The residents of the borough of Enfield expect public servants, at all levels, to demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, professionalism at all times. This is essential to ensure that we deliver value for money services which put our customers first.
This code of conduct applies to all employees of the council. The purpose of the code is to ensure high standards, and to avoid both impropriety and any appearance of impropriety. Failure to adhere to the standards expected could bring the council into disrepute. Employees who fail to meet the highest standards of conduct will be managed in accordance with the council’s Principles of Managing Misconduct.
The code of conduct is a framework which clearly outlines the expected standards, behaviours and responsibilities to be followed by all employees. The framework also supports the council’s policies and principles. Each employee of this council is responsible for keeping up to date with any changes in policy, principles and procedures.
Working with people
Working with clients and customers
The council exists to provide a range of services for the benefit of people living in the borough. Members of the public are our clients and customers. The council has stated that it will provide the best possible services to meet the needs of its customers and clients within the resources available, and treat them all with dignity, respect and fairness.
Working with councillors
Councillors expect staff to contribute to proper and effective working relationships with them. You serve the council as a whole - all councillors and not just those of any controlling group. You must ensure that the rights of councillors are respected. You must maintain political neutrality at work and be seen to be impartial.
Working with partners and colleagues
You are expected to work with partners and colleagues constructively, collaboratively and respectfully in order to achieve the council’s corporate aims and objectives.
Equality and diversity
The council's Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy provides a framework to ensure that it meets its statutory obligations and policy objectives to protect people from harassment, discrimination or being treated unfairly, when applying for a job (through fair-minded recruitment and selection practices), as a council employee or, as clients and customers seeking and receiving council services. The policy provides a means to ensure that we positively promote equality of opportunity in all areas of the council’s activities as an employer and provider of services.
All employees are required to treat colleagues, partners and the public in a fair and equitable way, avoiding discrimination in any form and anything that could demean, distress or offend other people. Remember that people may have different standards to you and may be offended or feel harassed by behaviour that you think is acceptable.
You are responsible for ensuring that you also read the following policies when you join:
- Equality and Diversity in Employment Policy
- Dignity at Work Policy
You are also encouraged to equality and diversity in the workplace training when you join.
If you become aware of activities that you believe to be illegal, improper, unethical or otherwise inconsistent with this code, you must report the matter through the council’s Whistleblowing Policy, which is available on the intranet. This policy allows you to raise your concern in good faith and without fear of victimisation, subsequent discrimination or disadvantage.
It is the council's policy to maintain an image of a professional public service organisation, providing high quality services. Therefore, the appearance of employees does matter, especially when they deal with members of the public. Employees must therefore dress to a high professional standard appropriate for their role. This may be subject to further clarification at a local level, the line manager should confirm this during the induction process.
Disciplinary action may be taken against you if you consistently breach these dress codes.
If you are involved in the recruitment of staff, you must ensure that appointments are made on the basis of merit and fairness and in accordance with the council’s Recruitment Policy and Procedure.
All new entrants to the council must complete the online Corporate Induction programme. In addition to this all employees should receive a job induction and will be subject to an assessment period of up to 20 weeks. Further details can be found in the council’s Principles of Induction and Assessment.
Health and safety
The council has a legal duty of care for the health, safety and welfare of its employees. In addition, all employees must take reasonable steps to protect their own health and safety and that of other people who may be affected by their actions or omissions at work.
You can also seek more information and advice from your trade union safety representative or from the Corporate Health and Safety Team. Corporate Health and Safety.
Working time regulations and additional employment
To enable the council to comply with its Health and Safety obligations under the Working Time Regulations you are required to notify the council of any work undertaken outside of hours worked with the council.
Failure to disclose such information will be regarded as a disciplinary offence, which could lead to your dismissal from the council.
Integrity and honesty
The council expects and trusts its employees to be honest in their work. The public are entitled to have absolute confidence in the trustworthiness and honesty of council employees. Any action which breaches that trust or damages or undermines the public’s confidence will constitute an act of gross misconduct and will result in disciplinary action possibly leading to dismissal.
Gifts and hospitality
You are already paid for the work you do, but some people may believe they will get better service or more favourable treatment if they provide additional payments or offer you favours. The general principle is that you should not receive or ask for any gift, reward or advantage for work done in your official capacity.
You must report to your Departmental Director, as soon as possible, any offers of money, favours, gifts or hospitality you are offered and receive (even if you refuse them or they have been received anonymously). This should then be logged in the Departmental register kept by your Director. If your Director says that you cannot accept the gift or hospitality, it must be returned or refused or donated to the Mayor’s Charity fund. If it is suggested that this is the case, please contact the Mayor’s Secretary in such circumstances.
In practice however, staff may receive or be offered unsolicited gifts and hospitality from genuine sources perhaps as a ‘thank you’ for a good service or by way of an invitation to a particular event. It is often very difficult to decide which offers can be accepted and which can’t. If the value of the gift is £25 or less, provided the Director is satisfied that there has been no impropriety, the gift may be accepted.
It would not be acceptable to accept gifts or hospitality (say) from a company who is involved, or about to be involved, in a tendering exercise for a council contract as any favouritism or perception of favouritism could result in the council being subject to legal action by unsuccessful tenderers. Further clarification should be sought from the Procurement Team.
If you or your Director are in any doubt, please contact either the - Monitoring Officer or the Borough Solicitor for further advice.
Conflict of interest/pecuniary interests
Conflict of interest
There may be occasions where there is a conflict between the council's interests and your own. It is important for these interests to be declared and clearly documented. To avoid any difficulties arising from a potential clash of interests you must:
- notify your manager if you have links, of any sort, with an outside organisation (for example through paid employment, consultancies or advisory positions, directorships or partnerships, significant holdings of shares or other financial securities, positions held as a councillor, governor or trustee, or trade union or pressure groups representative) which may:
- work for the council, or supply goods and services to it (or are tendering or preparing to do so)
- get (or are applying for) grants or other benefits from the council, if you are involved in the grant allocation process or where this could create a conflict of interest
- not participate in any appointment process (or application for appointment) to the council’s service, where you are related to, or have a close personal relationship with, the applicant. See link below for further guidance
- avoid acting as professional representative on behalf of a friend, partner, or relative, in their dealings with the council
- declare any possible conflict of interest to your manager
You are responsible for ensuring that you also read the following policy when you join:
- Principles of recruiting and working with people with whom you have a close relationship
Politically restricted posts
Some posts in the council are politically restricted. These are primarily the most senior officers but can also include:
- those post holders who give advice on a regular basis to council, Cabinet and other council bodies, plus to individual members
- those who speak on behalf of the authority on a regular basis to the press and media
If your post is restricted you will be disqualified from becoming a Member of another Local Authority, a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament or from engaging in political activities. Categories of politically restricted and politically sensitive posts are listed in your written statement of terms and conditions of offer.
Where a post is politically restricted, details will be outlined in your terms and conditions of employment, along with details of your right to appeal against the restriction, if applicable.
What is misconduct?
Misconduct is behaviour that is deemed inappropriate. There are varying degrees of misconduct, ranging from minor misconduct, to serious misconduct. Misconduct is managed under the council’s Principles of Managing Misconduct. Examples of the types of behaviour that constitute misconduct are outlined in Appendix 1. The list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.
What is gross misconduct?
Gross misconduct is misconduct of such a serious and fundamental nature that it breaches the contractual relationship between the employee and the council, and justifies the council dismissing you without notice. Examples of the types of behaviour that constitute gross misconduct are outlined in Appendix 2. The list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.
This Code of Conduct outlines some general standards and you must ensure that you are aware of any other rules that apply to your profession, position and workplace. Further details regarding standards are outlined in the council’s Principles of Managing Misconduct.
Any breaches of this Code, or any other conditions or rules, may render you liable to disciplinary action under the council’s Principles of Managing Misconduct.
During your employment with the council you may experience cause to seek redress for a grievance relating to your employment. Though the council advises that the majority of situations should initially be addressed informally with the relevant parties to seek a satisfactory resolution at this stage, you reserve the right to submit a formal written grievance, in the first instance to your line manager, in accordance with the council’s Principles of Managing Grievances.
Use of council assets
Council assets comprise not only physical objects and financial resources but also computer data and information generally. We must ensure that we use the public funds entrusted to us in a responsible and lawful manner, ensuring value for money to the local community. You must not take anything that belongs to the council unless you are specifically authorised to do so. Further you must ensure you have permission before you make use of council property.
Data protection and disclosure of information
Council customers, suppliers and employees are entitled to protection of their personal information. The Data Protection Act imposes a legal duty on organisations to protect personal information about living individuals. You must keep all personal data confidential, whether computerised or manually held, and comply with the law and council policies.
Information security, email, Internet, social networking, software and telecommunications acceptable usage
You must adhere fully to the council’s Information Security Policy., which is available on the Staff intranet. This is a comprehensive document detailing the standards expected of all staff in protecting information in whatever form it takes, although it is particularly concerned with information held within, or accessible via, computer systems.
You are also responsible for reading the following policies and procedures when you join:
- Acceptable Usage Policy
- Email, Internet and Social Networking Usage Policy
- Data Protection Policy
Any breach of information security, email, Internet, social networking, software, and telecommunications acceptable usage guidelines may be dealt with in accordance with the council’s Principles of Managing Misconduct.
Safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults
This authority is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults and expects all staff and volunteers to share in this commitment. If you are employed to work with children, young people or vulnerable adults you must ensure that your conduct, at all times, demonstrates your personal commitment.
The council will check the status of successful candidates for regulated roles against the relevant barred list(s) held by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) by conducting the relevant DBS check. In the event the checks reveal that a candidate is ‘barred’ the council reserves the right to withdraw the conditional offer of employment.
The council also has a duty to refer certain information about an individual’s conduct to the DBS and will comply with this requirement.
Registration with a professional body
In the event that you are being investigated in accordance with the council’s formal procedures, for example, misconduct or capability, and the concerns are founded, you should be advised that the council may be required to formally refer the outcome to the relevant body, for example, the HCPC in the case of social care.
If registration with a professional body is a condition of your employment, it is your responsibility to ensure that your registration does not lapse. The council reserves the right to take appropriate action including temporary demotion and disciplinary action in the event that registration is not maintained.
Breaking the law
Breaking the law either criminal or civil at or away from work could damage public confidence in the council or could make you unsuitable for the work you do. You must advise your line manager immediately in the event that you are arrested by the police whether or not this leads to a criminal charge, caution or conviction of a criminal or civil offence. Your manager will then consider whether the arrest, including the actions leading up to the arrest, risks the reputation of the council, damages confidence in you and makes you unsuitable to carry out your role. The relevant council procedures will then be followed accordingly. If you are in a driving role you must disclose any points received/speeding offences/driving ban to your manager immediately.
Disclosure and Barring Service
Staff employed to work with children or vulnerable adults must notify their manager in writing if:
- they are convicted of a criminal offence that affects their suitability for the job they currently do
- they are charged with a crime which (if convicted) would make them unfit for the job they currently do
Please note - failure to disclose this information could lead to disciplinary action, which may result in dismissal.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 allows you not to have to disclose a previous conviction unless you are applying for a job where you are likely to be in regular contact with:
- people under 18 years of age or over 65
- vulnerable adults
- or if you will be working in:
- a school or college
- social services
- youth service
- leisure services
If you fall into any of these categories, you must give details (convictions, date and sentence) of any conviction against you even though they may be 'spent' under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Any information you give the council about convictions will be kept confidential and will only be considered in relation to the job you are applying for.
Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Persistent lateness
- Failure to complete contractual hours
- Unaccountable absences from the work area
- Failure to observe policies and procedures, including, for example:
- the correct recording of working time and attendance
- the reporting of sickness
- regulations relating to time off work or release from duties (for example, annual leave or domestic emergency)
- Failure to conform to agreed working practices, where these are reasonably and properly required
- Refusal or failure to carry out a reasonable instruction
- Failure to comply with dress codes
- Failure to take reasonable care of council property
- Disclosure of confidential information without authorisation.
- Failure to comply with the council’s ‘No Smoking During Working Hours Policy’
- Failure to participate in or follow instructions during fire drills/practice
This list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.
Gross misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Serious abuse
- Corrupt practices
- Where an employee is charged with a criminal offence inconsistent with their position
- Theft, fraud and deliberate falsification of records (for example, expenses claims, time sheets)
- Physical violence, threats, fighting, assault on another person
- Bullying, harassment or discrimination
- Deliberate damage to council property or employee's property
- Removal or disposal of any council property without management's permission
- Serious insubordination
- Interference with safety devices or equipment putting other employees or visitors at risk at work
- Serious misuse of the council's property or name
- Misuse of a disabled person’s blue badge
- Using social media in such a way that discredits the council and/or your position within it
- Bringing the council into serious disrepute
- Incapability whilst on duty brought on by alcohol or illegal drugs, the misuse of drugs or the possession of illegal drugs whilst at work
- The supply and trafficking of drugs, money laundering activities, or the use, sale or distribution of illegal substances
- Negligence which causes or might cause unacceptable loss, damage or injury
- Serious infringement of health and safety rules
- Serious breach of duty of confidence (subject to the Public Interest (Disclosure) act 1998 and Confidential Reporting Policy)
- Deliberate or reckless damage, mis-use or interference with or unauthorised use of the council computers and/or software or unauthorised entry to computer records
- Serious misuse of electronic systems
- Failure to notify line manager of arrest by the police
- Conviction of a criminal offence that is relevant to the employee's employment
- Deliberate falsification of a qualification that is a stated requirement of the employee's employment or results in financial gain to the employee
- Undertaking private work in working hours without express prior permission
- Private use of council property, equipment or transport without authorisation
- Serious breach of trust or confidence
This list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.