Communication Working Group/Conflict of Interest policy

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CWG Conflict of Interest policy

A Conflict of Interest is a set of circumstances that creates a risk that an individual’s ability to apply judgement or act in one role is, or could be, impaired or influenced by a secondary interest.

The secondary interest could be for example employment, directorship, membership or ownership in a non-profit organization, a company, a government position, or maintainer role in an open source project, or similar. It applies to current relationships, not past relationships which have ended. The secondary interest could be held by an immediate family member, other close relative, close personal friend, business partner, or similar of the CWG Member.

CWG Members with a Conflict of Interest on a topic, or agenda item, are expected to declare it and recuse themselves from voting on the matter, unless authorized by the other CWG Members. CWG Members may participate in discussions on the matter.

Certain exceptional circumstances may require recusal from any visibility of a discussion. These would be confidential discussions taking place in private session that could unfairly benefit a CWG Member’s interests.

CWG members with a Conflict of Interest on at least one of the topics of an article (or other content) created and/or broadcasted by CWG may only participate in the drafting or selection/broadcasting process if all the CWG members without a Conflict of Interest who express their opinions on the matter agree. The time frame for the decision should be reasonable, should be set by a member without a Conflict of Interest, and at least one CWG member without a CoI should have expressed their opinion and agreed when the time frame has ended.

There must be CWG members without a Conflict of Interest involved in the creation of the article (or selection/broadcasting of other content).

Process for managing a Conflict of Interest

CWG Members should keep their affiliations listed on the CWG page and up to date, including any relevant positions or relationships. When a Conflict of Interest arises, whether in CWG meeting agenda item, email thread, or electronic circular:

  • The CWG Member must declare the Conflict of Interest by clearly stating or writing that it exists.
  • They can explain the reasoning if possible, but it is not required. There may be privacy or proprietary information reasons restricting extent of disclosure.

If other CWG Members are concerned that a CWG Member may have a Conflict of Interest, they may raise the issue.

  • The other CWG Members, who are not in conflict on the topic, may vote to recuse the CWG Member.
  • The motion to recuse the CWG Member passes if a majority vote “yes”, and there is not more than 1 “no” vote.

CWG Members with a Conflict of Interest on a topic must not take part in votes on that topic. They may participate in discussions.

  • The other CWG Members, who are not in conflict on the topic, may vote to authorize the CWG Member to vote.
  • The motion to authorize the CWG Member passes if a majority vote “yes”, and there is not more than 1 “no” vote.

In exceptional circumstances, where privacy or proprietary information is at stake, the discussion of any Conflicts of Interest, and any votes on authorization or recusal, may be held in private if a simple majority of the CWG Members approves. The existence of Conflicts of Interest, and any explanation given, must be documented in the relevant agenda item in the CWG minutes.

Approved on 2020-11.16. Based on the board conflict of interest policy.