Application and Purpose
This Code of Conduct sets out how SMART Recovery Australia (SRAU) expects all people working for or representing the organisation to behave in fulfilling their roles with SRAU. It applies to Board Directors, staff, contractors, volunteers and anyone representing the organisation with external stakeholders, and to facilitators and participants in respect of the SMART Recovery program. All people in these roles need to know their responsibilities and obligations under this Code of Conduct and to adhere to them.
The objectives of the Code of Conduct are to:
- Provide a clear benchmark for professional behaviour and treating others with respect.
- Support SRAU’s and the SMART Recovery program’s reputation within the community.
- Make Board Directors, staff, facilitators, volunteers and people representing SRAU aware of the consequences if they breach the Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct has been formulated against the background of SRAU’S Vision, Values, Purpose and Principles and these are to be referenced in interpreting particular situations and circumstances. It also includes information on workplace standards, legal compliance and guidelines on appropriate ethical standards.
The Code of Conduct has application in the delivery of programs, services and activities with participants, clients, suppliers, service partners, contractors, and other stakeholders. It will also be relevant in situations where an individual’s conduct could impact on SRAU’s reputation that may include conduct outside of work.
Having a clear understanding of SRAU’s expectations ensures decisions are made with integrity. The Code of Conduct cannot cover every ethical issue that a person might face, or every law and policy that applies to SRAU. The Code of Conduct provides guidelines and encourages discussion with others on areas of concern to clarify boundaries.
SRAU is committed to the highest level of integrity and ethical standards in all operational practices of Board Directors, staff, facilitators and volunteers by:
- Understanding that how people go about program and service activities on behalf of SRAU is as important as what a person achieves in their role.
- Encouraging an individual to raise any ethical issue for consideration by others as ethical issues, by nature, may be a grey area.
- Ensuring that all Board Directors, staff, facilitators volunteers or people representing the organisation are aware of and understand the expectations under the SRAU Code of Conduct and relevant legislation.
- Meeting key stakeholder expectations for ethical work and business practices.
- Minimising risk of concerns for key stakeholders of SRAU and to the reputation of SRAU itself.
- Establishing principles that attend to legislative and ethical requirements
Everyone is responsible for understanding and adhering to the Code of Conduct. People working with SRAU – whether paid or as volunteers – are expected to act in a manner consistent with SRAU values and carry out their responsibilities professionally and ethically.
It is the responsibility of every Board Director, staff member, facilitator, volunteer, consultant or contractor to:
- Know, understand and comply with the SRAU’s Code of Conduct, policies and procedures.
- Act with trust, loyalty, honesty and respect.
- Act in SRAU’s best interests and according to relevant legislation and the organisation’s practice.
- Raise any concerns or issues with the Executive Director, a Board Director or the Board Chair.
- Interpret the law in a way which reinforces SRAU’s reputation.
The Executive Director and Board Directors have an obligation to ensure the Code of Conduct is implemented consistently and to provide guidance and direction to others. Particular responsibilities include to:
- Communicate the Code of Conduct to staff, facilitators, volunteers, consultants and contractors in the team.
- Create a culture where staff, facilitators and volunteers understand their responsibilities and feel.
- Confident to raise concerns.
- Identify potential business risks.
- Take a leadership role in observing, reinforcing and promoting the behaviour and standards in the Code of Conduct and related policies.
- Treat people fairly and with equity.
- Emphasise the importance of ethical conduct and compliance with the Code of Conduct.
- Take immediate action if they observe a potential breach of the Code of Conduct or if a potential breach is reported to them
Standards expected by SRAU
The standards expected under the SRAU Code of Conduct are listed below. These need to be understood and applied by all Board Directors, the Executive Director, facilitators, staff, volunteers, consultants and contractors. The standards aim to provide guidance and clarity and are underpinned by relevant laws and SRAU policies and procedures.
The following standards of ethical behaviour are required of everyone to whom this Code of Conduct applies:
- Act honestly and with integrity.
- Observe the rule and spirit of the law and comply with the ethical and technical requirements of any relevant regulatory bodies.
- Exercise due care and diligence in fulfilling your duties and exercising the powers that may be attached to your position.
- Act in the best interests of the program and/or organisation except where to do so contravenes any of the other ethical standards.
- Avoid any conflict of interest.
- Observe the principles of independence in decisions and dealings with both internal and external stakeholders.
- Respect all confidential information acquired in the course of your duties and do not use or disclose such information to third parties without authorisation.
- Set a standard of honesty, fairness, integrity, diligence and competency in all that you do, so that your conduct will not discredit SRAU.
Respect at Work
Everyone at SRAU is to take care that their behaviour or actions do not adversely affect other people. Everyone is to treat others with respect and dignity at all times.
All SRAU staff are to strive to practice standards of mutual respect by:
- Valuing others’ work and roles.
- Behaving in ways that show respect towards co-workers.
- Developing relationships built on trust and professionalism.
- Promoting a climate that is fair, supportive, and responsive.
- Encouraging open and honest communication.
- Understanding that everyone is different, but making sure that everyone is treated fairly.
Everyone at SRAU is expected to contribute to a work environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying, violence and assault. You are required to be aware of and abide by SRAU’s policies and procedures.
Discrimination, physical or verbal harassment, bullying, violence or assault in the workplace are against the law, and will not be tolerated.
Working with Key Stakeholders
High ethical standards are expected of all SRAU Board Directors, managers, staff, facilitators, volunteers whether they are working with participants, clients, service partners, suppliers, stakeholders, Government or the community. Good business practices and the SRAU way of working mean that when dealing with others:
- Duties are to be performed in a professional manner.
- Honesty and integrity are at the core of all actions.
- Services are provided in line with the Code of Conduct, SRAU values, relevant laws and regulations.
SRAU’s and the SMART Recovery program’s reputation and performance are at the forefront at all times.
Privacy and Confidentiality
Privacy applies to personal and health information and applies irrespective of the provider of this information.
Confidentiality is an obligation that restricts SRAU from using or disclosing any information in a way that is contrary to the interests of the person or the organisation that provided it in the first place.
SRAU is committed to respecting the privacy and confidentiality rights of staff, facilitators, participants, clients and others with whom the organisation does business. Personal and health information privacy is an issue that affects the degree of trust that people have in SRAU, and is closely related to the organisation’s values, leadership and culture.
SRAU has a policy of “need to know” in relation to our staff, facilitators and participants and their personal and health information. Only staff dealing directly with the cases of particular participants or staff should have access to their personal information.
As an organisation we are committed to:
- Ensuring that all relevant information obtained is required in the proper course of carrying out our business activities.
- Ensuring staff and volunteers do not release any confidential information unless authorised in writing to do so, or it is public information, or as required by the law.
- Ensuring any personal information collected about others is stored securely and kept away from others who do not need to see it.
- Ensuring staff obligations to protect confidential information they have access to as part of their employment continue after the staff’s employment ceases.
- All personal information will be securely destroyed when it is no longer needed for its required business use.
Working with Participants in SRAU programs
Confidentiality of Participant Information
Staff or facilitators may discuss participant information with others if:
- The information is part of a formal debriefing process for the staff member or facilitator concerned.
- The discussion is undertaken to assist the participant.
Participants are not to be intimidated or in any way pressured into disclosing personal information about themselves to others or staff of SRAU.
Participant and Staff Relationships
All SRAU staff are to work in a professional manner with participants and other clients. Staff members are not permitted to engage in an intimate or sexual relationship with participants in SRAU programs. All staff are expected to maintain professional relationships and impartiality with their participants without favouritism.
Staff are responsible for disclosing to their line manager any personal relationships with any SRAU participants or other clients so that SRAU can ensure that appropriate professional boundaries are kept and that there is no conflict of interest.
Working with Children
Working with children requires special clearances and responsibilities. It is necessary and your responsibility to ensure you have a Working with Children Check if you work with children. The child’s needs are paramount and professional boundaries are important.
There are also obligations with regard to reportable conduct. Reportable conduct (with or without the consent of the child) includes:
- Any sexual offence or sexual misconduct, committed against, with or in the presence of a child (including a child pornography offence).
- Any assault, ill treatment, or neglect of a child.
- Any behaviour that causes psychological harm to a child.
Staff or facilitators who suspect reportable conduct must raise their concern with the Executive Director who will advise about the obligations and courses of action that are to be followed.
Working with the Community, Service Partners and Government
SRAU actively supports the communities in which we live and work. We all have a responsibility to act in a manner which merits the continued trust and confidence of participants, other clients and key stakeholders and the public. SRAU is committed to good corporate citizenship and to ensure that it acts in ways that enhances its reputation and standing with the community. All SRAU workers, including facilitators and volunteers are asked to avoid any behaviour or actions that could cause harm to SRAU’s and the SMART Recovery program’s reputation or standing during or after your engagement with SRAU.
The SRAU staff dress code philosophy is to “Dress for Your Day”. This means you select your attire based upon the activities and scheduled events for that day. At all times, you are expected to dress professionally. For example, if you are meeting with a client or guest who will be in business attire, you should dress similarly.
The attire you choose should be consistent with the demands and requirements of your workday and the professional interactions you have.
Regardless of what your day requires, you are still expected to dress tidily, and in respectfully modest attire and with safety in mind.
It is important to act with total impartiality in dealings with participants, other clients, Government agencies and suppliers. The expression of personal views and convictions must not compromise or appear to compromise the performance of official duties.
Personal relationships or considerations, including bias or favouritism, must not influence decisions for or against third parties or the conscientiousness with which programs and services are delivered. Both internally and externally, it is inappropriate for any SRAU person to act in a discriminatory manner. All submissions, applications, representations or other approaches received by SRAU must be treated equally and judged only on their merit.
Gifts and Entertainment
SRAU staff are not to give or accept rewards or gifts from participants or clients that are of greater value than $50.00. Where participants or clients offer a small token of thanks (such as food, or items that are less than $50.00 in value), staff should inform the Executive Director who will maintain a Gift Register.
No one at SRAU will demand any reward or gift for services provided to a participant or other service provider, suppliers and contractors. If there is any doubt as to the appropriateness of a gift, check with the Executive Director or the Board Chair.
Conflict of Interest
While working with SRAU, it is important that nothing conflicts with your responsibilities to SRAU – both inside and outside of work. Even the perception of a conflict can compromise your work or SRAU’s reputation. A conflict of interest exists where loyalties are divided. You may have a conflict of interest if, in the course of your employment or engagement with SRAU:
- Any of your decisions lead to an improper gain or benefit to you, or an associate or relative.
- Your personal interests, the interests of an associate or relative, or obligation to another person or entity, conflict with your obligations to SRAU or put the interests of SRAU at risk.
Conflicts of interest include both financial interests and non- financial interests. You are responsible for informing SRAU of any conflicts of interest (actual or potential). If you are concerned that you may have a conflict of interest, you must disclose that interest to the Executive Director or the Board Chair.
The following are some common examples that illustrate actual or apparent conflicts of interest that you must be aware of. These examples are a guide only. A conflict of interest might arise from:
- A personal relationship e.g. participant, service provider, prospective staff member.
- Holding outside jobs, directorships, memberships, affiliations, or public office.
- Offering or accepting gifts, hospitality or entertainment.
- Your financial interests in other businesses.
- Jobs or affiliations of close relatives.
- Participating in political activities or making political comment that may relate to, or be seen as relating to, SRAU.
- Having a personal, philosophical, religious, moral or political belief or attitude that could influence or be seen to influence the impartiality of advice given.
In many cases you may be the only person aware of the potential for actual or perceived conflict. It is your responsibility to avoid conflicts that could compromise the impartial performance of your duties and this is best done by disclosing potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest to the Executive Director or the Board Chair.
Having a conflict of interest is not wrong. What you may choose to do about it could be.
Private Employment / External Roles
Many people engage in private employment either paid or unpaid. These may include voluntary community organisations, charities, professional associations or family and part-time businesses. As a general rule, provided such employment does not create a real or perceived conflict of interest and does not reduce or diminish your work hours and performance at SRAU, you have no obligation to inform the organization of such activity.
However, where ‘time-off ’ is required or conflict could be seen to exist, you are required to notify the Executive Director of any private employment. If your private employment is seen to be causing you to be less effective at your work for SRAU, then this could be discussed as a performance issue.
Managing Information & SRAU Property
Business Resources and Property
Everyone at SRAU is responsible for the effective and appropriate use and management of SRAU’s property and resources. Business property and resources include cash, credit cards, plans, motor vehicles, confidential information, intellectual property, computer programs, software, office equipment and supplies, mobile phones and computer equipment. Everyone at SRAU is expected to take appropriate measures to ensure business property is not damaged, misused or stolen.
The general principles in relation to business property are:
- SRAU property and resources are used for the benefit of SRAU and not for the benefit of any individual person.
- Property and resources are to be used with consideration to the impact on the business, community and environment and the full costs associated with their use.
- Any misuse of SRAU property or resources is to be reported and addressed.
Any intellectual property developed by a staff member during or as a result of employment with SRAU is the property of SRAU. Intellectual property includes patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, inventions, moral rights, drawings and confidential information.
SRAU Authority Limits
There are limits in place for the authority of staff and managers to spend or to approve expenditure – this includes credit cards, cash, purchase orders or contracts.
You must only spend or authorise expenditure by team members within your SRAU Authority Limit.
Use of Email, Phones, Computers and Internet
Limited use of computers and mobile phones for personal purposes is acceptable, provided they are not used for private income producing purposes.
To the extent permitted by law, SRAU reserves the right to monitor or audit staff use of its information systems – and access electronic communication or information stored on SRAU systems, including mobile phones – for the purposes of ensuring that usage is appropriate, investigating potential breaches of SRAU policy, maintenance, business needs or to meet a legal or procedural requirement.
You are required to use common sense and observe professional standards regarding content and language when creating documents that may be retained by SRAU or a third party.
SRAU’s information and electronic communications systems are not be used to access or post material that breaches SRAU policies, procedures or any laws.
Media and Other Public Statements
Public disclosures may only be made by authorised spokespersons, or with the permission of the Executive Director. This includes documents such as reports and any other communications including press releases, or briefings on business performance, interviews, speeches, articles, social media, blogs, reports, and information on the SRAU website.
Media statements and official announcements may only be made by persons authorised by the Executive Director. If you receive a request for information and you are not authorised to respond to the enquiry, refer the request to the Executive Director.
If you are asked to speak at a conference, ensure you have the permission of the Executive Directory before agreeing to present. If the conference is a public forum, you must provide a copy of the presentation to the Executive Director.
When using social media for personal communications please keep in mind everything you say is in the public domain and may reflect upon you as an SRAU staff member, facilitator, volunteer or contractor. You are responsible for the integrity of the information, reports and records under your control and you are expected to exercise the highest standard of care in preparing materials for public communications.
Compliance with Policy & Concerns
Everyone working at SRAU must be aware of and adhere to, SRAU policies, procedures and this Code of Conduct in relation to health and safety, equal opportunity, privacy, confidentiality, respect at work. In addition, everyone must comply with all relevant legislation.
SRAU is committed to the highest ethical standards and conduct and it is every person’s responsibility not only to act honestly, but also to report any instances of possible corruption, breaches of the law and/or wrongful administration.
You can report such possible occurrences to the Executive Director or the Board Chair. You may report such potential occurrences, either personally or anonymously, with a guarantee of anonymity so far as due process will allow. In certain circumstances the law might require some form of formal disclosure.
In reporting such potential occurrences, provided they are not done so maliciously and without probable cause, you will not be in any way disadvantaged by your action. This includes by harassment, discrimination, or future bias towards your career. Where any form of retaliatory action or recrimination occurs, the whistleblower will have the automatic right of investigation and may include the services of an external professional investigator.
All information supplied by the whistleblower will be treated in confidence.
How to Raise a Concern
If you observe actions or behaviour that concerns you or that may represent a breach of the Code of Conduct, raise the issue promptly with the Executive Director. Any concern raised will be treated with confidentiality and you may remain anonymous if you wish.
What happens when a concern is raised?
SRAU is committed to ensuring that you are not disadvantaged or discriminated against for raising a concern in good faith. It is a breach of the Code of Conduct for any staff to cause disadvantage to or discriminate against a staff member who makes a report under the Code of Conduct.
Anyone who victimises someone for raising a concern in good faith will face disciplinary action, which can include termination of employment. SRAU commits that, whenever possible, your calls, notes, emails and other communications will be dealt with confidentially. You are required to comply with any investigations into concerns about breaches of SRAU’s policies or procedures.
Consequences of Breaching the Code of Conduct
Everyone who works at SRAU is expected to know, understand and comply with the SRAU Code of Conduct. SRAU recognises that breaches of this Code of Conduct may occur from time to time. Such breaches may be inadvertent and without intent, however, a breach may result in disciplinary (up to and including termination) or other action.
Depending on the nature of the breach, actions taken may range from counselling up to termination. SRAU reserves the right to inform the appropriate authorities where it is considered that there has been criminal activity or an apparent breach of the law.
Make sure you know the rules that apply to you, and comply with them. If you have any questions regarding the Code of Conduct, policies or procedures at any time, you should raise this with the Executive Director or the Board Chair.