The Personal Relationships Policy provides guidance to all University staff regarding personal relationships within the University in order to avoid any perceived, potential or actual conflicts of interest or misuse of authority.
It is recognised that there will be particular circumstances where the member of staff will need to withdraw from certain decisions or from undertaking certain roles, in order to protect themselves and the University from any possible criticism of unfair bias.
As a guide, the following examples indicate circumstances in which a personal relationship should be disclosed as they may give rise to a conflict of interest:
- A member of staff who enters into a personal relationship with a student and has influence over the student's academic, financial, progression or other opportunities - potential or actual
- Any personal relationship between a manager and their direct report or supervisee should be declared to a senior manager
- Any personal relationship between a manager and their direct report or supervisee should be declared to a senior manager. In these circumstances it is recommended that an alternative line manager is identified and approved by the Head of Department. Where the personal relationship involves a HoD and their direct report, it should be considered by a more senior manager - usually the Dean or Director or Registrar and Secretary (for professional and support directorates). Line managers and senior managers should take advice from their HR Partner to ensure a reasonable outcome for all parties.
- Any colleague who embarks on a personal relationship with a colleague working in the same department/section should declare the relationship to their line manager
- Any member of staff who has a personal relationship with another member of staff outside their immediate work team should declare the relationship to their line manager if there could potentially be a conflict of interest for example in relation to recruitment panels, grading or promotion decisions
- A member of staff who has a personal relationship with a client (including a student) customer, contractor or supplier should declare the relationship to their line manager if the member of staff's job allows them authority over the client etc. for example, if they have the authority to decide who to award contracts to
These examples are for illustrative purposes only and are not an exhaustive list.
If the member of staff feels uncomfortable in discussing this matter with their line manager, they may inform their Head of Department.
The line manager/Head of Department will discuss this with the HR Partner/Advisor and will, in consultation with the member of staff, find a way in which a potential conflict of interest can be avoided
The information declared will be recorded and treated in confidence, as far as this is practicable