I'll try to keep this brief and hope it makes sense! Have namechanged just in case it is recognisable.
I work for a local authority and I am on a temporary contract so have been looking for other jobs. Meanwhile, the LA has appointed a firm of consultants to work on a project which is a major focus of the work in my temp role.
I applied for a job that was advertised at the consultancy firm and have an interview at the end of the month. But before that, the LA is holding a project meeting. One of the consultants who will very likely be interviewing me will be there. If I got the job, I would be working on the project from the other side, as it were.
So is it a conflict of interest for me to attend the meeting? Should I pull out? I'm going to seek advice from a senior colleague tomorrow but it would be good to get opinions. I just assumed it would be OK for me to carry on as normal, but just all of a sudden thought, hang on, maybe this is not all right...!
I think the conflict probably arises from the fact you would be privy to info which you wouldn't or shouldn't know if you were on the 'other side' - so I'd be less worried about the meeting itself (since the info shared at it will be common to both parties) and more about any contract stuff you get to hear about outside the meeting.
However, there is no actual conflict of interest because you only have an interview (although you might potentially have to be a bit careful about what you say in the interview about your current role - for example the exact size of the project if the budget isn't finalised yet!). Definitely better to disclose and let someone more senior decide whether to exclude you from the meeting.
In the true sense I think a conflict would only need to be declared if, say, you were a shareholder in the consultancy firm and were in a position to award work to them in your role at the LA.
Thanks, I am definitely going to speak to someone more senior and let them have the final say.
tribpot - sorry, yes, not technically a conflict of interest but I couldn't think of another way to word it! It's a good point about the information sharing. The project plan, budgets etc are being shared quite freely between my team and the consultants, so I don't think there will be an issue but I will be careful.
No I know what you mean, I can't think of the right word either right now! Anyway, always better to declare and be told it's not a problem than assume it isn't and find out you were wrong when it's too late!
Seems you got it sorted. I have been in a comparable situation in the past. I just went to my senior managers and laid cards in the table. They took advice from hr and director. I think if anything, in the long run it made me look good. It sort of says honesty, integrity and saught after. As plus says, consummate portfolio career person.
I'd say rather than conflict of interest it gives you an advantage in the interview. But that's not necessarily a problem if, as others say, you don't divulge privileged information to the consultants.