Chorlton CLT’s Approach to Decarations/Conflicts of Interest

At the Members Meeting on 26 May 2021 a number of members raised their concerns about outside interests of members that could potentially conflict with those of the CLT.  

The CLT Board takes the matter of Board member’s interests seriously and has the following measures in place to ensure that the highest standards of probity are maintained. 

The above information is covered in the induction of new Board members and co-optees.  

Registering and declaring interests 

The CCLT Secretary maintains an up-to-date Register of Board members’ interests.   

The CCLT policy states that declarations of interest are required immediately following an Annual General Meeting and will be available for inspection at all CCLT meetings. As this has not been practical during the pandemic, and in the interests of transparency, we have now published the Register of Interests.  

In addition to an annual declaration Board members have an obligation to update the Secretary of any new interests as they arise. 

There is a standing Declarations of Interest agenda item at the beginning of each Board meeting which gives Board members the opportunity to declare any potential conflict of interest in relation to any items due for discussion or decision. 

The Register of Interests was first set up in July 2019.  The Register was subsequently updated in November 2020 following the CLT AGM on 22 October 2020.  Members have also informed the Secretary of any new interests during the intervening periods as they have arisen. 

Concerns over a potential breach of the CLT’s Conflict of Interest. 

At the Members’ meeting on 26 May 2021, questions were raised that there had been a possible breach of CCLT’s rules and policy guidelines. 

The question related to one Board member’s declared interest in cohousing and Ryebank Fields. 

In response, the CCLT Board  further reviewed this matter at their meeting on 8 June 2021 with the Board members having an interest in cohousing sitting out the discussion as per good practice in matters such as these.  

The Board has found no evidence that interests have not been appropriately declared and the Board member in question has had their interest in cohousing declared in the Register since its creation in July 2019 and that interest has also been declared at Board meetings whenever cohousing has been discussed. 

The Board is content that all its members have acted openly and in the best interests of the CLT with regard to any possible development at Ryebank Fields.  

As the process regarding Ryebank Fields progresses, the CLT Board will continue to monitor conflicts of interest to ensure they are appropriately managed. It is anticipated this could involve asking a Board member to remove themselves from those discussions.  We will at all times adhere to our Conflict of Interest policy. 

The CLT set out its relationship with cohousing in a paper agreed by the Board at its meeting on 6 April 2021.  Board members with an interest in cohousing did not take part in the discussions to approve the paper. 

The CLT Board will not be jointly engaging with developers, or MMU, alongside the cohousing group. We understand the cohousing group are establishing their own engagement separately.  

We recognise the need to continue to manage any future potential conflicts of interest that may emerge for CLT Board members who have a formal role in a cohousing group interested in Ryebank Fields.  For example, should one or more of the shortlisted developers enter into an understanding/commitment to include the cohousing group as part of the their bid to MMU, that cohousing group would become part of one (or more) of the development teams. This would then create a clear conflict for those CCLT Board members with a role in the cohousing group . It would be the responsibility of the Board members affected to declare that the cohousing group were joining a bid team to the rest of the Board at the earliest opportunity. This could result in the affected Board members not voting and/or sitting out any relevant discussion and decision by the Board. 

Should any member of the CLT or the wider public have any concerns about the conduct of a Board Member, co-optee or member of a committee having a Conflict of Interest they should write to the Chair or Deputy Chair at chair@chorltonclt.org