The NZ Computer Society is drawing up bylaws to assist its members avoid conflicts of interest, particularly when serving on working groups, special interest groups and subcommittees of the society.
Alleged conflict of interest in the award of the multi-million dollar contract for lab-testing services in Auckland is fresh in the public mind and the ICT industry is afflicted with similar allegations from time to time, such as those concerning Twywell Technologies in 2005.
In that case, alleged common ownership of Twywell and another company, Knight Technology, both of which had done ICT work for the Labour Department, was raised in Parliament in 2004 and 2005. It was later found not to be an issue.
But Margaret Murray, in charge of the exercise for the Computer Society, says no recent event in particular highlighted the need for such a revision. Rather, it is part of an ongoing revision of the NZCS constitution and bylaws, she says. During that exercise, it became evident that the Society had no specific provisions covering the question. There are allusions to it in the Society’s code of ethics, but it is felt that something more specific is needed.
When a member of an organisation serves on a specialist subcommittee or interest group relevant to their business, it is usual for potentially conflicting interests to be declared, Murray says.
The Society is asking for members with specific expertise on this matter to help formulate appropriate rules.