Conflict of interest risks - lessons from the Ombudsman

Everyone has private interests – it’s part of living our lives. As public sector workers we’re responsible for avoiding situations where these interests improperly influence our work.

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Course content

The Victorian Ombudsman regularly sees poorly handled conflicts of interest causing big problems (and bad headlines!) for public organisations.

How can we ensure dealing with conflict of interest is part of doing business as usual?

One of our learnings is that knowledge of conflict of interest risks needs to be spread widely across organisations. All employees need to be alert to the dangers.

Everyone has private interests – it’s part of living our lives. As public sector workers we’re responsible for avoiding situations where these interests improperly influence our work.

Decisions tainted by a conflict of interest - big or small - eat away at integrity, expose us to accusations of unfairness (or worse) and risk outcomes which are not in the public interest.

How can we develop the right skills to know what to do to avoid or manage conflicts, and support each other in achieving transparent, impartial decision making?

Learning outcomes

Join other public sector workers from across local and state government, to:

  • understand conflict of interest from a public sector perspective
  • explore why it’s crucial for all levels of government to handle these issues well
  • examine key considerations underpinning good decision making around conflicts of interest
  • recognise private interests which may impact on your work
  • practice a simple approach to identifying conflicts of interest using real life scenarios
  • discuss good practice strategies for recording and managing conflicts of interest
  • consider the importance of an ethical workplace to reinforce good decision making and unpack what this looks like in your context.

What’s included

  • workbook
  • refreshments
  • accessible training location.

The most valuable aspect was ... a better understanding of conflicts, and how [different] scenarios ... can be perceived to be a conflict.

November 2019

The conversations on the table and as a group really complemented the content covered.

November 2019

Good overall refresher on conflict of interest. Backed up by research, examples and delivered with enthusiasm.

December 2019

Contact us

For all enquiries please contact our Education team on 9613 6100 or education@ombudsman.vic.gov.au .

Facilitators

Marita Cullen

Marita Cullen

Program Coordinator and Facilitator, Victorian Ombudsman

Marita’s firsthand experience dealing with complaints supports the high level of training she provides to our public sector education programs.

Before joining the Victorian Ombudsman as an Investigation Officer, Marita provided investigation and regulatory services with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

Jenny Jackson

Jenny Jackson

Senior Program Designer, Victorian Ombudsman

Jenny joined the Victorian Ombudsman in 2017 as the education program designer. As an experienced complaints handler, Jenny previously ran education programs for the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

Jenny’s earlier roles were in occupational health and safety management and education.