|Code of Conduct||
|Word Version (English)|
6 Pages (111kb)
Civil Defence is a respected organisation with highly trained members providing a valued and appreciated support to the emergency services and the community. The strength of the Civil Defence organisation lies in its voluntary ethos and with its members who willingly and freely give of their time and expertise. The aim of this Code of Conduct is to deter unacceptable behaviour and promote a positive environment based on mutual respect and professionalism. All members of the organisation are entitled to expect professionalism and impartiality and to be treated with respect and dignity by their fellow members regardless of rank.
Civil Defence is a respected organisation with highly trained members providing a valued and appreciated support to the emergency services and the community. The strength of the Civil Defence organisation lies in its voluntary ethos and with its members who willingly and freely give of their time and expertise.
The Civil Defence Board is committed to:
Maintaining an environment that allows its members to carry out their duties free from intimidating behaviour of any nature. This includes discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying;
Ensuring that a positive and professional image of the Civil Defence Organisation is portrayed at all times.
The aim of this Code of Conduct is to deter unacceptable behaviour and promote a positive environment based on mutual respect and professionalism. All members of the organisation are entitled to expect professionalism and impartiality and to be treated with respect and dignity by their fellow members regardless of rank.
All members of the organisation must adhere to this policy:
All persons who accept to undertake his/her position as a Volunteer member of Civil Defence must strictly comply with the following standards:
Dealing with a Young Person who is a member of Civil Defence
|For the purpose of this code the definition of a ‘young person’ has been taken from Section 31 of the Education Welfare Act 2000 – ‘Young person means a person who has reached the age of 16 years but has not reached the age of 18 years’.|
When dealing with a young person, it is the responsibility of all adult members to:
Where a young person is to be involved in a Civil Defence camp or overnight activity, the Civil Defence Officer must ensure that written parental consent has been obtained for this purpose and arrange for suitable accommodation to be put in place.
If it should become necessary to enforce disciplinary procedures against a young person, every attempt should be made to do this in a positive and supportive manner and in the presence of another adult, having regard to gender balance. The conversation should be kept at an appropriate level for the young person in order to avoid confusion.
Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment & Bullying
Unacceptable forms of behaviour such as discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying will not be tolerated. Such behaviour contravenes the voluntary ethos and professionalism of the organisation.
Maintaining a positive environment not only places an obligation on the command structure of the organisation but is also the responsibility of all members. Members must always treat their fellow members with respect and ensure that their own actions and behaviour do not cause offence to others or contribute in any way to a discriminatory environment. Members are expected to support this policy on discrimination, sexual harassment, harassment or bullying by bringing any instances where such behaviour has occurred to attention at an early stage and by co-operating with any ensuing investigation whether as a complainant, the person complained of or as a witness. It is important to make every effort to ensure that members involved in an investigation into discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment or bullying observe confidentiality and that witnesses to an investigation respect the privacy of the parties involved and refrain from discussing any matters pertaining to the investigations.
This policy governs conduct and disciplinary procedures within the Civil Defence Organisation only. It does not have any bearing on an individual’s legal and statutory rights.
For the purposes of this code the definitions of discrimination, harassment and sexual harassment have been taken from the Equal Status Acts 2000-2004 and the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2004. The definition of bullying was taken from the Government Task Force on the Prevention of Workplace Bullying 2001. As it represents best practice, it is the intention of the Civil Defence Board to apply these definitions not withstanding the fact that members of the organisation are not deemed to be employees of the local authority.
Discrimination occurs where an individual is treated less favourably than another individual is, has been or would be treated on the following distinct grounds: gender, marital status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race and membership of the traveller community.
Harassment takes place where an individual subjects another individual to any unwelcome act, request or conduct including spoken words, gestures, or the production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material that could reasonably be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating. The harassment must be based on one or more of the discriminatory grounds outlined above. Harassment extends to situations where the person does not have the relevant characteristic but the harasser believes that he/she has that characteristic.
The list is not exhaustive but some examples of harassment are:
Sexual Harassment takes place where a person
Behaviour falling within the scope of the above is illegal and constitutes unacceptable behaviour within the Civil Defence organisation. Sexual harassment which amounts to a sexual assault is a criminal offence and will be dealt with as such. Sexual harassment may be committed by a person of the same sex as the victim.
The list is not exhaustive but some examples of sexual harassment are as follows:
Bullying can be defined as repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise conducted by one or more persons against another or others in the course of their Civil Defence duties which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individual's right to dignity. An isolated incident of the behaviour described in this definition is undesirable but as a once-off incident is not considered to be bullying.
On occasion you may receive feedback regarding your performance. Bullying does not arise where negative feedback is given constructively and honestly and relates to issues relevant to your official duties within the organisation.
Grievance procedure in respect of Discrimination, Sexual harassment, Harassment or Bullying
If a member feels that they have been a victim of Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Harassment or Bullying, they should:
avoid being alone with the harasser;
document all incidents including date, time and details of the offending behaviour, including the names of any witnesses.
If a person feels that he/she is being discriminated against, harassed or bullied in the course of carrying out their Civil Defence duties he/she can seek advice from the Unit Officer, Commander (or local equivalent if applicable), Civil Defence Officer, Director of Services (or equivalent) for the local authority.
General Grievance Procedure
A member wishing to raise any matter directly affecting their duty or training should take the following steps. The matter should progress from step to step until it has been resolved. At any stage, the member may choose to have an independent observer present:
The member should discuss the issue with the Unit Officer.
If necessary, the member should seek a meeting with the Commander (or local equivalent if applicable).
If necessary, the member or the Commander should refer the matter to the Civil Defence Officer.
If necessary, the member or the Civil Defence Officer should refer the matter to the Director of Services (or equivalent) for the local authority.
If necessary, the member or the Director of Services (or equivalent) should refer the matter to the City/County Manager.
Members at Instructor level should begin the above procedure at step 2.
In the case of a group grievance the above steps should also be followed. The group may not be represented by more than 3 members at any stage.
It is hoped that these disciplinary procedures will assist the Civil Defence member, whose performance or conduct falls below the required standards, to achieve those standards.
On rare occasions, when members breach this code of conduct the following disciplinary procedures will apply. In all cases where a person’s membership of the organisation has been terminated, a full report must be submitted to the relevant City/County Manager and also to the Director General of the Civil Defence Board.
Informal Verbal Warning
Informal cautions or warnings may be issued by a Duty Officer, Unit Officer, Commander or Civil Defence Officer, affording a member an opportunity to explain his or her actions.
Formal Verbal Warning
When informal cautions have failed to bring about the desired improvements in conduct or performance the Civil Defence Officer will caution the member verbally of the specific aspect of the breach of the Code of Conduct. The Civil Defence Officer will state clearly that this is a verbal warning and will advise the member of improvements which must be made. This formal warning should be issued in the presence of the member’s Unit Officer (or local equivalent if applicable) and duly recorded by the Civil Defence Officer. The member will be advised that further breaches of discipline will result in a written warning.
A record of this warning will be retained by the Civil Defence Officer for 6 months.
When a verbal warning has failed to bring about the desired improvements in conduct or performance the Civil Defence Officer, with the concurrence of the local authority, will issue a written warning in the presence of the member’s Unit Officer (or local equivalent if applicable). The member will be advised that further breaches of discipline will result in a final written warning.
A copy of this warning will be retained on the members file for 12 months.
Final Written Warning
When a written warning has failed to bring about the desired improvements in conduct or performance the Civil Defence Officer, in consultation with an appropriate officer of the local authority, will issue a final written warning in the presence of the member’s Unit Officer (or local equivalent if applicable). The member will be advised that further breaches of discipline will result in suspension.
A copy of this warning will be retained on the members file for 12 months.
If the desired improvements have not been made or further breaches of discipline occur, the member will be suspended from the Civil Defence organisation by the Civil Defence Officer in consultation with an appropriate officer of the local authority. Where such an officer is not available the Civil Defence Officer may suspend the member pending confirmation of this action by the local authority at the earliest possible opportunity. Formal written notification of this suspension will be forwarded to the members involved and a full report will be forwarded to the City/County Manager and the Civil Defence Board. The term of the suspension will be determined by the nature/severity of the offence and is at the discretion of the local authority.
Suspension as a result of serious offences or cases of gross misconduct may progress to termination of membership.
A copy of the suspension notice will be retained on the members file for 2 years.
Termination of Membership
On return from suspension, further breaches of discipline will warrant immediate termination of membership from the organisation by the local authority. Formal written notice of termination of membership will be forwarded to the member involved and a full written report will be forwarded to the local authority and the Civil Defence Board.
A copy of the termination notice will be retained permanently on the members file.
If a member has been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence, the Civil Defence Officer, in consultation with an appropriate officer of the local authority, will fully consider the circumstances surrounding this occurrence. Based on the nature of the offence and the totality of the circumstances surrounding the event/s involved, including the application of this Code of Conduct, the member involved may immediately be suspended from the organisation. At the conclusion of any judicial proceedings that may arise from the said occurrence the Civil Defence Officer, in consultation with an appropriate officer of the local authority, will review the situation, including the appropriateness of any continuing suspension or the need for further disciplinary action. In carrying out such a review, they will consider the totality of the factual situation involved, including any acquittal of the criminal charge involved.
At any stage during the disciplinary procedures the member can appeal the action taken through the general grievance procedures. In the event that an Appeal is upheld, no further action will be deemed necessary. If a member has been suspended or had their membership terminated, they will be immediately reinstated with no loss of seniority.