Catch22 reserves the right to amend this policy, following consultation, where appropriate.
Date of last review: April 2023
Date of next review: July 2024
This policy, along with any codes of practice of professional bodies you belong to:
- describes what conduct we require of you while working with Catch22 Multi Academies Trust;
- covers all Catch22 employees, other workers (including volunteers and trustees), and those who represent the organisation in an official capacity;
- looks at confidentiality; relationships with service users, other staff and contractors; gifts and hospitality; serious professional misconduct; dress code; secondary employment; health and safety; email and acceptable use of IT; and alcohol.
What is the policy about?
This policy aims to ensure that you know what conduct we require of you while working with Catch22 Multi Academies Trust, so protecting you and helping you feel more confident about what you can and cannot do. It is in addition to the codes of practice of any professional bodies you belong to, with which you must also comply.
Our policy is not exhaustive, so circumstances may arise where you need to consider what conduct we would expect. The primary consideration must be that, because we work with vulnerable client groups, our agents and representatives must always act in a way that promotes trust and confidence and shows respect and consideration for others. Avoiding conduct which may reflect adversely on us. If in doubt about the proper course of action, always seek advice from your line manager.
Who is our policy for?
Our policy covers all:
- Catch22 Multi Academies Trust employees, including our associated employers’ employees;
- other workers (including volunteers and trustees);
- those who represent the organisation in an official capacity.
How does the Code of Conduct work?
Expectations of Employees
You must treat all information or knowledge obtained as a result of working at Catch22 Multi Academies Trust, which is intended to be treated as such as confidential, unless it is formally made public. This means you must not disclose it to anyone except another employee, and only then for legitimate purposes. Information obtained in the course of your association in any capacity with Catch22 Multi Academies Trust must not be used for personal gain or benefit, nor should you pass it on to others who might use it in such a way. This is covered by the General Data Protection Regulations 2018, (previously by the Data Protection Act 1998) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All employees are expected to familiarise themselves with Catch22 Multi Academies Trust’s Confidentiality and Data Protection Policies and comply with these.
Trust staff have access to sensitive personal data concerning service users, while support staff (e.g. those who work in Finance and the People Team (HR)), have access to sensitive data about staff and volunteers.
Under no circumstance must confidentiality around personal information be compromised and if you have access to such data due to the role you carry out, you are required to make yourself aware of the Catch22 Multi Academies Trust Data Protection Policy and related guidance and how it affects your treatment of sensitive and personal data.
Relationships with service users
You must not:
- discuss service users or staff with other service users;
- have sexual relationships or become emotionally involved with service users (this would be a breach of your legal duty of care and may lead to a criminal prosecution);
- enter into any other relationship with service users that is likely to stop you maintaining a proper professional relationship with them;
- accept responsibility for, or impose any direct control over, managing service users’ finances;
- collude with service users who you believe may be breaking the law;
- invite service users to your home;
- give out your home address or telephone number to service users, or as set out below have service users as friends on social networking internet sites;
- buy alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco or lighters for service users.
To maintain clear and effective working relationships with service users, you must:
- avoid meeting them outside work in a social setting. If such meetings do occur, behave as you would at work, tell a senior colleague, and ensure the incident is recorded in the service user’s contact sheet/records;
- avoid buying goods from, or paying for the services of, service users or their friends;
- avoid accepting money or personal gifts from service users. As refusing a personal gift may cause offence, do so graciously. A low-value collective gift to staff, such as a bunch of grapes, is acceptable if intended as a courtesy or sign of appreciation, but gracefully discourage even these kinds of gifts;
- not give personal money or personal gifts to individual service users;
- not borrow money from, or lend money to, service users;
- make it clear that you may not be willing to meet and talk to service users if they appear under the influence of any substance. In such circumstances, you need to make a professional judgement based on a risk assessment on whether intervention is appropriate;
- tell your line manager and colleagues immediately if you have any previous knowledge of service users new to the service;
- ensure, if you disclose any personal information about yourself to service users, that it is right, necessary and helpful to them to do so, and record this;
- avoid working with service users while you are on sick or annual leave;
- to reiterate above, not accept service users as ‘friends’ on social networking sites, or use such sites to comment negatively on Catch22 Multi Academies Trust policy or practice (see Social Media Policy).
If you are anxious about the nature of your working relationship with service users, or uncertain whether a particular course of action is appropriate, consult your line manager as soon as possible. You can also talk about your working relationship with service users at team meetings, and in supervision meetings.
If you live and work in the same community, you may well be part of extended social networks that include service users. In such circumstances, extreme vigilance is needed to maintain appropriate professional boundaries, protecting service users, staff and Catch22 Multi Academies Trust’s reputation. It is the Head Teacher’s (or equivalent level manager) responsibility to agree appropriate management arrangements, guidelines and practical solutions to ensure that appropriate standards of professional conduct are maintained and boundaries managed. These arrangements must be:
- continually reviewed through supervision meetings;
- formally reviewed every three months;
- copied to the relevant Executive Principal, CEO of Education and the Trust’s People Partner, if the arrangements fall outside this policy;
All Trust employees are expected to familiarise themselves with Catch22 Multi Academies Trusts Safeguarding Policies and comply with them. Managers must be familiar with the terms of the DBS Checks Policy and ensure that they comply fully with it.
Relationships with other staff
Close personal relationships between our staff members will sometimes occur. It is very important that such a relationship does not bring advantage to either party or compromise line management or give the impression that advantage may be gained by the relationship.
Whilst not detracting from the principles of the Catch22 Employee Referral Scheme, you must not be involved in deciding whether to recruit a friend, family member or associate who applies for a job and Executive Principals must formally approve any arrangements which may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest, and take steps to manage those perceptions (see Gifts and Conflicts of Interest Policy). Family members and couples in relationships are not permitted to work beside one another in a supervisory or line management relationship.
Relationships with contractors
You must declare all relationships of a business or private nature with existing or potential contractors or consultants to the appropriate manager. You must not show any special favour to businesses run by friends, partners or relatives.
Gifts and hospitality
To avoid a conflict of interest, the appearance of a conflict of interest, or the need for our employees to examine the ethics of acceptance, our company, and its employees do not accept gifts from vendors, suppliers, customers, potential employees, potential vendors or suppliers, or any other individual or organization, under any circumstances.
The exception to this applies to gifts offered by service users where staff should avoid accepting gifts or hospitality of more than nominal value, as this may be perceived as placing an individual under an obligation. Situations may arise where refusal of a small gift from a service user may damage the relationship with the service worker. Advice from the Line Manager should be sought in order to clarify the propriety of any such case. If the decision is that a gift can be accepted then it should be recorded on the file of the service user concerned, and a note of thanks should be sent.
Catch22 Multi Academies Trust requires that all employees demonstrate our organisation’s commitment to treating all people and organisations, with whom we come into contact or conduct business, impartially. Catch22 Multi Academies Trust employees demonstrate the highest standards of ethics and conduct.
Employees must practice and demonstrate equal treatment, unbiased professionalism, and non-discriminatory actions in relation to all vendors, suppliers, customers, employees, potential employees, potential vendors or suppliers, and any other individual or organisation.
Hospitality must not be accepted if it could be seen as a way of exerting improper influence over the organisation and a note of any hospitality that is accepted (aside from small items such as occasional soft drinks) must be made and included in notes of Supervision. The local service should keep a record of any gifts and hospitality received, apart from inexpensive items such as working meals at office locations, or free calendars.
In respect of the giving of gifts or provision of hospitality to others, reference must be made to Catch22 Multi Academies Trust’s Bribery Policy (as these may fall under the scope of the Bribery Act 2010) and Conflicts of Interest policies which are essential reading for all. No gifts of significant monetary value are to be given or offered to other people or organisations. This does not apply to such things as birthday or Christmas presents to service users which are given in line with agreed local policy and practice (this expressly includes gifts given in a private capacity). These will be dealt with through the service’s normal procedures and practices on such matters.
Serious professional misconduct
Your behaviour must be above reproach and you must act at all times with honesty and integrity. We will view as serious and be likely to treat as a disciplinary matter any of the following, which is not an exhaustive list:
- theft, abuse or misuse of our property, resources or policies;
- falsification of records or other papers for personal gain;
- encouraging others to be dishonest (including failing to report suspected dishonesty);
- failing to declare to your Line Manager any convictions, cautions, prosecutions, pending prosecutions or ongoing police enquiries;
- failure to supply on request an original DBS certificate where your DBS check status has changed or when the manager is informed that a new DBS check has the outcome of Criminal Information Disclosed;
- any misuse of our email, internet or other computer facilities to access, create or circulate offensive material, or any material that may damage our reputation;
- failing to comply with our policies, unless you are new to a role and the failure does not relate to generally understood professional standards, practice or common sense;
- failing to report any actual or suspected breach of policies (see Catch22 Multi Academies Trust Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure).
It is not possible or desirable to prescribe a detailed dress code. However, for the sake of safety and service effectiveness, you must dress appropriately, taking into account:
- the environment;
- clients or partners worked with;
- racial, religious and ethnic sensitivities.
If a manager of Catch22 Multi Academies Trust deems that your clothing is inappropriate for the workplace, you may have to go home and change, and make up the time lost.
Secondary employment, public service and volunteering may conflict with the interests of Catch22 Multi Academies Trust. Before committing to any of these, you must therefore, discuss the possibility with your line manager. Before you start such activities, you must have formal written permission from your Line Manager.
Health and safety
All staff have a duty of care regarding their own and others’ health and safety. You must report any unsafe practices to your manager, and ensure you are familiar with the relevant Catch22 Multi Academies Trust policies. In particular, you must read in full, and be familiar with, all health and safety policies which have a direct bearing on your work.
Use of ICT systems and equipment
Catch22 Multi Academies Trust’s ‘IT Acceptable Use’ Policy details the way in which our IT systems may and may not be used. It is essential reading for everyone using our IT systems. Our IT- Secure Use and our Data Management and Protection Policies are also essential reading for everyone. There are other policies relating to the procurement, licensing and disposal of IT systems, services, equipment and software. The key point in all these policies is that staff must inform the IT Department before taking any action on these issues. All staff members need to be aware of the existence of these policies and to refer to them as the situation arises.
We do not allow you to consume alcohol during working hours, except for celebrations where the Head Teacher (or equivalent level manager) has approved the consumption of limited amounts of alcohol. All staff should be aware of the Alcohol and Substance Mis-Use Policy and consult it where appropriate.
Relationship with colleagues
- It is inappropriate for employees to be emotionally involved with those who are subject to their supervision or with whom they have a reporting relationship;
- It is inappropriate for any Trustee and member of staff to become involved in a relationship;
- It is inappropriate for close family members to work in a direct line management relationship with one another;
- Failure to disclose such a relationship and/or the potential for an inappropriate reporting relationship to be put in place, may lead to disciplinary action.
Supervisory or reporting relationships include both direct, and indirect supervisory responsibility between individuals or an assignment on an ongoing basis. Personal and family relationships in these circumstances can not only compromise (or may be perceived as compromising) objectivity in such matters as contribution review, acting up, promotion and work assignments, but they can also create difficulties in maintaining a professional work climate, evaluations, promotions and work assignments.
Close family relationships are defined as parental, and sibling relationships, and other members of the family group with whom individuals have a close bond and/or would be perceived as having a close bond. This is likely to include extended family members such as nephews, nieces, cousins etc.
It is the responsibility of those involved to approach their Line Manager so that appropriate action can, if necessary, be taken. Line Managers will then discuss with the parties involved the best way forward. Where there is a concern, this will normally involve re-assignment of line management responsibility in an alternative appropriate manner or redeployment to an alternative post.
If a family relationship (other than parental or sibling) exists but is not considered close by the parties, the full circumstances must be disclosed to the relevant Executive Principal who will decide whether the reporting relationship can continue.
Applications for jobs that involve one member of a couple reporting to the other one or to a family member reporting to another family member will not be considered.
From time to time there may be opportunities for staff to attend social events connected with the workplace outside of normal working hours, e.g. staying in a hotel while attending a training course. In such cases it is important to remember that you are still representing Catch22 Multi Academies Trust and that the social event is considered to be an extension of the workplace, accordingly, the usual code of conduct applies in these circumstances. It is also important that all staff participating should enjoy work-related events, in an atmosphere of conviviality without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable by another employee’s conduct. All staff must adhere to the following principles whether work-related events are on Catch22 Multi Academies Trust premises or not:
- Any alcohol consumption by employees at work-related events, irrespective of whether Catch22 Multi Academies Trust provides or pays for drinks, must be in moderation;
- Employees must not behave in any way that could be perceived to bring Catch22 Multi Academies Trusts reputation into disrepute;
- The Catch22 Multi Academies Trust policy on bullying and harassment applies to work-related events and employees should not say anything, including swearing or use of intemperate language, or do anything that could be reasonably expected to offend, intimidate, embarrass or upset any other person, whether intended as a joke or not;
- Employees must never use illegal drugs, including cannabis, at any work-related events.
Any breach of the above principles will render the employee liable to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal.
- Anti-Bribery Policy
- Data Protection Policy
- Confidentiality Policy
- ICT Policy
- Safeguarding (Protection of Children Adults at Risk) Policy
- Social Media Policy
- Alcohol and Substance Misuse Policy
- Financial Policies and Procedures
- Gifts and Conflict of Interest Policy
- DBS Checks Policy
- DBS Barring and Referrals Policy
- Employee Volunteering Policy
- Annual Leave and Special Leave Policy
- Recruitment and Selection Policy
- Sole Trader Policy
- Dealing with Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedure
- Equality and Diversity Policies
- Health and Safety Policy and Procedure
- Code of Practice for Use of Email and Internet Policy
- Whistleblowing Policy and Procedure
- Managing Allegations Policy and Procedure