Safeguarding Guidelines: Code of Conduct  

Scope

Comic Relief has a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and exploitation of any kind – physical, verbal, emotional or sexual. By setting out our values and expectations, this Code of Conduct aims to:

  • Ensure a safe working environment for all those engaged in Comic Relief’s work
  • Ensure the safety and well-being of the children and communities we come into contact with

This Code of Conduct applies to all Comic Relief employees, volunteers, consultants, contractors and trustees. Compliance with this Code of Conduct will be included in all contracts and a copy of the Code of Conduct must be read and signed by anyone joining the organisation. 

Grantee organisations will be expected to have their own Code of Conduct which reflects the specific context in which they are working. All visitors to Comic Relief projects must comply with the Comic Relief Code of Conduct and any additional measures required by the project team.

Safeguarding Values 

  • Protect: we take a zero-tolerance approach to harm, abuse or exploitation of any kind. All of our decisions and actions prioritise the safety and well-being of those connected with our work.
  • Prevent: we aim to prevent harm through professional, responsible conduct. We take a robust approach to dealing with any breaches. 
  • Personify: we assume individual and organisational responsibility for safeguarding and provide staff with training and guidance to fulfil their obligations. 
  • Partner: we maintain best practice through open, transparent dialogue with others, including the communities we serve. By listening to others, we ensure our conduct is appropriate to each context and the unique needs of those we are working with.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct

  • Compliance with Comic Relief’s Code of Conduct is mandatory under all circumstances.
  • All employees, volunteers, consultants, contractors and trustees have an individual responsibility to promote a safe working environment and to ensure the safety and well-being of the children and communities we come into contact with
  • Managers, Directors and Trustees have a responsibility to model appropriate behaviour and ensure that all staff understand and comply with this Code of Conduct. 
  • All concerns must be reported to the relevant line manager, the Safeguarding Team or via Comic Relief’s reporting concerns e-mail.
  • All concerns will be taken seriously and will be investigated in a timely and robust manner
  • Breaches of the Code of Conduct may result in disciplinary action, termination of contracts and, where appropriate, referral to other agencies such as the police

Contributing to a safe working environment

  • I recognise that both my personal and professional conduct has the potential to damage the reputation of Comic Relief and will uphold Comic Relief’s values throughout 
  • I will treat all colleagues with dignity and respect
  • I will not engage in or condone any form of harassment, intimidation, abuse or exploitation 
  • I will not engage in or condone any behaviour that is illegal or could in any way bring the organisation into disrepute 
  • Wherever possible, I will challenge inappropriate conduct directly. In addition, I will report all concerns to either my line manager, the Safeguarding Team or via Comic Relief’s reporting concerns e-mail
  • I understand that making intentionally false or misleading allegations against a colleague is a serious matter and could result to disciplinary action

Project Visits 

  • I will only visit or have contact with Comic Relief projects with the express approval and knowledge of Comic Relief
  • I will not engage in any forms of abusive, degrading or exploitative behaviour 
  • I will ensure that I am aware of and follow Comic Relief’s safeguarding procedures at all times
  • I will ensure that I am aware of any additional safeguarding measures required by the project and will follow any instructions or guidance provided by project staff 
  • I will ensure that I am accompanied by a member of project staff at all times when interacting with beneficiaries
  • I will not give gifts of any kind to individual project staff or directly to beneficiaries. Gifts may be given to projects but these must be approved and documented by Comic Relief 
  • I will not exchange money, offers of employment, goods or services for sex with community members, beneficiaries or children that I meet on visits
  • I will not engage in sexual relationships with adults participating in Comic Relief funded programmes as the inherent power imbalance is open to exploitation and abuse
  • I will only take photos and/or video where consent has been obtained and with the prior approval of project staff
  • I will not take photos or videos on personal devices unless I have explicit, written approval from Comic Relief. Any photos/videos taken on personal devices must be shared with Comic Relief and deleted from my personal device as soon as possible.
  • I understand that it is strictly prohibited to possess, use or be under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst on project visits

Safeguarding Children

  • I will behave appropriately in children’s presence and refrain from comments that may cause discomfort or which could be deemed sexually provocative  
  • I will listen to what the children are saying and respond appropriately.     
  • I will avoid spending time alone with individual children and I will ensure that I am accompanied by a member of project staff at all times
  • I will not initiate physical contact with a child as this could be misinterpreted and cause fear or discomfort
  • I will never hit or otherwise physically assault or physically abuse children
  • I will not develop relationships with children that could in any way be deemed exploitative or abusive and will never engage in physical/sexual relationships with children
  • I will not act in ways that shame, humiliate, belittle or degrade children
  • I will not discriminate against, show differential treatment, or favour particular children to the exclusion of others.

Personal Information

  • I will not request or share personal contact details with beneficiaries and I will not connect with beneficiaries by telephone, letter, e-mail or social media. 
  • I will not share photographs or personal information about beneficiaries on my personal social media accounts or other online platforms
  • I will not seek to obtain or access personal information on the communities and children Comic Relief works with unless this is strictly necessary within my role and I have authorisation to do so 
  • I will not disclose or transfer personal information relating to children or communities supported by Comic Relief unless authorised to do so
  • I will follow Comic Relief’s data protection policies and procedures when handling personal information 
  • I will not use the organisation’s computer or other equipment to view, download, create or distribute inappropriate material (such as pornography) or material which is criminal in nature e.g. child sex abuse images

Overseas Travel

  • I will read and comply with Comic Relief security guidelines and risk mitigations strategies set out in the risk assessment completed prior to departure 
  • I will avoid unnecessary risk to the safety, health and welfare of myself and others, including partner organisations and the communities I meet
  • I will observe local laws and if I become aware of any illegal activity, I will make it known to the appropriate authorities
  • I will be sensitive to local customs and seek to learn from and respect the experience and knowledge of the local professionals and communities that I meet
  • I will ensure that I am travelling in a socially responsible manner and demonstrate a commitment to the environment and sustainable development