This behaviour code outlines the conduct Woodcraft Folk expects from all its volunteers and staff. This includes trustees, sessional staff, students on work placement and anyone who is undertaking duties for the organisation, whether paid or unpaid. Adhering to the code will:
- help protect children and young people from abuse
- avoid misunderstandings between volunteers
- support effective dispute resolution
- reduce the risk of unfounded allegations being made
Group, district and activity co-ordinators, are responsible for making sure volunteers have read and agreed to follow the Code of Behaviour before supporting Woodcraft Folk activities, and are aware of behaviour expectations, and that they understand the consequences of inappropriate behaviour.
The role of volunteers and staff
In your role at Woodcraft Folk, adults, whether staff or volunteers, are acting in a position of trust and have a duty of care towards the children and young people we work with. You are a role model to young people and are expected to act appropriately.
You are responsible for:
- Prioritising the welfare of children and young people. You should at all times take responsibility for the care, welfare and safety needs of all children and young people in your care. Every adult has this responsibility for all children at all times.
- Including and engaging all children and young people. You must be aware of the vulnerability of some groups of children to being isolated and hurt.
- Providing a safe environment for children and young people, e.g. ensuring equipment is used safely and for its intended purpose
- Responding sensitively to children who seem anxious about participating in certain activities.
- Following Woodcraft Folk principles, policies and procedures, including our policies and procedures for child protection/safeguarding, whistleblowing and online safety
- Staying within the law at all times
- Modelling good behaviour for children and young people to follow
- Listening attentively to any ideas and views a child wants to share with you. You must never dismiss what a child tells you as lies or exaggeration
- Being aware of safeguarding and child protection issues, and taking action when appropriate. If you know, believe or suspect a child to be at risk of harm, injury or abuse you should share this with your Local Safeguarding Lead immediately.
- Challenging unacceptable behaviour, and reporting behaviour that appears abusive or is otherwise concerning to the Local Safeguarding Lead. This includes behaviour being displayed by an adult or child and directed at anybody of any age
You should champion the rights of children and young people and:
- Treat them fairly and without prejudice or discrimination, recognising that all participants bring something valuable and different to the group/organisation
- Understand that they are individuals with individual needs
- Respect differences in gender, sexual orientation, culture, race, ethnicity, disability, faith and religious belief
- Challenge discrimination and prejudice
- Encourage young people and adults to speak out about attitudes or behaviour that makes them uncomfortable
You should promote relationships that are based on openness, honesty, trust and respect, and:
- Avoid favouritism
- Be patient with others
- Exercise caution when you are discussing sensitive issues with children or young people
- Ensure your contact with children and young people is appropriate and relevant to the work of the group or project you are involved in
- Ensure that there at least two adults are present during activities with children and young people
- If a situation arises where you are alone with a child or young person, ensure that you are within sight or hearing of other adults.
- If a child specifically asks for or needs some individual time with you, ensure other staff or volunteers know where you and the child are.
- Only provide personal care in an emergency or by prior agreement
You should listen to and respect children and young people, and:
- Take their contributions seriously, actively involving them in planning activities wherever possible
- Respect their right to be involved in making choices and decisions which directly affect them.
- Respect their personal privacy as far as possible – if you need to share something they have told you to protect a child or young person, explain this at the earliest opportunity
When working with children and young people, you must not:
- Allow concerns or allegations to go unreported
- Take unnecessary risks
- Smoke, consume alcohol or use illegal substances in contravention of Woodcraft Folk’s Drug, Alcohol, Tobacco & Intoxicating Substances Policy
- Develop inappropriate relationships with children and young people
- Make inappropriate promises to children and young people
- Engage in behaviour that is in any way abusive, including having any form of sexual contact with a child or young person.
- Make contact with young members of Woodcraft Folk outside of the group, including by phone, email or via social media, other than in accordance with Woodcraft Folk’s Online Communication Guidance
- Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening, intimidating, bullying or intrusive
- Patronise or belittle children and young people
- Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of children and young people
- Trivialise another member’s concerns about a child
- Ignore an allegation or suspicion of abuse in the hope that it will go away or in the expectation that someone else will deal with it
Working with Other Volunteers and Staff
Woodcraft Folk promotes co-operative value and ways of working, and benefits from the input of a diverse range of volunteers. Our work is best when responsibilities are shared equitably – no one person can do everything on their own, and everyone’s input should be encouraged, supported and valued. In order to work effectively together, adults should:
- Respect each other’s workloads and personal circumstances, allowing appropriate time to respond and respecting their need for time off
- Carry out agreed roles or tasks, and communicate clearly if they are unable to complete something they have agreed to do or if deadlines can’t be met
- Respect confidentiality, sharing information on a need-to-know basis only
- Avoid engaging in gossip or moaning, and raise concerns or issues through the proper channels
- Respect and accept differences of opinion, and abide by democratic decisions
- Use financial resources responsibly
- Declare conflicts of interest where they might exist
- Participate in training relevant to their role
- Consider the tone and content of both oral and written communication
- Seek to resolve conflicts, via discussion or mediation, rather than ignoring them
Upholding this code of behaviour
You should always follow this code of behaviour and never rely on your reputation or that of our organisation to protect you.
Inappropriate behaviour will be addressed via Woodcraft Folk’s disciplinary procedures. Depending on the circumstances, you may be asked to undertake additional training, withdraw from a particular role, be asked to leave Woodcraft Folk, or have your right to work with children and young people within the movement removed. In serious cases we may also make a report to statutory agencies such as the police and/or the local authority child protection services.
If you become aware of any breaches of this code, you must report them to your Local Safeguarding Lead. If necessary you should refer to our whistleblowing, safeguarding and child protection procedures for guidance.