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All organisations must establish a code of conduct that sets out professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and unacceptable behaviour. This will assist staff and volunteers to conduct their work professionally and effectively.
A code of conduct lists what is acceptable behaviour and what is unacceptable. It is a straightforward guide of behavioural dos and don’ts.
A code of conduct should:
- include guidance on professional boundaries, ethical behaviour and unacceptable behaviour
- address appropriate behaviour between children and young people.
Making your code of conduct accessible
Your code of conduct should be widely available, published and communicated to all relevant people.
Communication activities may include:
- including your code of conduct in staff induction processes
- uploading your code of conduct to your website
- displaying your code of conduct in common areas, such as a staff room
- discussing your code of conduct at staff supervision and meetings.
Where a code of conduct is developed to guide appropriate behaviour between children and young people (e.g. a sports team), a copy should be provided in child friendly language to each child, young person and their parent or guardian. Children and young people should be encouraged to ask any questions they may have regarding the code.
It is important that your code of conduct relates specifically to your organisation’s activities and to the risks you have identified.
The code of conduct should not be ambiguous. It should be made clear that a failure to comply will not be tolerated in the organisation. The consequences of failing to comply with your organisation’s code of conduct should be clearly explained.
Members of your organisation should be consulted during the development process to encourage a sense of ownership.