The 6Ps and 6Rs tools

Tools to help authorities and public officers identify and manage conflicts of interest

The 6Ps tool for identifying conflicts of interest

While there is no one right way to identify every situation, the 6Ps tool is a good starting point to consider if a conflict of interest exists. 

6 PsQuestions to ask
Public duty versus personal interest
  • Do I have a personal interest that may conflict or be seen to conflict with my public duty – roles and responsibilities – in this situation?
  • What does my public duty require (for example, legislation, code of ethics, authority code of conduct and policies)?

  • Could there be benefits for me or someone important to me now or in the future that could cast doubt on my impartiality?
  • How will my involvement in the decision/action be viewed by others if they knew about my public duties and my interests?
  • Would a neutral/reasonable person think these personal interests could conflict with my public duties?
  • How damaging could perceptions be to me or my authority?
  • Does my involvement in the decision appear fair and reasonable in all the circumstances?
Presence of mind
  • If I ignore a conflict of interest, what are the consequences for me, others, my colleagues, the public and my authority?
  • Would my involvement withstand public scrutiny?
  • Who should I be discussing this with?
  • Have I made any promises or commitments in relation to the matter? 


The 6Rs tool for managing conflicts of interest

The table below has management strategies to consider. These are a guide only and do not replace any legislative requirements for how conflicts of interest are to be disclosed and managed. Often a combination of strategies is needed. 

6 RsDescription
  • Record the disclosure of a conflict of interest in a register or some other manner.
  • Exercise caution in determining whether this is a suitable management strategy or just the first step and other management strategies are required.
  • Where significant risks are posed by a conflict of interest, recording/registering is the minimum requirement and is accompanied by another management strategy.
  • Restrict an officer’s involvement in the matter to separate them from parts of the activity/issue that give rise to the conflict. 
  • This may mean refraining from being part of the debate, abstaining from voting on decisions, and/or limiting access to information relating to the conflict of interest.
  • This strategy is useful for situations that occur infrequently and where it is possible to separate parts of the activity involved.
  • Recruit an independent third party to oversee part or all of the process or review the decision making process.
  • This strategy is useful when it is not possible to restrict an officer’s involvement as they are the only one available or only one with the required skills or knowledge, or the conflict is perceived rather than actual but the impact could be significant.
  • The third party can fill in for the person or assist with the process and attest that it was above board and impartial. Getting the right third party is important as their credibility is what provides assurance to the public.
  • This strategy is not realistic where the conflict is ongoing.
  • Remove involvement in the matter altogether. This could be the best option when ad hoc or recruitment strategies are not feasible or appropriate.
  • This may be difficult to apply where a conflict is ongoing and impacts substantial parts of the role, as it can result in an officer not being able to carry out their role.
  • Relinquish personal interests that are creating the conflict. 
  • This strategy ensures there is no conflict with an officer’s public duty. Examples include relinquishing shares or membership of a club/association. 
  • No one can or should be forced to give up a personal interest. It is up to the officer to decide whether their work commitments outweigh the attachment to the personal interest and to work with the authority to apply the appropriate management strategy.
  • Resigning may be the only strategy if the conflict of interest cannot be managed in any other way, particularly where conflicting personal interests cannot be relinquished and the conflict is ongoing. 

Adapted from Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector: Guidelines and Toolkit,

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