The code of conduct requires:
- employees to take responsibility for their own conduct
- employees to conduct themselves in a manner that is professional, co-operative and consistent with the code of conduct
- principals/supervisors/managers and leaders to make employees well aware regarding the expectations contained within this code of conduct as part of their induction and ongoing employment.
There may be consequences for a breach of the code of conduct (refer to 4.3).
While contractors, students on tertiary practicum placements and volunteers are not usually subject to disciplinary action, conduct that would be assessed as being a breach of the code of conduct may result in their employment being terminated.
Expectations of Employees
An employee is expected to:
- act in accordance with the, Positive Workplace Relationships Policy and Guidelines,
- perform duties to the best of their ability and be accountable for their performance
- follow reasonable instructions provided by their supervisor
- comply with a lawful direction from relevant personnel, including direct managers (co-ordinators), executives, principals and SCS personnel
- carry out duties in a professional and competent manner
- participate in relevant personal and professional growth opportunities in order to continuously improve knowledge and skills
- act in an honest and impartial manner at all times (including in situations where they have strong personal views)
- work collaboratively to ensure his/her safety as well as the safety of others
- maintain a professional reputation, including in his/her personal/private life
- be familiar with the legislation under which he/she is employed, as this may specify requirements with which he/she needs to comply
- act in good faith by not making unfounded complaints, with malicious, frivolous or vexatious intent, against another person.
Expectations of principal/supervisor/manager
The principal/supervisor/manager is required to report any relevant child protection allegation in accordance with the following SCS child protection policies:
A principal, manager or supervisor, in addition to the above responsibilities, is expected to:
- promote a collaborative and collegial workplace
- exercise leadership by working with staff to implement performance and development processes that are consistent with the employee’s conditions of employment
- provide ongoing support and feedback to staff
- establish systems within the employee’s area of responsibility that support effective communication
- consult with and involve staff in appropriate decision-making
- inform employees of the code of conduct and all relevant policies, and make these documents accessible to them
- take appropriate action if a breach of the code of conduct is found to have occurred.
Whilst different arrangements for engagement may apply for contractors, students on tertiary practicum placements and volunteers, they are still expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the principles underpinning the code of conduct.
Consequences of a Breach of the Code of Conduct
An employee holds a position of trust and is accountable for his/her actions.
Consequences of inappropriate behaviour and breaches of the code are described in various legislation, policies, procedures and standards applicable to the organisation. Relevant SCS policies, procedures and standards are available on the SCS intranet.
If an employee’s actions are found to be inappropriate, unethical or appear to breach the standards of the code of conduct, his/her supervisor has a responsibility to address any possible breach as soon as he/she becomes aware of it. This includes behaviour that is:
- illegal – including, but not limited to: theft, drug offences, any use of violence or threat of violence, or criminal damage against property
- a breach of other legislation
- a gross mismanagement or a repeated breach of administrative procedures
- conduct that may cause financial or non-financial loss, or be detrimental to the school or SCS more broadly.
An alleged breach of the code of conduct may require a report to be made by either a principal or employee internally. The alleged breach may also need to be referred to external authorities under relevant legislation.
If any employee becomes aware of a breach of the code of conduct by a colleague, he/she should report this to the principal/supervisor/manager. If an employee is unsure about whether something needs to be reported, he/she may contact their union organiser or SCS Human Resources.
If an employee is concerned about an alleged breach of the code of conduct by his/her principal/supervisor/manager, this should be reported to the next level of management, as directed by the school authority or to the Director of Human Resources.
All reasonable steps will be taken to maintain the confidentiality of the person making the report. No adverse action will be taken by SCS against a complainant who makes a report in good faith. Persons making a report will be protected against reprisal, dismissal or discriminatory treatment as a result of making a report. Making a false complaint may be regarded as serious misconduct and may result in disciplinary action.
Every alleged breach of the code of conduct will be investigated as appropriate and proportionate to the alleged conduct. In investigating an alleged breach of the code of conduct, objective and impartial processes will be followed. Generally, where the report concerns the actions of another person, that person would be informed of the complaint in writing, where appropriate. This is subject to considerations such as maintaining the anonymity of the person making the report, or advice from external parties such as police or Family and Community Services.
The appropriate action to be taken in each case will be determined by the facts and circumstances. The seriousness of the alleged breach will usually determine the level of investigation.
Appropriate action is determined by considering:
- the nature and seriousness of the breach
- prior breaches
- when the prior breaches occurred
- mitigating circumstances
- assessment of risk and
- whether the breach would be serious enough to warrant formal disciplinary action.
Outcomes may include:
- performance management
- professional learning/development
- increased supervision or monitoring
- coaching or mentoring
- specialist assessment
- informal or formal disciplinary action