Conflict checking is one of the most important things we do in order to safeguard the interests of the Company and its clients.
We have an established system for checking for geographical and commercial conflicts of interest, which is adhered to at all times. We operate ISO 9001 quality assurance and audit internally to ensure compliance with this procedure. We are also externally audited for compliance with our own standards once a year.
The following system is followed for all projects and at all times:
- We conduct a ‘Conflict Check Search’ on our job register for the relevant local authority area and any other surrounding ones which could be relevant for a conflict.
- Having identified jobs where geographically a conflict could arise, or where a conflict might exist, we contact the director or job manager identified on the job register to clarify whether in fact there is any conflict.
- As a check, and also to assist in picking up commercial conflicts or anything that has yet to make the job register list, we then send an email to ‘Conflict Check’ email group which includes all planning staff and Finance, specifying enough about the proposed job to enable others to identify a potential conflict. As a general rule, no more information than is needed to determine whether there is a conflict is provided.
- Directors have discretion to restrict the email circulation list, should the nature of a potential instruction require it. Any restricted email circulation list should always include all other directors, as a minimum.
- In addition to the above conflict checking procedure, where the location of a new job is in another office’s map area, we always contact the relevant Office Leader and follow our Inter-office protocol.
Conflict Checks for Representations
Whilst the procedure set out above is aimed at development proposals, it also provides an effective check for representations to draft Local Development Framework documents and policies.
However, additional measures are sometimes necessary where representations are to be submitted to draft documents and/or planning policies which cover a significantly wider geographical area. It may be appropriate to appoint a co-ordinator (for an individual office or Company-wide) to ensure consistency across all Lichfields representations.
Where we do have an actual or potential professional or commercial conflict, this should be explained to the client providing as much information as necessary to explain Lichfields’ position without breaking other commercial confidences.