Conflict of Interest Policy

Title

Conflict of Interest Policy

Process Ownership

Responsible Officer

Created

01.01.2021

Category

Identity, Constitution and Governance

Approval Body

Chairman IIMT Studies

Review Date

31.12.2021

IIMT Studies Ltd
Company Number: U80900GJ2017PTC097640 (Burly Institute of Global Education & Research Private Limited - IIMT STUDIES.)
Registered Office Address: 9-10 Floors, Annexie Wing, Pariseema Complex, C G Road, Ahmedabad- 38009 ( India)



(B) Policy Statement :
 
To protect the interest of all stakeholders, the organization must ensure that every position, be it permanent, temporary, assignment-based, freelance or honorary has a clearly defined role and responsibilities. As an organization, Awarding Body has to ensure that the roles and responsibilities defined for every professional engaged by it are clear, precise. Measurable and not overlapping or not ambiguous. This policy aims to have clarity amongst all professionals and bodies/forums engaged and created by AO has clear, non-ambiguous and non-conflicting roles and responsibilities.
 
(C) Objectives of Policy:
 
The sole aim of this policy is to provide and define clear, non-ambiguous and non-conflicting roles and responsibilities to every professional engaged and everybody/forum/council created by IIMT Studies and it’s authorised Centre so as / that:-
 
1. To ensure that the learner / the stakeholder has clarity about the overall mechanism created by the centre for the delivery of services and support, against the investment made by him or her.
2. No professional or forum or a body or a council is assigned any set of responsibilities and/or tasks contradicting with the other set of tasks and responsibilities assigned to the same professional or body or forum or council by the organization and/or contradicts or create a conflict with a set of tasks or assignments or responsibilities assigned to other professional or body or forum or council by centre or it’s authorised agency/ies.
3. To block any instance of wasted interest or malfunctioning or malpractice by any professional/ body/ council/ forum engaged or created by Awarding Organization or it’s authorised centre/s.
4. An inbuilt checks and control mechanism is created to prevent/ check/ investigate and mitigate any instance of conflict of interest in any function or role.
5. All stakeholders have knowledge about the COI Policy.
6. All Staff members and associates of IIMT Studies sign the declaration of COI.
 
(D) Definitions :
 
1. Organizational Structure :
Refer to the organisation chart.
 
2. Job – Position Description: The term for this policy means a document carrying the following details of the position:
i. Title of the position
ii. Grade and cadre in the organization structure.
iii. Reporting relationship of this position.
iv. Minimum academic qualification for this position.
v. Set of skills, competence and expertise required.
vi. A minimum level of experience required for this position.
vii. The age range for this position.
viii. Tasks and responsibilities to be performed by the professional engaged for this position.
ix. Business revenue targets/goals / KRAs of this position.
x. Any other such specific relevant requirement or criteria required to perform in this position.
 
3. Conflict Of Interest(COI): For this policy, a conflict of interest is a situation or a state or condition when either an organisation or a professional in an organization has competing interests or conflicting interests, which might negatively impact or impair its or their ability to make objective, unbiased and neutral decisions in line with standard policies and processes. Conflicts of interest can arise in more than one contexts. This policy cover conflicts of interest that impact or negatively affect (or could affect) canter’s ability to develop, deliver and award regulated qualifications in a way that complies with its Conditions of Accreditation.
 
The below a few possibilities explains how the conflict of interest arises:
 
A COI is a situation in which an individual, or organisation, has competing interests or loyalties. In the case of an individual, if the conflict of interest is not properly managed, it could compromise or appear to compromise their decisions.
Conflicts of interest can arise in a variety of circumstances, for example:
When an individual has a position of authority in one organisation that conflicts with his or her interests in another organisation.
When an individual has interests that conflict with his or her professional position.
Where someone works for or carries out work on the schools' behalf but may have personal interests – paid or unpaid – in another business.
Where someone works for or carries out work on the Schools behalf, who has friends or relatives taking assessments or examinations.
Contractual arrangements in place- where any individual has been contracted to work with IIMT Studies and the individual has the other potential interest in other organisations which may influence his/her decisions taken for IIMT Studies.
Involvement of any senior member of Centre, in assessment or internal verification.
If the awarding body decides to provide training, it may have a personal interest in attainment of learners.
•​ A centre or AB which is also a corporate training provider may create a COI by not differentiating regulated qualifications and trainings offered.
 
4. Process Owner: The Process Owner is the senior professional in the executive cadre, having expertise, experience and competence of respective field and is working on the role of IIMTS as a full-time employee or on contractual basis and has been assigned total responsibilities and accountabilities of process / statutory / service delivery compliance with or without a team of professionals under him/ her. The process owner is expected to comply processes and policies assigned to him as an owner, ensure compliance of all laws and statutes he/she has been assigned responsibilities of and ensure service deliveries to the stakeholders covered under his / her role and responsibilities.
 
(E) Policy Framework :
 
1. This policy will have the following major compliance segments:
 
a. Role and responsibilities for each position, as mentioned in the prescribed organizational chart of the centre.
b. Internal Checks & Control mechanism.
c. Role and responsibilities under the policy.
d. Investigation and reporting process.
e. Authorities and Approvals.
f. Identification of conflict of interest within the business operations, governing council and with stakeholders
 
(a) Role and responsibilities for each position, as mentioned in the prescribed organizational chart (wherever applicable) of IIMTS:
i. For this policy, the standard approved organizational chart will be the base document to refer to all roles.
ii. For this policy, the Master Competency Matrix Document will be considered for role and responsibilities check.
iii. The prescribed Job Description will be audited to validate and audit the possible conflict of interest in tasks and assignments ( KRAs) of each position.
iv. The roles and position titles will be as per the following role matrix/job clusters:
 

FUNCTION

CLUSTER- I ROLES & JOB TITLES

CLUSTER- II

ROLES & JOB

TITLES

CLUSTER- III

ROLES & JOB

TITLES

CLUSTER- IV

ROLES & JOB

TITLES

CLUSTER- V

ROLES & JOB

TITLES

OPERATIONS &

ADMINISTRATION

Executive

Administration

 

Manager

Operations

 

 

SERVICE DELIVERIES

Executive- CSR

 

Manager- CSR

 

 

 

Teacher-

 

Faculty Team Member

Head- Learning Delivery / Moderator

COMPLIANCE & MONITORING

Executive – HR

Internal Examiner

Course Developer

Financial

Controller (Consultant)

 

 

Executive – Accounts & Finance.

 

 

 

External Auditor

 

Officer- Accounts &

Finance

 

 

 

MANAGEMENT & CONTROL

 

External Examiner

Quality Controller

Responsible Officer

Chairman

 

 

External Examiner.

 

 

 
v. Each box in the above matrix are unique roles and must be assigned unique and non-overlapping KRAs and/or tasks and assignments.
vi. No function or assignment of roles or job titles mentioned in one box should be in conflict with the unique roles mentioned in any other box.
 
(b) Internal checks and control mechanism :
i. This policy defines the following categories of roles and positions/jobs in the organization or at its centres.
1. Operations and Administration.
2. Service Deliveries.
3. Compliance & Monitoring.
4. Management & Control.
5. Policy & Strategic Governance.
ii. The jobs/roles/ positions in 3 & 4 are responsible for internal checks and controls thru effective execution of all policies which they are responsible for.
iii. The jobs as mentioned category are responsible for ensuring appropriate policies and norms as well as to ensure appropriate competent professionals to ensure checks and controls for total compliance of all policies.
iv. While the roles in the categories of 1 and 2 in E (b) above are responsible for execution and documentation of all process compliance of their respective policies and processes, the roles in the categories 3,4 and 5 are responsible for the review, monitoring compliance and also for whistleblowing, reporting any possibility or instance of violation or non-compliance.
v. The horizontal boxes( boxes in clusters) of one particular function shows the hierarchy level of that function and shows accountability towards the next level or next horizontal box in the same function. This is to ensure internal control for each function for compliance.
 
(c) Role and responsibilities under the policy.
i. This policy defines the following categories of roles and positions/jobs in the organization and/or at its centres.
1. Operations and Administration: Executive- Administration, Executive- Operations, Executive- Accounts and Finance, Internal Examiners, Executive – Sales & Admin.
2. Service Deliveries: Executive Human Resources, Executive- CSR, Executive- IT. Teachers or Members- Learning Deliveries.
3. Compliance & Monitoring: Manager- Operations, Manager- CSR, Manager- Sales & Administration. Head- Learning Delivery, Quality Controller, External Examiner. 
4. Management & Control- Responsible Officer ( Responsible Officer) , Director- Business Development, Director- Operations, Finance Controller ( Consulting)
5. Policy & Strategic Governance- Directors, Responsible Officer, Chairman, Governing Council.
ii. The above roles will have the prescribed responsibilities and accountabilities, as mentioned in their specific documents.
iii. The roles cannot have any responsibilities which overlap with other role and also cannot exchange or carry out any responsibilities of any roll, which lead to a conflict of interests.
iv. No role of anyone box in the above roll matrix can take up or carry out any responsibility or assignment of the role cluster in any other box of the same or other function as this will lead to a conflict of interest.
(d) Investigation and reporting process :
i. The roles in monitoring and compliance clusters are responsible as a whistleblower – to raise alarms as and when they see any possibility of a conflict of interest
ii. The responsible officer or professional as mentioned in (d) I above will submit a formal report in the form of mail communication, in case they see a possibility or they have observed any instance of conflict of interest, to the professional in Management and Control cluster, for that particular function or to the process owner of that policy.
iii. The mail communication must contain the following minimum information about the instance :
a. Roles or positions details where there is a possibility of a conflict of interest or where the instance has been observed.
b. The justification of explanation about the instance for reporting.
c. Details of possible impact or impact already observed due to conflict of interest to the process owner or respective senior member of Compliance and Monitoring cluster.
d. The role of the process owner is to study the report, validate the details as mentioned in the report and recommend appropriate actions and forward to the Management & Control member for further action.
e. The Monitoring and Control Member will study the report and recommendations and appoint an independent, neutral professional or team of professionals who are not below the rank of manager for further investigation and recommendation of solution.
f. The above steps ( d ) and ( e) have to appoint an investigation officer or team of officers, as mentioned in the clause ( e ) above.
g. The investigation team has to investigate and submit the report along with detailed corrective actions to be recommended to the Management & Control team.
h. The Management & Control team will take the final decision based on the recommendations by the Investigation Officer and close the instance.
i. The Management & Control team, if required will review the process, so as to seal the loophole in the process or policy to avoid any such instance in future and recommend the change in process or amendment in policy to Policy and Strategic Governance Team.
 
(e) Authorities and approvals.
 
i. The first group of roles in Service Deliveries and Operations and Administration are responsible for effective implementation of policy for their functional area and are also are designated whistleblowers in case they see any possibility or instance of non-compliance.
ii. The roles in the Compliance and Monitoring group are responsible for having internal checks and control mechanism active and operational for continuous monitoring of policy implementation and compliance. They are whistleblowers and has the same role to play for reporting and validating instance or possibilities of non-compliance of this policy.
iii. The professionals appointed for the roles in Management and Control are custodian and process owners and have final accountability to ensure zero tolerance for this policy.
iv. The professionals in the role of Management & Control are reviewing authorities and controlling authorities under this policy. To review complaints received – to review the effective implementation and also to control and block the possibility of violation and reporting.
v. The roles in Policy & Strategic Governance are the final authorities for all corrective actions under this policy under the approval of Governing Body or Chairman, within the stipulated time frame as mentioned in the clause ( d) – f-g and h.
 
(F) Other important provisions of Conflict Of Interest Policy:
 
i. The process controls have to be in place to eradicate any possibility of a conflict of interest under this policy.
ii. The major steps and process control to be implemented and ensured by the process owner under this policy are as follows :
1. The role of Assessor, Examiner, Teacher / Faculty have to be crystal clear and very well defined to endure that there are no ambiguities/overlapping of any responsibility amongst these three roles under this policy.
2. The Learning Delivery team member ( teacher/faculty/ tutor ) is only responsible for preparing and executing learning delivery plan, preparing reading notes, quiz for learning modules, delivering lectures against prescribed learning module for his or her course or subject and designing topics for case studies and on the job learning projects
3. The Learning Delivery team member will not indulge into or contribute or participate in any activity, directly or indirectly related to assessment, examination, evaluation, course development or preparing question papers or question bank for any subject, related to his or her expertise or to subject or module for which learning delivery is his /her responsibility.
iii. Any act or instance of conflict of interest by any of the team of learning delivery may lead to appropriate disciplinary actions against him or her, and the outcome or result due to such act of conflict of interest will be considered invalid or null & void.
iv. The moderator or the lead faculty under the Process Owner of this policy will be responsible for ensuring zero tolerance for this clause of this policy.
 
(G) Declaration COI:
It is must to declare the COI when it is identified by the centre, individual, governance, management representative or any senior member, by filling the COI declaration form. Once the COI is declared, IIMT Studies confirms how the next activity related to the identified area be performed. The COI may be identified in individual, organisation, administration, operations or any other activity involved in the delivery of the assessment. The non- declaration of potential COI or denial of performing the actions recommended by IIMT Studies upon identification of COI may attract sanctions and may be considered as malpractice or maladministration. COI will be declared to HR Manager and/or Responsible Officer, who are responsible for ongoing monitoring and review of COI.
 
To ensure the compliance of this policy:
1. IIMT Studies and its associates ensure to have no personal interest in activities involved in decisions on the standards of Centre and their individual work or any learners’ work, attainment, assessment or internal/external verification.
2. Keep close monitoring on every decision which give a potential rise COI.
3. Maintains the integrity at all functions.
4. Follow all policies and qualification criteria as described.
5. Report any COI/potential COI when it is identified.
6. When identified COI is unmanageable, withdraw from that activity, follow the policies, arrange the alternate resources which do not give rise to unmanageable COI and record the instance as per the data protection and record policy.
7. IIMT Studies also ensure to keep the regulatory body updated in the case such instances are identified and taken actions on them.
8. Centre ensure to keep a record of all COI/potential COI and update to IIMT Studies upon the identification.
9. Awarding body doesn’t involve in providing trainings to ensure the compliance of conditions of recognition.
10. Additionally, the centre also ensures to maintain integrity by bifurcating regulated and nonregulated programmes on various platforms of advertisement, including the website; and also ensures the same practice is followed by its authorised Centre.
11. The Centre also ensure to keep the titles; course curriculum and the overview of regulated and nonregulated programmes separate which can easily be identified by a potential learner.
12. The Centre ensures that no third party is involved in delivery of regulated qualifications on behalf of the authorised Centre without a written approval and robust quality parameter checks by IIMT Studies.
 
(H) Governing Council:
The body is accountable to identify the conflict of interest/potential conflict of interest may arise in the below cases and ensure the COI is/are managed appropriately and the risk is mitigated.
 
1. Identification of Conflict of Interest:
A) Change in role within or outside the organisation
B) Taking a decision related to a learner/group of learners
C) Taking a decision for any centre(s) 
D) Taking a decision for any employee/department/department heads/functional heads/process owner
E) Appointment of a member of a council – where an individual has a position in the other organisation and may seek to influence decisions of IIMT Studies for financial and/or personal interest
F) An individual is involved in design and development of qualifications/courses but his/her friends or relatives are taking IIMT Studies qualifications
G) Taking a decision on any allegation claimed against any board member/director/responsible officer/chair of the council or chairman where the alleged member is a relative of the other board member
H) Following the policy and process designed and developed to take decisions on any allegations claimed against senior team of the organisation
I) Any other potential conflict of interest that may arise by any activity conducted by an individual/centre.
 
2. Dealing with COI:
 
If any COI/potential COI if found, the council will follow the COI policy to ensure the unbiased decision to ensure the regulatory requirements are followed and the below will be assured:
 
A) The conflict of interest/potential conflict of interest will be recorded/documented.
B) The member who is identified as a part of conflict of interest will not be involved in investigation and/or decision making process for that particular subject or case.
C) The other members will take the unbiased decision for that subject.
D) All members will follow the COI policy.
E) All members of the council and other stakeholders must maintain the integrity of the awarding organisation, the qualifications as well as their own integrity.

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