Page:Conflict of Interest Policy
 
 

 

Conflict of Interest Policy

Introduction

The Advice Centre is committed to providing a confidential advice and support service to GCU students who are experiencing a wide range of difficulties.  Our Student Advisers work in the Advice Centre dealing with individual student enquiries and on occasions a conflict of interest may arise when an adviser feels that they are unable to give impartial advice to a student, or that they may be perceived to be unable to give impartial advice.

This perceived conflict of interest could arise when the Student Advisers are consulted by both parties in a dispute and both sides of the dispute are looking for assistance. The Student Advisers will take every care to share information with each other in order that any potential conflict can be identified as early as possible.

However, a conflict of interest could arise if both parties request representation and advocacy from the same Student Adviser. To manage this situation the student (or group of students) who makes the initial contact with the Advice Centre will be offered representation with that Adviser. When the second student (or group) approaches the Advice Centre with the same issue/dispute they will be automatically referred to another Adviser in order to avoid any conflict and to maintain confidentiality. 

For any cases of more than two different sides in a dispute, that cannot be managed within the Advice Centre, will be offered assistance to obtain an alternative source of representation e.g. a member of staff in another support service or an external advice agency.

(For the avoidance of doubt a group of students making a complaint against one other student will be handled as one case against the other student).

Procedure

1.  When there are two different sides involved in a dispute.

  1. In these situations the student (or group) who has approached the Student Adviser first will be represented by them. The only exception to this rule would be if the second student was already a pre-existing case file of that Student Adviser.
  1. The other student (or group) will be offered assistance and representation from our second Student Adviser.
  1. Normally the Student Advisers can only deal with two sides of a dispute involved at any one time and for cases of more than two sides these students would be offered assistance to obtain an alternative source of representation.
  1. Once the two sides of the dispute have been assigned to specific Student Advisers it is important that confidentiality is maintained for all who are involved by their respective Adviser. The sharing of basic information is allowed (e.g. the conflict of interest can be revealed, meeting dates) but no information gained from any of the students involved should be shared before formal investigations/proceedings.

Referral

Where a student(s) involved in a dispute cannot be advised by Advice Centre staff due to a conflict of interest issue:

  1. They may be referred to another agency regarding their conflict of interest issue i.e. University Positive Living Counsellor if appropriate or outside agency.
  1. They will be informed they can be advised and supported by the Advice Centre staff for any other issues with the exception of the current situation of conflict.

Additional conflict of interest:

This may arise when a student, who has been receiving advice from the Advice Centre for a specific issue decides to engage the services of an independent person i.e. Lawyer. Once a student engages the services of a Lawyer the Advice Centre staff should notify the student that there could be a possible conflict of interest as our role/remit is to work within the University Regulations and can only advise accordingly.

Records/Review

The conflict of interest policy and procedures will be reviewed on a regular basis. Any reported cases will be discussed with the Student Advisers and the Representation & Advice Manager will keep a record of cases when they arise.

 
 

 

    


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Glasgow Caledonian University Students' Association is a registered Scottish charity, number SC022887.