The BCA Committee Code of Conduct.
This Code of Conduct is intended to ensure that Committee members treat each other with respect and to promote harmony and avoid conflict. Please follow the Code; it is there to help you do your job.
1) Confidentiality. Unless otherwise agreed by the Committee or instructed by the Chair, any material or private discussions by the Committee and anything not cleared for release on the website, publications, or word of mouth is confidential. In general, information from the committee is passed on via the Secretary or Chairman once it has been approved. Clearly, some discretion is needed. It would not apply to (for example) to a reminder of the deadline for the Journal.
2) BCA Constitution. This Constitution exists for a reason, and is there to be obeyed, both by the Committee and by the membership. It represents how the membership has decided the BCA should run. This may seem obvious, but it is alarming how often the Constitution rules are broken, which could lead to disastrous results for the BCA and especially its finances. Please pay particular attention to financial provisions in the Constitution. It is also essential to work within the law as this particularly affects matters of finance, sales (mail order legislation), copyright, and of course libel.
The Constitution is there for the safety and protection of the membership and to protect Committee members from reckless action by other Committee members. As a basic rule, if the Constitution does not say you can do something, you might not be able to do it and should consult the Committee before taking any action. If the Constitution says you have to do something, do it! If it says you may not do something, it means just that.
a) New ideas – own job. Jobs should in the first instance be performed as laid down in any existing “instruction manuals”, as instructed by “trainer”, and/or according to precedent. These “instruction manuals” were supposed to have been passed on to new Committee members, but seem to have fallen by the wayside a few years back. The
Chairman is rewriting them and will circulate drafts for discussion in due course. New ideas relating to one’s own job should be discussed with the Committee, or at least the Chair, not simply implemented. If it costs money the Treasurer must approve. Discussion offers a chance for others to point out problems not spotted and see if it allowed by the Constitution.
b) New ideas – someone else’s job. Discuss with the relevant person FIRST, as a matter of simple courtesy. They are the person most likely to spot problems as they know the job. If they think it’s a good idea, cost it out (if necessary) and discuss with the Treasurer. If affordable, consult the rest of Committee or Chair as in 3a above.
The wrong way to behave, which has been too prevalent, is to send an email to all the Committee putting forward an idea, without consulting the incumbent first, which invariably puts up the back of the person whose job is affected. Finally, just because someone rejects your idea, do not assume they are just blocking change. They may have a very good reason for doing so. If you cannot reach agreement and decide that your idea has real merit, refer it to the Chairman in the first instance. The Chairman will either make a decision or refer it to the Committee as necessary. Make sure you are doing your own job to perfection before organising other people’s!
c) Netiquette. The BCA website is the public face of the BCA and the Committee represent the BCA, so please remember that when posting. Even if members are being downright rude about you or the BCA, do not reply in like mode. Posts from committee members must always be polite, contain no personal comments and be factual. Defend the BCA by all means, but do it in a manner which is not designed to cause offence. If in doubt, or if the subject seems highly controversial, please refer to the Chairman before taking action. It might be easier for the Chairman to deal with problems of this sort.
When sending emails to other Committee members, please make sure the subject matches the content. It is very difficult to find relevant information from an Inbox full of emails with subject lines “BCA” and “Re:BCA”! If you start a new topic, make sure it goes in the subject box. Please put “BCA” as the first part of the subject header so that it is easily recognisable as being BCA business. Please reply to any BCA generated emails (Whether from Committee, BCA Member or General Public) in a timely fashion. People expect all correspondence to be answered promptly and often consider it rude if this is not the case.
4) Problems with a fellow committee member. If anyone has a problem with a fellow committee member they should discuss it with that person (politely!) and try to resolve it privately. It may well be there are facts of which they are unaware. If this fails they should approach the Chair for resolution. NOT send a round-robin email complaining about the “offender” to all Committee and never, ever outside the Committee (e.g. on the BCA forum).
5) Problems doing job. ASK FOR HELP. There is no shame in that and it is infinitely better than making a mess or not completing tasks by trying to soldier on. If you need someone to stand in for you temporarily, please say so.
6) Commitment. Being on the Committee involves an element of commitment to prioritise BCA work where necessary so things get done on time. That includes the commitment to attend BCA events if possible and support regular publications, especially the BCA Journal. If there is a problem with doing something on time, again, ask for help so someone else can do the job for you.
7) Communication. In addition to all communication referred to above, please do talk to other Committee, and get to know them. Let everyone (or the Chair) know that timesensitive tasks have been successfully completed. Do remember to tell the Committee or at least the Chairman of any periods when you will be out of contact (e.g. family holidays). Such information will be regarded as strictly confidential.