Ethical Guidelines

This document presents T&E ethical guidelines, a set of principles governing all T&E activities and persons representing the organisation, including its employees, consultants and Board Members (i.e. collaborators of T&E).

It contains three separate sections: the Code of Conduct, the Business Ethics and a Whistleblower Protection Policy. Its shall be of knowledge to all T&E community (i.e. including both Staff and Members) and taken into account in the T&E Labour Regulations. The contents of this document are approved by the Board and revised every 5 years.

The Ethical Guidelines outlines the expectations that we have of ourselves as collaborators of T&E. It articulates the behaviours that are mandatory in our professional community. As a T&E collaborator, you are expected to accept certain responsibilities, to adhere to acceptable business principles in matters of personal conduct, and to exhibit a high degree of personal integrity at all times, and to conduct yourself in a lawful manner, consistent with the highest ethical standards.

The Ethical Guidelines applies to all T&E Staff and Board members, including individuals engaged in internships with T&E and individuals engaged in short-term contracts with T&E. High ethical standards are critical to maintaining public trust in the work of NGO’s. Violations may result in disciplinary action.  

Code of Conduct

Mutual Respect between you and T&E

Respect for T&E means not only avoiding misuse of organisation funds and property, it also includes creating and maintaining accurate books and records, safeguarding all types of information about T&E, complying with internal controls, and procedures, and refraining from conduct that interferes with the organisation’s proper functioning. This not only involves respect for the rights of others, but also demands that you refrain from any behaviour that might be harmful to you, your co-workers, or T&E.

Your conduct directly reflects on T&E; consequently, you are encouraged to observe the highest standards of professionalism at all times. The responsibility you undertake as an employee of T&E is your duty to take ownership for the decisions you make or fail to make, the actions you take or fail to take, and the consequences of that result.

As practitioners in the NGO community, we make decisions and take actions based on the best interests of society, public safety, and the environment.

  • We accept only those assignments that are consistent with our background, experience, skills, and qualifications.
  • We fulfil the commitments that we undertake – we do what we say we will do.
  • When we make errors or omissions, we take ownership and make corrections.
  • When we discover errors or omissions caused by others we communicate them to the appropriate body as soon as they are discovered.
  • We accept accountability for any issue resulting from our errors or omissions and any resulting consequences.
  • We protect confidential information that has been entrusted to us.

Inappropriate Behaviour

Any action that can be qualified as criminal offence by law, including, but not limited to theft of property, falsifying documents, illegal manufacture, possession, use, sale, distribution or transportation of drugs shall be considered inappropriate.

In addition, types of behaviour and conduct considered inappropriate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Violating T&E’s non-discrimination and/or harassment policies.
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
  • Working while under the influence of illicit drugs.
  • •Irrespective and aggressive behaviour toward others, like fighting or using obscene, abusive, or threatening language or gestures.
  • Unauthorized possession of firearms on T&E premises.
  • Disregarding safety and/or security regulations.
  • Insubordination.
  • Failing to maintain the confidentiality policies of T&E.
  • Conduct giving rise to a conflict of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The above listing is not all-inclusive and under T&E’s policy of at-will employment, employment may be ended at any time for any lawful reason.

Discrimination

We do not discriminate against others based on, but not limited to, gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality, or sexual orientation. We apply the rules of the organisation without favouritism or prejudice.

Financial Management

T&E has financial management policies and processes in place to ensure the smooth running of the organisation. These are found in financial manuals available upon request.

Business Ethics

T&E acts with integrity, competence, diligence, respect and in an ethical manner with the public, project partners, coalition partners, media partners, suppliers, colleagues in other NGOs and other participants in our field.

General Issues

T&E does not engage in any professional conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, or deceit, or commit any act that reflects adversely on our professional reputation, integrity, or competence.

T&E collaborators shall refrain from accepting gifts with an estimated value over € 100 in situations related to their professional activities.

Financial Reporting

It is important that T&E’s financial and compliance reports be prepared in accordance with a comprehensive basis of accounting. Employees are expected to promptly and fully provide any financial information requested by management, outside auditors, or the Board.

Contracts

All contracts must be in writing and approved in advance and signed by the T&E Executive Director. All contracts shall be awarded in a transparent manner and comply with T&E’s Tendering policy.

In all cases, contracts should include term, clear descriptions of deliverables, due dates, and the amount to be paid. All original contracts must remain on file at the T&E offices in Brussels.

Protection of Information

Data, information and documents pertaining to T&E are to be used in performance of one’s duties and may be disclosed or communicated to persons outside of the organization only to the extent that such information is needed by outsiders in connection with their business relations with T&E. This applies both during one’s employment or other relationship with T&E and after employment or other relationship terminate.

Ethics Complaints

T&E brings ethical violations to the appropriate point for resolution, whether that is internal or external resolution.

Whistleblower Protection Policy

Reporting responsibility

This Whistleblower Policy is intended to encourage and enable employees and others to raise serious concerns internally so that T&E can address and correct inappropriate conduct and actions. It is the responsibility of all board members, officers, employees and volunteers to report concerns about violations of T&E’s code of ethics or suspected violations of law or regulations that govern T&E’s operations.

No retaliation

It is contrary to the values of T&E for anyone to retaliate against any board member, officer, employee or volunteer who in good faith reports an ethics violation, or a suspected violation of law, such as a complaint of discrimination, or suspected fraud, or suspected corruption or any other financial irregularity, or suspected violation of any regulation governing the operations of T&E. An employee who retaliates against someone who has reported a violation in good faith is subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.

Reporting procedure

T&E has an open door policy and suggests that employees share their questions, concerns, suggestions or complaints with their supervisor. If you are not comfortable speaking with your supervisor or you are not satisfied with your supervisor’s response, you are encouraged to speak with The Executive Director, or with the President of the Board. Supervisors and managers are required to report complaints or concerns about suspected ethical and legal violations in writing to the T&E’s Executive Director or to the President of the Board, who has the responsibility to investigate all reported complaints. Employees with concerns or complaints may also submit their concerns in writing directly to their supervisor or the Executive Director or the President of the Board.

The Executive Director is responsible for ensuring that all complaints about unethical or illegal conduct are investigated and resolved. The Executive Director will advise the Board of all complaints and their resolution.

Acting in good faith

Anyone filing a written complaint concerning a violation or suspected violation must be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates a violation. Any allegations that prove not to be substantiated and which prove to have been made maliciously or knowingly to be false will be viewed as a serious disciplinary offense.

Confidentiality

Violations or suspected violations may be submitted on a confidential basis by the complainant. Reports of violations or suspected violations will be kept confidential to the extent possible, consistent with the need to conduct an adequate investigation.

Handling or reported violations

T&E’s Executive Director will notify the person who submitted a complaint and acknowledge receipt of the reported violation or suspected violation. All reports will be promptly investigated and appropriate corrective action will be taken if warranted by the investigation.

Policy approved by the Board on 6th July 2016.