Code of Conduct

1. Introduction
Our employees’ conduct contributes significantly to the reputation of UCM Education.  For this reason, we require you to be pleasant, polite and considerate to other employees and outside contacts. Furthermore, UCM’s approach to bullying and harassment is one of zero tolerance. Any instance of bullying or harassment or other inappropriate behaviour at work that is likely to cause offence or breach the dignity and respect of colleagues will be regarded as serious misconduct.  Employees responsible for such behaviour will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal, depending on the nature and seriousness the behaviour.

2. Appearance

Employees are required to be neat and tidy in appearance at all times whilst at work.  They are also expected to wear appropriate business dress which is fit for purpose while at work and outside working hours when representing UCM Education or attending functions for or on behalf of UCM.

The requirements of employees of particular ethnic backgrounds or faiths to wear specific items of clothing, hairstyles or jewellery will be accommodated if possible and practicable, so long as the item the person wishes to wear does not pose a hazard to the health or safety of any person or contravene any legitimate or reasonable requirement of UCM Education.

While staff have discretion to decide what appropriate dress is, UCM Education retains responsibility for the interpretation and application of this.  If there are any doubts, then individuals should speak to their line manager or the Director.

Employees who do not comply with these standards may be subject to UCM Education’s normal disciplinary procedure.  In serious cases, where an employee’s appearance is deemed by the company to be unacceptable, he or she will be required to return home to change.  In these circumstances, the time required for the employee to return home, change and return to work will not be paid.

3. Conduct in Relation to Safeguarding

UCM Education recognises its responsibilities in relation to safeguarding children and adults who are at risk.  All staff are therefore required to adhere to all UCM policies and procedures, but particularly those in relation to Safeguarding and Safer Recruitment.

Where there is doubt, all employees should refer to the Safer Recruitment Consortium publication: Guidance for safer working practice for those working with children and young people in education settings (2019) and the 2020 Addendum.

4. Smoking at Work

Under the Health Act 2006 (and regulations made under that Act), it’s illegal to expose a person in an enclosed or a substantially enclosed workplace or an enclosed company vehicle to second-hand smoke.  Smoking is prohibited in any part of UCM Education’s workplace, including toilets, showers, stairways, elevators, corridors, kitchen, reception area, entrances or any other communal area.

All job advertisements placed by UCM Education for positions within the company must refer to the no-smoking policy, and all job applicants must be informed about the no-smoking policy during a job interview.

Employees who meet visitors on UCM Education’s premises are required to explain this to ensure that such visitors comply.

In accordance with UCM Education’s disciplinary procedure, disciplinary action will be taken against an employee who smokes in the workplace at any time.

A reasonable number of breaks may be taken during working hours for the purposes of smoking, but these must be taken at a time or times that are convenient in relation to the individual’s work and with the approval of the manager, or must be taken as part of your designated rest breaks. All employees must ensure that the length or frequency of their smoking breaks does not have an adverse effect on their performance or the business. Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee whose performance is not satisfactory, including when this is due to the length and/or frequency of their smoking breaks.

Smokers who want to stop smoking may call the NHS smoking helpline on 0800 0224 332 or visit www.smokefree.nhs.uk.

5. Work-Related Functions and Events

During your employment with UCM Education you may be invited to work-related functions and events from time to time.  Such events may be formally organised by the company or informally arranged by the employees themselves.  Attendance at such events is encouraged. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that while attendance at such events is enjoyable and fun for everyone, minimum standards of good behaviour must be adhered to and UCM Education must comply with all its legal obligations and responsibilities.

  • Work-related functions and events arranged by UCM Education are an extension of the workplace.  The company recognises that alcohol may be consumed at such events but nevertheless expects employees to act responsibly.
  • Where the company provides alcohol at events, this should not be taken as an endorsement by the company for employees to drink excessively nor for any resulting improper conduct.  The company will not be held responsible for bad behaviour on the part of employees.
  • Alcohol may only be consumed on the company’s premises with the express permission of the Director.
  • Employees who fight, argue aggressively, indulge in lewd or indecent behaviour, harass other employees, or in any way bring the company into disrepute, will be subject to the company’s disciplinary procedure up to and including dismissal.
  • Employees must not put the health, welfare and safety of other employees at risk by their behaviour while under the influence of alcohol at a work-related event.  Employees whose behaviour causes, or could cause, injury to others will be subject to the company’s disciplinary procedure up to and including dismissal.
  • It’s illegal for employees under the age of 18 to consume alcohol.  Any employees under the legal age found drinking alcohol will be subject to disciplinary action, as will any employee who buys alcoholic drinks for underage employees.
  • Employees who take illegal drugs or substances, or who are found selling or distributing illegal drugs or substances at formal company functions and events, will be subject to the company’s disciplinary procedure up to and including dismissal.
  • Employees who organise informal events after work, particularly in venues close to the workplace, should recognise that such events may be classed as work-related functions by the courts.  It is therefore imperative that employees conduct themselves in a proper manner and avoid bringing the company into disrepute.
  • Complaints about employees’ conduct brought to the company’s attention either by other employees or by the owners or managers of public houses and bars frequented by employees will be fully investigated and may result in disciplinary action.
  • Employees should be as inclusive as possible in extending invitations to colleagues. Excluding colleagues on grounds of age, sex, race, disability, religion or belief, or sexual orientation may be deemed to be discrimination. Complaints by employees about exclusion from after-work events will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action.
  • Promises made by managers or directors to staff while under the influence of alcohol will not have any contractual status.  Managers who conduct themselves in such a manner will be subject to the company’s disciplinary procedure up to and including dismissal.
  • Employees who are above the legal limit for drinking and driving should not attempt to drive their own vehicles or give lifts to colleagues while under the influence of drink, or illegal drugs or substances.
  • Employees are expected to turn up at the workplace in a fit state to perform their contractual duties on the day after any work-related evening event if it is a normal work day.  Absences will be investigated and may result in disciplinary action.

6. Confidential information

Except as required to perform your normal duties, you employees must observe absolute confidentiality concerning the affairs of UCM Education, including all aspects of UCM Education’s business. Information must be kept confidential even if it is favourable, and not adverse, to the company or individual concerned.

The duty to observe confidentiality is ongoing and does not cease after employment with UCM Education has ceased.

Employees’ obligations regarding confidentiality are clearly set out in UCM’s contract of employment or contract for services.

7. Personal Mail

Personal mail should not be sent to UCM Education’s address.  The company will not be responsible for its safe delivery, and it may be opened.  Employees may not use UCM’s stationery or postage for personal correspondence but may send personal mail from the office provided that postage is paid by affixing a stamp.

8. Personal and Company Property

Employees are responsible for ensuring that any of UCM Education’s property in their possession is properly safeguarded and kept secure at all times.  Any loss should be reported immediately.

UCM Education does not accept responsibility for loss of or damage to private property (including cash).  Employees should ensure that personal property, especially handbags, are not left unattended and are locked away when necessary.  Any missing article should be reported immediately.

On leaving the employment of UCM Education, employees must return all equipment and other items belonging to the company, including note books used for meetings, diaries and emails, etc.

9. Personal Information and Notification

UCM Education needs to keep accurate records of key information for all employees.  It is essential that changes such as home address, telephone number and emergency contact details are recorded.  Any changes should be reported to the Director.

In order to comply with statutory duties, UCM Education needs to know of any changes to employees’ personal circumstances which affect or could affect their employment.  Staff must therefore inform the Director of changes in their health so that, if applicable, the company can comply with statutory obligations to make reasonable adjustments to enable the individual to continue working.  Notification must also be given if a member of staff is disqualified from driving or involved in any other criminal or civil case (including County Court judgments).  Any such information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

10. References

Individuals must not give employment references, whether in UCM Education’s name or otherwise, for existing or ex-employees of UCM Education.  All requests for employment or financial references should be referred to the Director.

11. Building Security

Individuals must ensure before leaving UCM Education offices that there is another member of staff able to secure the office after their departure.  The last employee to leave the workplace at any time must ensure that the office is securely locked.  Any member of staff who has been issued with keys is responsible for their safe-keeping and security.

12. Visitors

UCM Education has a responsibility under the Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) to ensure that people who are not employees of the company are not exposed to risks to their health and safety while working for UCM Education or visiting company premises.

Visitors should therefore be accompanied at all times by a member of staff whilst in UCM Education offices.  The host employee is immediately responsible for ensuring that security and safety are maintained.

13. Fire

The Fire Officer for UCM Education’s premises is Victoria Rose.

It is the responsibility of all employees to make themselves aware of their nearest fire alarm, extinguisher and fire exit.

Anyone who discovers a fire should activate the nearest alarm and leave the building immediately. Alarm points are clearly marked within the office.  Attempts to extinguish the fire should only be made if it is safe to do so.  The locations of the fire extinguishers are clearly marked within the office.

If you hear an alarm:

  • Leave the premises immediately by the nearest exit.
  • Close all doors behind you.
  • Assemble at the designated fire assembly point which is at Red place – 1 Red Place W1K 6PL.
  • Do not run, shout, use lifts or stop to collect personal belongings.
  • Do not re-enter the building until instructed by the designated Fire Officer that it is safe to do so.

It is the responsibility of each individual to familiarise themselves with the nearest escape route.

14. Bomb Alerts

It is not possible to be prescriptive about what to do in the event of a bomb warning, but the following general rules should be observed:

  • Do exactly what you are told by the emergency services, either directly or via your manager or a director.
  • Do whatever is necessary and sensible to reduce the risk of injury, i.e. if there is a known bomb threat and you have not been told to evacuate the building, retire to the safest area within your building. This will normally be a building core area, away from the risk of broken/flying glass.
  • If you are in the building out of normal working hours an an incident takes place, either directly affecting the building or in the close vicinity, the most senior person present must take responsibility for notifying UCM Education management of the situation.
  • If you are in the vicinity of an incident away from the office and your whereabouts or safety may be uncertain, please telephone the office if possible.
  • The safety of staff and visitors is always paramount. Never jeopardise personal safety in the interest of safeguarding property or information.

If the building is seriously damaged as a result of a major incident which occurs outside normal office hours or at another time when staff are not present in the building, no one should return to the building until notified to do so by the Director.

If a major incident, such as a terrorist incident, has affected the building, you should contact the Director for further information.

15. Offsite Safety

UCM Education considers the safety of employees on visits to external organisations as paramount and will take all reasonable steps to minimise genuine risks.  For the vast majority of visits, safety is not an issue, but the purpose of this policy is to provide a list of sensible precautions that individuals should take if they are undertaking a visit where safety is, or may be, an issue.

15.1 Use of Taxis and Hire Cars

Taxis and hire cars should only be used by staff on UCM Education’s business where it is cost effective or necessary to do so.  However, it is acceptable for this policy to be over-ruled where safety is an issue.  Where possible, this should be approved in advance with the Director.

15.2 Mobile Phones

It is advisable for all employees who are visiting an external organisation for or on behalf of UCM Education to ensure they have a fully-charged mobile phone.

15.3 Research the Area That You are Visiting

Staff should ensure that they research visits beforehand.   Maps and directions can be obtained from the organisation you are visiting, or the internet.

15.4 Ensure Someone Knows Where You Are

Anyone visiting an external organisation for or on behalf of UCM Education should make sure they have told their line manager the name and location of the company they are visiting, the name of the contact within the company and what time they are due to return to the office.

15.5 In Case of Incident

If you think you are in danger you should try to minimise the chance of confrontation.  Advice on how to do this is available from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust here.  However, below is some basic advice:

  • Stay calm, speak gently, slowly and clearly and be aware of the tone of your voice.
  • Appear calm and confident, keep a relaxed posture and avoid an aggressive stance.
  • Do not be enticed into an argument and listen to the individual.
  • Keep your distance.

        If you think you are in danger – leave.

Any physical assault, no matter how minor, should be reported to the police in the area concerned.