A conflict of interest is deemed to exist if MAEL or one of its representatives, employees, consultants or licensees has interests in any activity undertaken by him/her or on their behalf which could have the potential of leading the company to act other than in its interests in developing and awarding qualifications in accordance with its own policies and the conditions of its recognition by regulatory authorities. Similarly a conflict of interest exists if any individual involved in the development, delivery or award of qualifications could potentially be led to act contrary to these policies and regulations. Such conflict shall be deemed to exist if a reasonable and informed observer would conclude that is the case, even in the absence of formal proof.
Conflicts of Interest Policy
It is MAEL policy that directors, employees and others acting on MAEL’s behalf must be free from conflicts of interest that could adversely influence their judgement, objectivity or loyalty to the company in conducting MAEL business activities and assessments, or in conducting their role with respect to the requirements of the company’s regulatory bodies.
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The company recognizes that employees may take part in legitimate financial, business, charitable and other activities outside their MAEL jobs, but any potential or actual conflict of interest raised by those activities must be disclosed promptly to their line management, who will bring the matter to the MD’s attention. Staff (including directors) need to bear in mind that even the appearance of a conflict of interest may damage an important company interest and may raise issues with regulatory bodies. In any case, management approval of outside activities, financial interests or relationships that may pose a real or potential conflict of interest must be requested in writing, particularly if working with a business outside the MAEL ambit that is in any way in competition with any MAEL business. It is not necessary for a situation involving a conflict of interest to have been formalised for it to be a matter of concern.
MAEL will identify and monitor all conflicts of interest that come to its notice. The MD will also maintain a watching brief in respect of all the situations outlined below which might give rise to such a conflict. Issues of concern may arise from any of the following situations:
A. With reference to third parties, a conflict of interest will arise from:
1. Accepting or holding any position as an officer or director of an outside business concern where the other employer is a direct or indirect competitor, distributor, supplier or customer of MAEL, or of one of MAEL’s teaching centres; or having a direct or indirect financial interest in or a financial relationship with an MAEL competitor, supplier or customer (except for insignificant stock interests in publicly-held companies).
2. Being in a personal relationship that might conflict or appear to conflict with the job responsibilities or the interests of MAEL (e.g. a romantic, or close familial, relationship with someone who holds a position described in 1. above).
3. Serving on the board of directors of a bona fide charitable, educational or other not-for-profit organization, where its activities are in a similar field to MAEL’s and are a potential competitor (e.g. serving on a charity which aims to make vocational education available to a target population.)
4. Accepting gifts in the course of MAEL duties; this includes receiving personal discounts or other benefits from suppliers, service providers or customers that are not available to all MAEL employees; and receiving personal honoraria for services performed that are closely related to work at MAEL. The line manager/supervisor may approve occasional honoraria, such as for a university presentation or symposium.
5. Using non-public MAEL information for personal gain or advantage, or for the gain or advantage of another, including the purchase or sale of securities in a business MAEL is interested in acquiring, selling or otherwise establishing or terminating business relations with. This includes investing in an outside business opportunity in which MAEL has an interest, except for having an insignificant stock interest in publicly-held companies.
6. Consultancy (on non-assessment matters e.g. school design and establishment, or training, etc.) is offered by a sister company (Montessori Teacher Education Ltd.) A conflict of interest could arise here if MAEL personnel were employed by MTEL and asked to provide consultancy on assessment or qualification issues. It follows that no MAEL employee may be employed by MTEL.
7. A regulation or requirement from Ofqual (or any other regulator) which conflicts with the Montessori ethos. N.B. there are no such conflicts at the time of writing and none are envisaged.
8. Non-declaration of a known or suspected conflict, including making a false annual declaration of no conflict of interest.
9. An apparent conflict arising from MAEL’s status as a small enterprise
B. With reference to internal procedures, a conflict of interest may arise from :
10. Actions of directors conflicting with established policies or procedures, particularly with the Equality Policy.
11. MAEL acting as publisher to a series of texts which are a mandated part of licensed courses leading to the qualification.
12. Interactions between different groups or individuals within MAEL with different priorities.
13. Some roles being held by the same individual, which might compromise quality checks.
14. The use by MAEL of external consultants.
C. With reference to qualifications, a conflict of interest shall be deemed to exist if:
15. MAEL’s interests in any activity undertaken by it, or on its behalf, has the potential to lead it to act contrary to its interests in the development, delivery and award of qualifications in accordance with its policies and conditions of recognition.
16. Any part of the assessment of a learner (including by way of moderation) being undertaken by any person who has a personal interest in the result of the assessment.
17. Ofqual qualification criteria (or those of any other regulator or verification authority) conflict with MAEL policies, procedures or its mission statement.
Detailed procedures are provided to MAEL staff to guide actions in any case.
document reviewed 13/05/2021