; Code of Conduct

Document Icon Sample Code of Conduct

Some organisations have a code of conduct included as a section of their child protection policy; other organisations prefer to have it as a 'stand alone' document. Either way, it should be a clear and helpful tool that all staff and volunteers understand. 

A code of conduct should outline good practice guidelines (e.g. treat all young people with respect) that all workers are encouraged to promote, and also 'unacceptable practice' that should not be tolerated and would lead to disciplinary procedures (e.g. physical punishment of a child). Some organisations also choose to have a section that details practice that should be avoided, for example, being alone with a child. A code of conduct helps set clear boundaries and ensures volunteers understand the behaviour that is expected from them. This is particularly helpful as good practice changes, and behaviour that was seen as acceptable a few years ago may no longer be seen as appropriate today.

It can be helpful to involve staff when drawing up the code of conduct so that it reflects the particular needs of the club or group. You may want to talk about general statements, but also some more specific areas of practice that are relevant to your club, for example:

  • Giving lifts home to individual children or young people - would this prevent some young people from attending in rural areas where transport is limited? How could you implement a system that keeps young people safe, whilst ensuring volunteers' actions are not misinterpreted?
  • Young people invited into workers homes - a distinction may need to be drawn between the different roles that a youth worker may play in a young person's life (i.e.  a worker may also be the parent of a young person's friend, a relative of the young person at the youth club, a maths tutor)

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