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Circulars 28 Oct 2021

Circular 41/21 Suspension of the Conflict of Interest Policy

Members were informed of the Board’s decision of 27 September to suspend the Conflict-of-Interest Policy (1/2021) via the Board Communiqué. This Circular formalises this decision.

Policy 1/2021, Managing Conflicts of Interest and Good Governance is suspended and will be reviewed after an assessment and validation of the planned training and education is implemented.

In making the decision the Board considered many factors.  First and foremost is the fact that it is an individual’s responsibility to manage his or her own conflict of interest.  The sub-Branch is and remains a separate legal entity to a club, so sub-Branch executives holding director positions on associated clubs have conflict of interest obligations to manage.  The challenge for sub-Branches to have adequate executive succession plans and manage the wellbeing of many members was noted.

The Board remains focussed on delivering governance training and education for sub-Branch executives based upon the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission’s (ACNC’s) guide.

The accredited governance training program for sub-Branch Executives is likely to be self-paced online, or a combination of both on-line and face-to-face, and there will be a requirement to maintain a register of the training. The training programs will complement the TAFE NSW training (announced in Circular 39/21) that will be provided to sub-Branch volunteers on how to use RSL NSW technology platforms and administration software. The cost of the governance training will be borne by the Veteran Support Fund (Information about the pooled funding model due to be released to members in November). The governance training is likely to be released and available from the end of the first quarter in 2022, or no later than June 2022.

The Strategic Plan recognises the important relationship with RSL and services clubs, and their critical co-contribution to fund state-wide programs to support veterans. The Plan recognises the standing of the sub-Branches’ historic and ongoing relationship with clubs, and implicit is the need for all sub-Branches to actively apply for grant funding from clubs for veteran support programs delivered by our partner charity and service delivery arm, RSL LifeCare.

It is critical that, in this context, sub-Branches recognise the important work that RSL LifeCare does to support all veterans and their families and rally the support of local clubs to this affect. This separation of this service delivery to RSL LifeCare assists sub-Branch Executives who concurrently hold director positions on club boards, because the funds they will advocate for from the club will not go to their sub-Branch. The community grants and other sponsorship funds they advocate for goes directly to RSL LifeCare for RSL DefenceCare and the other programs they deliver such as Homes for Heroes (homeless veterans), the RSL Veterans’ Employment Program, housing and accommodation assistance, and the SPUR Equine Program.

By supporting RSL related programs, veterans, and particularly younger veterans, can see what the RSL stands for and does and are therefore more likely to join the movement as members. We want clubs trading with RSL branding or association with the armed Services to support the RSL related charities that support our members, and the wider veteran community.

If you have any questions about the Policy or anything outlined in this Circular, please contact RSL NSW CEO Jon Black via support@rslnsw.org.au