Code of conduct

Approved 1 May 2020.

1. Introduction

GNDR aims to work to the highest standards with integrity, accountability and transparency. Our Code of Conduct ensures that GNDR staff, board members and trustees are clear about the standards of behaviour and performance required and about our zero tolerance approach to harassment, bullying and sexual or any other form of abuse.

The Code of Conduct also aims to improve the working environment, encourage staff retention, protect staff, and those we work with, from exploitation and abuse or physical injury or harm, safeguard the GNDR reputation and ensure the smooth day to day running of the organisation. The Code of Conduct provides a set of minimum standards which form part of our commitment and responsibility to the welfare and personal security of everyone and, alongside our Health and Safety and Safeguarding policies, aims to protect staff and those we work with from potential risks at work.

GNDR staff, board members and trustees, personally and collectively are responsible for upholding and promoting the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. Therefore, everyone related to GNDR should at all times and in all circumstances, during and outside working hours refrain from acts of misconduct, and respect GNDR standards and the dignity of those whom they assist and with whom they have contact.

2. Scope and purpose

This Code of Conduct applies to all staff, board members and trustees, volunteers, consultants, interns, and any other individuals working for or representing GNDR.

The Code of Conduct establishes, at a minimum, the obligation of everyone not to exploit, abuse or otherwise discriminate against people, and is signed by everyone related to GNDR.

It is expected that GNDR project partners who receive donor funding through GNDR will have their own Code of Conduct. However, where those project partners do not have a Code of Conduct, or it does not meet the donor requirements, then those project partners will adopt the GNDR Code of Conduct, rolling it out to their staff with training and monitoring.

3. GNDR values

GNDR core values guide our work with colleagues, and between GNDR and its members and other partners’ organisations.

  • Trust and openness to listen, share and learn from one another that enables us to build consensus and mutual understanding
  • Transparency and mutual accountability
  • Equity and respect for diverse identities, needs and perspectives
  • Commitment to work together in a collaborative, inclusive and participatory manner

4. Individual and collective responsibilities

4.1. Responsibilities to GNDR

You are expected to:

  • Perform to a satisfactory standard the duties and responsibilities of your role as outlined in your contract and job description, and ensure that all policies and procedures relating to your area of responsibility are adhered to
  • Be appropriately dressed for the office, or for an external event and with a clean and tidy appearance
  • Carry out any reasonable instructions given to you in relation to the performance of your role by an appropriate manager
  • Have appropriate authority to act or commit GNDR in what you write, say or email to others
  • Attend work in a fit and capable state to work and not be “under the influence of” alcohol or any illegal substance

Declare any potential, or actual, conflict of interest or bias, including but not limited to, current or former relationships with member organisations or potential member organisations.

4.2. Responsibilities towards those we work alongside

You are expected to:

  • Support and encourage colleagues in achieving organisational standards and targets
  • Maintain open and professional relationships with each other
  • Value and welcome diversity in gender, culture, religion and politics
  • Take an active part in work related meetings
  • Listen to others respectfully and actively and deal with disagreements professionally
  • Not engage in bullying or harassing behaviour towards any colleagues
  • Contribute towards the creation and maintenance of an environment that prevents sexual exploitation and abuse, and fraud and corruption
4.3. Responsibilities towards those the communities we work for

You are expected to:

  • Respect and uphold people’s safety, security, dignity and rights
  • Report any suspected cases of sexual exploitation and abuse by staff, board member, trustees, members and partner organisations
  • Respect the culture, gender, social and political relationships of local communities
  • Actively avoid unintended consequences of our work on livelihoods and the local economy

5. Integrity and commitment

The work and reputation of GNDR depends on the performance and behaviour of its staff, board members and trustees. You are therefore expected to:

  • Conduct all duties with integrity and strive towards attaining a high standard of professional responsibility and achievement
  • Optimise the use of resources
  • Minimise any negative impact on the environment
  • Recognise the richness of a diverse workplace and value the unique skills and perspectives of every individual, including those of different cultural and educational backgrounds
  • Contribute to removing barriers to gender equality and ensure that GNDR activities take the gender dimension into account
  • Positively represent GNDR in all situations

6. Workplace issues

GNDR has a number of policies that address workplace conduct which ensures a workplace that is professional and safe for everyone. A brief overview will be covered by the following policies:

  • Bullying and Harassment
  • Drugs
  • Smoke and Tobacco
  • Violence
  • Information Technology
  • Safeguarding
6.1. Bullying and harassment

GNDR believes that all staff, board members and trustees, are entitled to work in an environment free from intimidation, discrimination, coercion and such behaviours which may interfere with good working conditions or job opportunities. GNDR will not tolerate any unwelcome comment or behaviour that is offensive, demeaning, humiliating, derogatory, or any other inappropriate behaviour that fails to respect the dignity of an individual.

To that end, GNDR has a Preventing of Bullying and Harassment Policy and will take all actions necessary for its implementation and enforcement, including disciplinary action.

6.2. A drug-free workplace

The manufacture, sale, distribution, possession, or use of unlawful controlled substances, including the abuse of medication and alcohol on GNDR premises and on GNDR business is strictly prohibited and are grounds for disciplinary action and possible legal action. Alcohol is not to be consumed during work hours.

All staff, board members and trustees are expected to:

  • Not be under the influence of illegal, non-prescribed drugs, or alcohol while on GNDR business
  • If attending conferences and evening events and representing GNDR, to remain professional and network, represent or liaise during the whole of the event
  • Not possess non-prescribed or illegal drugs at work. If they are found to be in possession, the GNDR reserves the right to formally report them to the police
  • Report immediately to the individual’s line manager or the executive director, any staff found or suspected to be under the influence of non-prescribed or illegal drugs, or is drunk at work
6.3. A smoke and tobacco free workplace

Smoking and the use of any tobacco product is prohibited in all GNDR owned, leased or controlled facilities worldwide.

6.4. Workplace violence

GNDR does not tolerate any acts or threats of violence committed by or against its staff, board members, trustees, members, partner organisations, or visitors on its premises at any time or while engaged in business with, or on behalf of GNDR, whether on or off GNDR premises. Staff, members and partner organisations are strictly prohibited from carrying any firearms or other weapons while on any GNDR premises or work site. Such acts are subject to disciplinary action.

6.5. Information technology resources 

GNDR information technology resources (including computer systems, cell phones, telephones, facsimile and other technology devices) are designed and intended for official business purposes only. All systems and data stored or conveyed on these systems are considered proprietary – they belong to GNDR. Incidental personal use of these resources is permitted but must be kept to a minimum and must be appropriate. Inappropriate prohibited use includes pornographic materials, hacking, pirating of software, sending non-work related chain letters, advertisements, personal or commercial solicitations or mass mailings.

Unauthorised installation and copy or use of the software programs on GNDR computer equipment is not permitted. The use of GNDR information technology resources in ways that interfere with or disrupt network users, services, or equipment or otherwise constitutes abuse of privileged use is strictly prohibited. Such acts are subject to disciplinary action.

6.6. Safeguarding children and vulnerable adults

GNDR believes that everyone with whom we come into contact, regardless of sex, age, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion or caste has the right to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect and exploitation. GNDR is committed to providing a healthy and safe working environment which protects children and vulnerable adults from any harm that may be caused due to their coming into contact with GNDR directly or indirectly through suppliers or other subcontractors. This protection includes harm arising from the conduct of staff or personnel associated with GNDR and the design and implementation of GNDR projects and activities.

Sexual behavioural norms vary across the world. Sensitivity to the local cultural context on these issues is essential. Staff, board members and trustees must behave according to accepted international human rights standards and laws with regard to sexual conduct. Furthermore, everyone must also comply with UK law (and the laws of their own state nationality or country of residence) and local laws and prohibitions in the country in which they are travelling and/or based.

GNDR will take all appropriate measures to prevent sexual exploitation or abuse of anyone by its staff, board members and trustees, to protect people and communities vulnerable to risk. For these purposes and regardless of local laws or lack of such laws, everyone shall while on duty and off duty:

  • Never engage in any sexual activity with children (persons under the age of 18) regardless of the age of majority or age of consent locally. Mistaken belief in the age of a child is not a defence
  • Given the increased vulnerability of populations in situations of natural disasters or conflict, staff, board members and trustees are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with populations affected by crisis since such relationships are based on inherently unequal power dynamics and undermine the credibility and integrity of the work of international networks and organisations
  • Never accept, solicit or engage in the “buying” of or profiting from sexual services
  • Never exploit the vulnerability of any target group in the context of development, DRR and humanitarian work, especially women and children, or allow any person/s to be put into compromising situations
  • Know that the exchange of money, employment, goods or services for sex, including sexual favours or other forms of humiliating, degrading or exploitative behaviour is prohibited
  • When working with children, avoid actions or behaviour which may constitute poor practice and never act in ways that may place a child at risk of abuse

We have a zero-tolerance policy, to exploitation or abuse of children and vulnerable adults in any form by staff or associated personnel. Where GNDR staff, board members and trustees have concerns or suspicions regarding sexual abuse or exploitation by colleague or anyone else with whom they are working, they must report such concerns through the Whistleblowing Policy. Any allegation regarding sexual exploitation and abuse will be investigated and if substantiated, will result in disciplinary action.

7. Misconduct

All GNDR staff, board members and trustees must refrain from any act of misconduct. The sections below set out the general categories of prohibited acts and include examples of specific acts which GNDR considers as misconduct or gross misconduct depending on the severity of the act. Generally, any act of “abuse of power” will be considered gross misconduct.

GNDR expects all staff, board members and trustees to abide by national and international laws. Staff have a responsibility to bring any concerns to the immediate attention of GNDR through the Whistleblowing Policy.

7.1. Abuse of Power

Abuse of power is defined as “The abuse or misuse of position or influence or failure to use proper discretion for personal benefit or to benefit another person. Abuse of power includes but is not limited to: favouritism, nepotism, cronyism, corruption, bribery and all forms of exploitation, including sexual.”

Acts that will be considered abuse of power, and subject to disciplinary action, include:

  • Any act which could be considered harassment, mobbing, bullying, discriminatory, racism or an illegitimate use of authority
  • Use of position to commit GNDR legally, financially or morally without authorisation
  • Stealing or misappropriation of funds, property or human resources from GNDR
  • All forms of exploitation and abuse
7.2. Fraud and corruption

GNDR is committed to promoting and maintaining the highest level of ethical standards in relation to all of its business activities. Its reputation for maintaining lawful business practices is of paramount importance.

We have a zero tolerance policy towards fraud and corruption, recognising that fraud is contrary to fundamental values of integrity, transparency and accountability, and undermines organisational effectiveness. Disciplinary action will be taken against such acts.

Negligent treatment of GNDR property and theft of any kind is a serious disciplinary issue.

GNDR staff, board members and trustees must never take advantage of their position when working with communities or other stakeholders.

7.3. Conflict of interest and gifts

The rules in relation to Conflicts of Interest and gifts are:

  • Business interests, directorships, board memberships and other employment or voluntary work must not conflict with GNDR interests. GNDR reserves the right to call for the staff/member’s resignation of any outside offices or employment, if it believes that continuation of employment/membership is against the best interests of GNDR
  • When offered a gift in relation to work carried out on behalf of GNDR staff must abide by the Receipt of Gifts Policy and Procedure

Corrupt business practices are prohibited, including failure to disclose or show full transparency of any potential conflict of interest with a member, project partner, any service provider or business partners (including close family relations, shareholder arrangements and the like).

To avoid conflicts of interest, staff, board members and trustees should not accept any gift or favour or promise any gift or favour in connection with their work that could be construed as being inappropriate or an attempt to influence either your own or the recipient’s judgement.

Where a small gift such as chocolates, flowers or modest hospitality is offered this can be tactfully accepted.

8. Security

GNDR takes the safety and security of its staff, board members and trustees, and other stakeholders very seriously. Staff are required to follow GNDR security policies and procedures, or those of a nominated security host in a country you are visiting.

The following are considered serious breaches of security and are prohibited:

  • Possessing weapons or ammunition of any kind while on duty
  • Driving a vehicle while on duty, under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substance

9. Representation

It is the responsibility of all GNDR staff, board members and trustees to ensure that publications and communications bearing the GNDR name should contain material that is accurate and not detrimental to the reputation of GNDR. It is important to note that disclaimers are not effective in absolving GNDR of responsibility or protecting its reputation.

10. Confidentiality

Staff, board members and trustees are not permitted to disclose any confidential information acquired while carrying out duties with GNDR. Such acts will be subject to disciplinary action.

11. Implementation of this code of conduct

Awareness raising

Staff, board members, and trustees have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with the Code of Conduct, its purpose and the mechanisms of reporting non-compliance with it. The Code of Conduct will be an element of induction and covered in other relevant training and briefings.

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