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Trustees Code of Conduct

Introduction

This code of conduct applies to all members of the Executive and committees (both elected and non-elected) of RSCDS Edinburgh and should be read in conjunction with the Constitution.

It describes appropriate standards of conduct and good practice in order to maintain the highest standards of integrity and stewardship; to ensure the Branch is effective, open and accountable.

Executive members are also Trustees of the Branch and, as such, carry additional legal duties and responsibilities, which are highlighted in italics when required. The most important legal duties and responsibilities are summarised in Duties of Charity Trustees (Lindsays WS, 2007) and Guidance for Charity Trustees (OSCR, 2009), both of which are included in the pack.

Selflessness

Trustees and committee members have a general duty to act in the best interests of the Branch as a whole. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, their friends or any organisation they come from or represent.

Integrity

Trustees and committee members:

  • should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their role;
  • as well as avoiding actual impropriety, should avoid any appearance of improper behaviour;
  • should avoid accepting any gifts and hospitality as might be thought to influence their judgement.

Objectivity

Trustees

In carrying out their role, including making appointments (including trustee appointments), awarding contracts, recommending individuals for rewards and benefits or transacting other business, Trustees should ensure that decisions are made solely on merit.

Committee members

In their decision-making, Trustees and Committee members should ensure decisions are made solely on merit, in the best interests of the Branch and its members, and in line with the aims and objectives of the Branch.

Accountability

Trustees and Committee members:

  • have a duty to comply with the law on all occasions in accordance with the trust placed in them, such as to preserve public confidence in the Branch;
  • are accountable for their decisions and actions to members, service users and the public, and must submit themselves to scrutiny as appropriate to their role.

Confidentiality and Openness

Trustees and Committee members:

  • should ensure that confidential material, including material about individuals, is handled with due care;
  • should be as transparent as possible in their decisions and actions, and should be prepared to give reasons for decisions, restricting information only when the best interests of the Branch so demands

Honesty and Good Faith

Trustees and committee members:

  • have a duty to declare any interests relating to their role and to take steps to resolve any potential conflict arising. Where private interests may conflict with duties/responsibilities, this must be resolved in the best interests of the Branch;
  • must make relevant declarations of interest in the different circumstances and roles they play both within and outside the Branch.

Leadership

Trustees and committee members:

  • should promote and support the principles of leadership by example;
  • must ensure they have a clear understanding of the role and scope of authority delegated and conduct working relations with courtesy and respect;
  • should conduct themselves in a manner which does not damage or undermine the reputation of the Branch, individually or collectively and should refrain from participating in any activity which is in conflict with the objects or which might damage the reputation of the Branch

Skill, Care and Diligence

Trustees:

  • are expected to attend meetings, engage with issues and take professional advice when appropriate;
  • are expected to make decisions collectively and take joint responsibility for them

Conflict of interest

Any Trustee/committee member:

  • with a financial interest in a matter arising, should declare the nature of this interest as soon as possible and expect to withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under discussion and/or a decision has been reached, unless the chairman/convenor has granted a dispensation to remain;
  • with a personal interest in a matter arising, which creates a real danger of bias (that is affects her/him or a member of her/his household more than the generality affected by the decision) should declare the nature of this interest and expect to withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under discussion and/or a decision has been reached, unless the chairman/convenor has granted a dispensation to remain;
  • with any other interest, which creates no real danger of bias but might reasonably cause others to think it could influence their decision, should declare the nature of the interest but expect to remain in the meeting, participate in the discussion and vote, unless the chairman/convenor has clear and transparent reasons for requesting withdrawal from the meeting whilst the matter is under discussion and/or a decision has been reached;
  • should expect that business interests will be noted on the Register of Interests where a conflict of interest might reasonably be expected to arise in relation to decisions being made;
  • should consult with the relevant chairman/convenor in the first instance if in any doubt about the application of these rules: in any difference of opinion the decision of the Chairman will be final.

RSCDS Edinburgh may pay a trustee for the supply of any services (i.e. Teachers and Musicians) over and above normal trustee duties. The decision to do this must be made by those trustees who will not benefit, and agree it is in the charity's best interests to make the payment.

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