Conflict of Interest

Clients rely on Discern’s integrity, ability to deliver the best possible work, and protection of their proprietary information. Avoiding conflicts of interest will help Discern manage risk and build strong client relationships.

Policy:

  • As an organization, Discern will manage potential conflicts of interests by:
    • Disclosing its client list so that each individual client can make an informed decision if they believe a conflict exists.
    • Having the Partners review and decide on the best course of action when a potential conflict is identified by a client, staff member, or other stakeholder.
    • Implementing safeguards to ensure that, in the event of a potential conflict, information is not shared inappropriately, either among staff or with external parties.

Individual staff members will avoid external relationships or activities that may create a conflict with Discern or its clients (for example, serving on the Board of an organization that competes with a client; engaging in business ventures competitive with Discern).

Protocol:

  • Always ask prospective clients for permission to disclose relationship and a summary of the project.
    • If denied, then make case-specific decision about whether to enter relationship
  • Maintain up-to-date list of clients on the website.
  • Point prospective clients to existing client list.
  • Post conflict-of-interest statement and policy on website.
  • In specific cases where a conflict between clients (or proposal development) may arise, Discern should implement specific safeguards to ensure the information is not shared inappropriately, either among staff or with external parties. These safeguards can include:
    • Assignment to separate staff
    • Notifying staff of potential conflict
    • Password-protected file folders
    • Agreement to avoid discussion
  • Staff members should alert management if they identify a potential conflict of interest for the firm or themselves.

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