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Our Ethical Code

For board members, management, staff, volunteers, advisors, consultants, contractors or any other personnel associated with the Teacher Development Support Organisation (TDSO)

Key Principles

Three overarching principles help to define our conduct in everything that we do on behalf of the organisation and its mission. When a specific core standard does not address a circumstance or question you may have, or when you may be unable to seek guidance from your manager or the organisation’s ethics officer, you are asked to view the issue through the lens of the following three key principles:
 

A Commitment to Integrity

Integrity is a central value for any person or entity that means to act ethically. It is an inner compass that helps to steer each of us in the appropriate and ethical direction. It is a matter of character that helps us personally and professionally make use of such core values like honesty and applies the morals we learned when we were young. It is an organizing force that organizes and helps to regulate our impulses and appetites. It is an inner voice that urges us to act with conviction and courage even in the face of adversity.

A Commitment to Service

Service before self is about how professional duties take precedence over our personal desires. It embodies the very spirit of the entire project and the “calling” that many of us feel and express. It is about ensuring that we always act in a manner consistent with the idea that the very reason we are here is to serve the community and those in need. Indeed, it is an honour to so serve.

A Commitment to Excellence

Excellence is about maintaining high standards and a passion for constantly seeking to improve everything we do on behalf of the Teacher Development Support Organisation. It is about personal, professional, organizational, operational, and service excellence on behalf of the communities we serve. It is about a process of improving our efforts — both individual and collective — on an ongoing basis.

 

 

Statement of TDSO’s core ethical standards

  • Integrity: We will act with personal and professional integrity.
  • Respect: We will respect others and support and protect diversity.
  • Loyalty: We will be loyal to the organisation and its mission.
  • Confidentiality: We will protect confidential information.
  • Responsibility: We will manage our resources in a responsible manner maximizing our ability to advance the mission of the organization.
  • Fundraising: We will promote voluntary giving.
  • Transparency: We will be open and candid about our activities and operations.
  • Governance: We will govern carefully and honestly to advance the mission of TDSO.
  • Compliance: We will comply with our Ethics Code, the rules, and regulations of TDSO, as well as legal provisions.
  • Duty: We will seek guidance concerning, and report breaches of, our Ethics Code.

Standards

Integrity

We will communicate candidly, honestly, and openly in the statement of any material facts related to our official duties and activities.

  • We will treat each other — as well as others — fairly.
  • We will strive to achieve the highest standards of performance, service, and excellence.
  • We will have the courage to suggest improvements when circumstances warrant it.
  • We will keep our promises.
  • We will be accurate, fair, and timely in our communications.

Respect

  • We will treat others equitably and respectfully in all aspects of our activities without regard to race, colour, religion, creed, age, sex, national origin or ancestry, marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a disabled or handicapped individual.
  • We will support equal opportunity throughout all our efforts.
  • We will, in the furtherance of our TDSO’s responsibilities, refuse to engage in any form of discrimination or harassment.
  • We will listen carefully and recognize that healthy diversity means diverse points of view.

Loyalty    

  • We will be loyal to the TDSO and its mission — not to any individual or group of individuals.
  • We will not engage in any conduct that would undermine the public’s trust or would tarnish the reputation of TDSO.
  • We will not engage in any activity or relationship that would create a potential or actual conflict of interest that would adversely affect our ability to faithfully and loyally perform our service to TDSO.

Gifts

  • We will not solicit or accept gifts other than these that can be considered as small attentions.
  • We will not solicit or coerce the offering of a gift, accept a gift in return for being influenced in the performance of an official act, or accept frequent gifts (even of small value) such that a reasonable person is likely to conclude the individual is using his or her position for private gain.

Nepotism

  • TDSO generally will not employ family members of existing employees or volunteers in leadership positions. Exceptions may be made only if there are special circumstances that are in the best interests of TDSO.
  • We will not have management or supervisory authority over a family member.
  • We will not engage in any form of personal relationship with any other person over whom we have management or supervisory authority, nor with any person that in one way or another, directly or indirectly benefits of the activities of TDSO

Outside Employment

  • We will ensure that any outside employment does not interfere with our responsibilities to the TDSO and does not adversely affect the organization or its mission.
  • We will inform our manager of any significant outside activities that might impact our TDSO’s responsibilities.

Seeking Other Employment

  • We will disqualify ourselves from a matter that, to our knowledge, has an impact on the financial interests of a prospective employer.
  • We will inform our manager and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that we are not personally and substantially participating in the matter related to a prospective employer. Disqualification is, therefore, accomplished in most cases by 1) not participating in the matter, 2) notification to one’s manager and 3) communications to the employee’s coworkers regarding the disqualification.

Misuse of Position

  • We will not use our position for private gain, for the endorsement of any product, or for the private gain of any service or enterprise, friends, family members, or persons with whom the employee or volunteer is affiliated.
  • We will not endorse a candidate or political party on behalf of TDSO.

Restrictions on Former Employees and Volunteers

  • We are aware that the duty of loyalty to the organization continues even after the formal employment or volunteer relationship has ended.
  • We are aware that our duty to not disclose confidential information continues even after our employment ends.
  • We will not use confidential information gained during our employment or volunteer efforts for our personal gain either during or after our relationship with the organization ends.
  • We are aware that a good-faith exception exists for communications made to improve the operations and management of TDSO.

Vendor Relationships

  • We will treat vendors fairly and avoid favouritism.
  • We will offer vendors the opportunity to offer or qualify their products or services on a fair and competitive basis.
  • We will refrain from influencing the selection of vendors who are family members or personal friends or are affiliated with, employ, or are employed by a person with whom they have a relationship that would create a potential or real conflict of interest.

Full Disclosure

  • We will make full disclosure of all potential and actual conflicts of interest.
  • We will abide by the operative rule of thumb: “when in doubt — disclose.”

Confidentiality

  • As a principle, all information concerning the TDSO is open to anyone, except in those cases where privacy and confidentiality are imposed by law, deontology or contractual agreement.
  • We will not disclose to an unauthorized individual or organization without the consent of the organisation’s board or its explicit designee any confidential, privileged, or non-public information entrusted to us.
  • We will respect the privacy of others and private information.
  • We will prohibit all employees and volunteers from engaging in any financial transaction using non-public or confidential information to further their own private interests.
  • We will respect the privacy of donors and safeguard the confidentiality of information that a donor reasonably would expect to be private.
  • We will respect the wishes of donors that may prefer to remain anonymous. We will not publicly release the names, addresses, or amounts of their gifts unless required to do so by law.

Responsibility

  • We will maintain accurate financial records and report our financial results in an accurate and timely manner.
  • We will be honest and faithful fiduciaries and protect the funds entrusted to us.
  • We will use the resources, equipment, and material of TDSO only for the necessary performance of our duties.
  • We will comply with all limitations on incurring expenses during authorized activities for the TDSO and will not seek or receive reimbursement for expenses not incurred.
  • We will adopt a procedure for the selection of outside vendors that ensures a fair price and avoids any conflict of interest.
  • In providing services to partner, staff members or volunteers, we will establish clear, publicly stated criteria concerning how these services are charged. The principles of fairness and good stewardship require that services such as overhead charges and pledge loss costs be accurately and fairly assessed.
  • We will provide employees and volunteers with a confidential means to report suspected financial impropriety or misuse of TDSO’s resources.
  • We will appoint an TDSO ethics officer, who is not a member of the board, nor staff member. The ethics officer has always the right and the duty to oversee all TDSO’s activities in the perspective of this ethical code. The ethics officer can be addressed by anyone who wants to report any issue or concern regarding the ethical behaviour of the TDSO or one of its board members, staff or volunteers.

Fundraising

  • We will promote voluntary, noncoerced giving.
  • We will make our fundraising costs a matter of public record.
  • We will use accurate, truthful solicitation and promotional materials.
  • We will honour all statements made by the organization in its fundraising appeals and the use of a contribution.
  • We will, mindful of necessary and transparent administrative overhead costs, honour the known intentions of a donor regarding the use of donated funds.

Transparency

  • We will openly, candidly, and transparently report TDSO’s activities and operations.
  • We will publish and widely disseminate information to the public in at least seven critical areas:
    1. TDSO’s board members and staff leadership;
    2. the mission, goals, and core standards of the organization;
    3. the central governance structure and mechanisms of the organization (including child protection policies, volunteer policies aso);
    4. the organization’s programmatic activities and achievements;
    5. financial statements;
    6. a list of major donors and donees with appropriate anonymous citations when so requested;
    7. a fundraising section, which includes campaign revenues, overhead costs — including how costs are recovered, fee arrangements, and special grants.
  • We will provide members of the public who express an interest in the affairs of the organization with a meaningful opportunity to communicate with an appropriate representative of TDSO.

Governance

  • We will strive for excellence and professionalism in all TDSO-related activities.
    We will commit ourselves to the mission of the TDSO, and competently, efficiently, and professionally perform the duties and tasks we agreed to assume.
  • We will work cooperatively with each other, always striving to be — or become — genuinely united in our actions and decisions.
    We will honour the democratic process and support the final decisions of the board — even if we may disagree with them.
  • We will fully and candidly discuss issues entrusted to us and respect others’ viewpoint.
  • We will invest in the education and training of our board, employees, and volunteers as a means of ensuring excellence in operations, service, and programs.
    We will ensure that we are competent to accomplish the tasks assigned to us and, if not sufficiently competent, will ask for assistance and become competent.
    We will personally and professionally endeavour to be active listeners and learners, embracing opportunities for others to express their ideas.We will provide a genuine opportunity to all qualified applicants for board, staff, or volunteer positions. Position announcements will be communicated in advance and all qualified applicants will be given an opportunity to apply and be considered.
  • We will provide new employees and volunteers with a clear and meaningful orientation to the mission of TDSO, its policies and procedures, Ethical Code, Code of Conduct, job description, equipment, and overall performance expectations.

Compliance

  • We will establish and implement systems to ensure that we comply with all applicable legislation and regulations.
  • We will specifically designate the general manager as our compliance officer with the specific responsibility for assisting, educating, or training everyone to comply with all laws and regulations.We will periodically conduct an internal review of our compliance with known existing legal, regulatory, and financial reporting requirements and provide a report of the results to the board of directors.
  • We will consider noncompliance with applicable laws to be a disciplinary offence subject to disciplinary measures.

Duty

  • We will seek guidance concerning the Ethical Code, its implications, and its application to our actions and decisions.
  • We will report potential or actual breaches of the Ethical Code.
  • We will treat reports of potential or actual breaches of the Ethical Code or laws as confidentially as the law will allow. If absolute confidentiality cannot be maintained, the individual disclosing the potential or actual breach will be notified.
  • Retaliation against an individual or group who reports a potential or actual breach of the Ethical Code is an independent violation of this Ethical Code and will not be tolerated.
  • We will make all reasonable efforts to fairly, and in a timely manner, investigate and resolve all reports concerning potential or actual breaches of the Ethical Code.

Note: for management, staff members and volunteers a specific Code of Conduct has been implemented. This Code of Conduct is an addition to this ethical code.

 

Ethics Officer

To serve as a central resource concerning our ethical standards and the Code of Conduct, the board has created the position of the TDSO’s ethics officer. The ethics officer reports directly to the TDSO general assembly.

The central role of the ethics officer is to

  • Serve as a central and confidential place to report potential and actual breaches of the Ethical Code.
  • Investigate — or assign a matter for investigation — and report the results to the board.
  • Serve as a catalyst to communicate the Ethical Code to the TDSO’s employees and volunteers as well as to other relevant parties such as donors, vendors, partners, donees, and the public.
  • Issue an annual report to the general assembly, management, employees, volunteers, and the public concerning the activities of the ethics officer. The ethics officer has full discretion to communicate internally or externally about issues that concern this Ethical Code.
  • Coordinate with the management and board of the TDSO to ensure the integration and implementation of the standards embedded within the Ethical Code throughout TDSO’s activities.
  • Manage and oversee all aspects of the Ethical Code, including its dissemination, amendment, and interpretation, as well as training concerning its contents and implications.
  • Serve as an appeals body for employees, volunteers, or others who wish to have a review of an action or decision by management as it pertains to TDSO Ethical Code and Code of Conduct. In a situation where action or decision by management would involve a conflict of interest, the ethics officer will review and decide the matter in the first instance. The name and contact data of the Ethics Officer will be available on the organisation’s website.

We have appointed Mrs. Iris Vanderwee as our Ethics Officer.

 

Mrs. Vanderwee is independent and is not a member of our board. She operates independently and reports to the organisation’s general assembly

Please report any concern you might have concerning our ethical behaviour. Please note that the Ethics Officer is not an emergency service. In case you consider an urgent intervention required please contact the local authorities or police.
The ethics officer can be joined at [email protected]