship, including friendship, with an individual in categories 1-4. 
  5. A direct non-pecuniary benefit: where an individual may enjoy a qualitative benefit from the consequence of a commissioning decision which cannot be given a monetary value (for example, a reconfiguration of hospital services which might result in the closure of a busy clinic next door to an individual’s house);
  6. An indirect non-pecuniary benefit: where an individual may enjoy a qualitative benefit from the consequence of a commissioning decision which cannot be given a monetary value but is a benefit to peers or colleagues (for example, a recommendation which results in an increase in revenue or status to their employing organisation or results in their organisation becoming the preferred provider).
  7. An indirect non-pecuniary conflict: where the evidence of the Senate may bring a member into direct or indirect conflict with their contracting or employing organisation, to the extent that it may impair the member’s ability to contribute in a free, fair and impartial manner to the deliberations of the Senate Council, in accordance with the needs of patients and populations.

If in doubt, the individual concerned should assume that a potential conflict of interest exists and declare it.