When a charity trustee is aware of a conflict of interest and they feel unable to put the interests of the charity first, they must withdraw from the discussion or decision concerned.
It may also be appropriate for charity trustees to withdraw from discussions in other circumstances of conflict of interest. Where they do not, they should be able to demonstrate that they have acted in the interests of the charity.
The charity trustees should make sure there is a record of who took part in the discussions and decisions. Where there is a conflict and the conflicted charity trustee still takes part, how this is in the best interests of the charity needs to be explained.
A board made up mainly of service users is asked to vote on an increase to the fees that service users pay to the charity. It is not practical for all the service user trustees to withdraw as there wouldn’t be enough trustees to form a quorum and make a valid decision.
The trustees need to put their own interests to one side and choose what is best for the charity. A clear record should be taken of the decision and why it was made.
However, if there is only one service user on the board then it might be felt that they should withdraw, which would be easier for the person concerned and does not affect the quorum.