Best Practice: Duty of Loyalty and Confidentiality at Meetings

It is accepted within our industry that high levels of membership satisfaction at clubs are generally underpinned by effective collaboration between staff and volunteers. A duty of loyalty requires directors, officers and committee members to act in the interest of the club and not in their own interest or in the interest of another person or organisation.  In exercising this duty of loyalty, these members must act in a manner they believe is in the best interests of the club, without taking their personal interests into account.  They should not use their privileged position to make a personal profit, gain or for any other personal advantage. Another important component of that duty of loyalty is a duty of confidentiality. The duty of confidentiality is essentially a duty not to speak about matters discussed in meetings to others unless authorised by the meeting to do so. Similarly, the presence of staff and other guests at meetings can inhibit discussions as open dialogue is crucial to deliberations. If it is not felt that meeting conversations are private or that the confidentiality of discussions will not be respected, there may be pressure to avoid certain topic areas or to hedge comments in a way that does not serve the club’s best interests. To avoid breaches of the duty of confidentiality, Club’s should adopt a confidentiality policy and have directors and officers sign a commitment that they understand and will follow the policy. This by no means ensures compliance, but it can help to emphasise the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of meetings and ensures all directors and officers are aware of their duty to protect confidential information. A sample Confidentiality Policy can be found in the GCMA Members library here: -
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