Staff Code of Conduct
This policy aims to set and maintain standards of conduct that we expect all Homefield’s working community to follow enabling an environment where everyone is safe, happy and treated with respect.
Aims & Scope
This Code of Conduct is designed to give clear guidance on the standards of behaviour all Homefield staff are expected to observe and applies to all staff members, voluntary workers, or those on a placement basis.
Homefield employees are in a unique position of influence and must adhere to behaviour that models the highest possible standards for all our beneficiaries. As a member of the Homefield community, each employee has an individual responsibility to act with personal and professional integrity and to maintain their reputation and the reputation of the College, whether inside or outside working hours.
We expect all employees and the wider Homefield community to behave in a way which demonstrates and embraces the College’s core values:
- Equality – Embracing systems and cultures which value the individual, where everyone is able to participate as equals and provides everyone with the opportunity to be the best that they can be.
- Empowerment – Acting as role models for beneficiaries by consistently demonstrating high standards of behaviour and having high expectations of yourself and others. Sharing knowledge and skills so that people grow in confidence. Showing passion, persistence and resilience in seeking creative solutions to strive for continuous improvement and excellence.
- Respect – Treating other people with dignity and respect, valuing and them for who they are, recognising need in others and acting with positive intention to promote wellbeing and improve outcomes.
- Sustainability – Taking responsibility to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of others to meet needs in the future.
This Code of Conduct will be shared with all employees as part of their induction programme. Thereafter, all employees will be expected to revisit the Code of Conduct on an annual basis, along with other college policies, including Child Protection, Safeguarding and Health and Safety policies. This will normally take place on the first day of each academic year.
Please note that this code of conduct is not exhaustive. If situations arise that are not covered by this code, staff will use their professional judgement and act in the best interests of the College and its beneficiaries.
Legislation and Guidance
This Code of Conduct is in line with the statutory safeguarding guidance ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ and covers acceptable use of technologies, staff/student relationships and communications, including the use of social media. For the avoidance of doubt, it is not a contractual document, and we reserve the right to amend it at any time. The Code of Conduct will be subject to regular review, particularly in the light of new and relevant legislation.
All employees of Homefield College will:
- Ensure that the welfare of our beneficiaries is paramount.
- Take individual responsibility to uphold and apply our Equality & Diversity scheme, conducting themselves in a manner consistent with that scheme and relevant legislation.
- Be responsible for their own actions and behaviour and should avoid any conduct which would lead any reasonable person to question their motivation and intentions.
- Will work, and be seen to work, in an open and transparent way.
- Will apply the same professional standards regardless of culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief or sexual orientation.
- Maintain high standards in their attendance and punctuality. Notifying relevant parties if lateness cannot be avoided.
- Never use inappropriate or offensive language in College or whilst on duty within the community.
- Ensure all members of our working community, students, and visitors are treated with consideration, respect and dignity. This includes respect in all forms of communications including verbal and written communication.
- Be committed to creating and maintaining a working environment free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, and victimisation.
- Not undermine fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Not express personal beliefs in a way that exploits students’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.
- Not consume or be under the influence of alcohol or any substance, including prescribed medication, which may affect their ability to care for our beneficiaries
- Must observe and comply with UK laws and regulations.
While this Code of Conduct gives guidance to employees in certain situations, there are specific areas where the Organisation has a policy of zero tolerance. These are:
- unsafe, illegal or unethical working practices
- violence and aggression
- discrimination, prejudice, bullying and harassment
- bribery and corruption
- retaliation or action against anyone who speaks up and, in good faith, reports a wrongdoing
All those who work with, or on behalf of, our beneficiaries have a responsibility to safeguard and promote their welfare and wellbeing. This includes the responsibility to be alert to possible harm, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, extremism and radicalisation. The duty to safeguard students includes the duty to report concerns about a student to the relevant Designated Safeguarding Lead.
Staff will familiarise themselves with the College’s Safeguarding Policy and procedures, Whistleblowing Policy, and related Safeguarding policies found within the SharePoint Safeguarding Hub.
All staff must also read and comply with the LCC Leaflet “Safeguarding in Education – Child Protection Information and Safer Working Practices” and the Homefield ‘Safeguarding Essentials’ document which is provided as part of the induction process.
All staff should ensure that they are aware of the processes to follow if they have concerns about a student.
All employees hold a position of trust towards our students.
Staff will observe proper boundaries with students that are appropriate to their professional position and must not enter into personal relationships nor encourage behaviour on the part of the student which goes beyond that which could ordinarily be expected from staff / student relationships. They will act in a fair and transparent way that would not lead anyone to reasonably assume they are not doing so.
Staff should avoid contact with students outside of college hours if possible and personal contact details should not be exchanged between staff and students. This includes social media profiles.
While we are aware some students and their parents may wish to give gifts to staff, for example, at the end of the college year, gifts from staff to students are not acceptable. If a staff member is concerned at any point that an interaction between themselves and a student may be misinterpreted, or if a staff member is concerned at any point about a fellow staff member and a student, this should be reported in line with the procedures set out in our child protection and safeguarding policy.
Honesty and Integrity
Staff should maintain high standards of honesty and integrity in keeping with their role. This includes when dealing with students, handling money, claiming expenses and using college property and facilities.
Conduct outside of work
Staff will not act in a way that would bring the Homefield’s reputation into disrepute. This covers conduct including but not limited to criminal offences or antisocial behaviour, as well as negative comments about the college on social media or in the local or wider community.
You must inform your manager if you are under investigation for a criminal act (including road traffic offences) or have been arrested in connection with a criminal action.
You must also inform your manager if you have been found guilty and convicted of any offence or received a police caution. Failure to disclose this information may be treated as a disciplinary offence.
If you commit a criminal offence outside employment, we will investigate to see whether there is any connection between the offence and your employment. If there is, this could result in your dismissal under the disciplinary procedure.
Bribery and Corruption
In accordance with the provisions of the Bribery Act 2010, we do not permit the bribery of any person involved in our business.
You must not authorise, offer, promise or pay or receive a bribe designed to secure an unlawful advantage. The amount of the bribe is irrelevant.
In some circumstances, excessive hospitality or gifts may be regarded as offering or receiving bribe. Gifts that are worth more than £10 must be declared to HR to be recorded on the gifts and hospitality register.
Fraud is not tolerated at Homefield. Any attempt to secure an unlawful gain will lead to disciplinary action and sanctions up to and including dismissal. A report will also be made to the relevant authority which could lead to prosecution.
We will always seek to recover loss resulting from fraud.
Conflict of interests
It is important that, where decisions are made which have a significant effect on the Organisation and others, they are taken in a fair and balanced way.
All staff must declare any potential conflicts of interest so that they are not involved in decisions that could be regarded as biased.
Staff are required to wear college identity cards and use the college lanyard provided when on college premises for access and security reasons.
Staff should consider the manner of dress and appearance appropriate to their professional role. We do not permit the wearing of clothes that are revealing, allow underwear to be seen, or have offensive logos or writing.
Your line manager will provide guidance to ensure that your clothing/footwear is suitable for the activities you carry out for your role, and in line with Health & Safety regulations.
For some roles and / or tasks, it may be necessary to wear items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Health & Safety reasons; these will be supplied and must be worn at all times. Any clothing or accessories worn must not hinder your or the students’ health and safety [example; hooded tops with pull cords, long necklaces].
Formal uniform and specific dress codes may be required for specific study programmes and locations which staff will be informed of accordingly.
Any clothing or accessories worn must not hinder your ability to perform taught restraining techniques [for example; very long nails]. Footwear worn must be safe, sensible and in a good state of repair. Any footwear worn must be fully enclosed and suitable for the environment staff are working within.
Homefield College operates a No smoking and No Vaping policy and is a smoke-free College. Smoking is forbidden anywhere in College buildings or areas, substantially enclosed workplaces and vehicles used as workplaces. This includes:
- College buildings including garages, sheds or outbuildings
- College vehicles
- In courtyards
- Within 3 metres of an entrance to a building
- Outside buildings if the smoke is likely to drift through open doors or windows
In addition, staff should refrain from wearing any identifiers as an Homefield College member of staff should they smoke. The use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited wherever smoking is prohibited.
Locally designated smoking areas will be identified where practicable. These will be a suitable distance away from building. All cigarette waste should be disposed of properly and considerately in a safe manner.
- Health Act 2006
- The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007
Punctuality and Attendance
Staff should arrive and sign in and be ready to begin work at or before the beginning of their contracted hours.
Any unexpected absence is to be reported to the absence line as early as possible (by 7.30am) so that any necessary cover arrangements can be made. Staff are asked to leave a message which states the date, their name, department, and a brief reason for the absence. A member of the HR team will then make a follow up call well-being call. Please note email, calls to other staff, texts or social media messages do not negate this requirement.
All staff should maintain good levels of attendance and avoid absence from work where possible.
Staff should be aware of the Sickness Absence Policy and Leave of Absence Policy which provide further information on all forms of leave including compassionate leave and public service/duty leave.
IT and Data Protection
All staff should be aware of and comply with the IT Acceptable Use Policy and accompanying Social Media guidelines.
Staff will not use technology in college to view material that is illegal, inappropriate or likely to be deemed offensive. This includes, but is not limited to, sending obscene emails, gambling and viewing pornography or other inappropriate content.
Staff will not use personal mobile phones and laptops, or college equipment for personal use, in college hours or in front of students. They will also not use personal mobile phones or cameras to take pictures of students.
Homefield SMT have the right to monitor emails and internet use on the College IT system.
Staff should always ensure the safety and security of college property, such as laptops, iPads and mobile phones.
Communication and Social Media
Employee’s personal social media profiles should not be available to students. If they have a personal profile on social media sites, we recommend that staff do not use their full name, as students may be able to find them. Staff should consider using a first and middle name instead, and set public profiles to private.
Staff should not attempt to contact students or their parents via social media, or any other means outside college, in order to develop any sort of relationship. They will not make any efforts to find students’ or parents’ social media profiles.
Staff will ensure that they do not post any images online that identify students at the college without their consent and must not disclose confidential information when using personal social media.
Staff may use social media for work purposes (such as LinkedIn) but should not access social media for personal purposes during working hours. Any use of such social media must be respectful of Homefield’s reputation and that of all our staff, students and visitors.
In the course of their role, members of staff are often privy to sensitive and confidential information about the college, staff, students and their parents.
All sensitive and confidential information should be handled with highest level of integrity and should never be:
o Disclosed to anyone unless required by law or with consent from the relevant party or parties
o Used to humiliate, embarrass or blackmail others
o Used for a purpose other than what it was collected and intended for
This does not overrule staff’s duty to report safeguarding concerns to the appropriate channel where staff believe a student has been harmed or is at risk of harm, as detailed further in our safeguarding policy.
Health & Safety
All staff must familiarise and comply with the Health & Safety Policy and ensure that all health & safety standards are met in accordance with that policy.
Staff must not under any circumstances behave in a way that could endanger their own health and safety or the health and safety of others.
Whistle Blowing & Raising Matters Of Concern
Whistle-blowing reports wrongdoing that it is “in the public interest” to report. Examples include:
- Activities that you believe, in good faith, are illegal, improper, unethical, or otherwise inconsistent with this Code of Conduct.
- Student or staff’s health and safety being put in danger
- Failure to comply with a legal obligation or statutory requirement
- Attempts to cover up the above, or any other wrongdoing in the public interest
Staff are encouraged to report suspected wrongdoing as soon as possible. Their concerns will be taken seriously and investigated, and their confidentiality will be respected.
Staff should consider the examples above when deciding whether their concern is of a whistle-blowing nature. Consider whether the incident(s) was illegal, breached statutory or college procedures, put people in danger or was an attempt to cover any such activity up.
Staff should report their concern to the Principal. If the concern is about the Principal, or it is believed they may be involved in the wrongdoing in some way, the staff member should report their concern to the chair of the board of trustees.
If you raise concerns in good faith and in line with our whistleblowing policy, you will not suffer any kind of punishment or retaliation, nor be penalised in any other way.
For further guidance on the issue and procedure, you should refer to our Whistleblowing Policy.
Any breach or failure to meet these standards of behaviour and conduct may be considered a disciplinary matter, which could result in disciplinary up to and including dismissal.
Links with other policies
This Code of Conduct links with our policies, including but not limited to:
- Staff Disciplinary Policy (This will be used if staff breach this code of conduct. It also sets out examples of what we will deem as misconduct and gross misconduct)
- Safeguarding Policy
- Equal Opportunities Policy
- Harassment & Bullying
- Whistle-blowing Policy
- Sickness Absence Policy
- Leave of Absence Policy
- IT Acceptable Use Policy
- Data Protection Policy
- Health & Safety Policy
All policies can be found on the Homefield SharePoint site.
Approved by: Senior Management Team
Last Updated: Feb 2023
Staff Lead: Human Resources Manager