2. Code of conduct

Welcome to the Blue Card Services Learning Portal. All organisations falling within the scope of the blue card system are required to
develop and implement child and youth risk management
strategies which address eight minimum requirements. This video will guide you through the
second of the minimum requirements which is the requirement to have a code
of conduct for interacting with children. So, what is a code of conduct? Well, a code of conduct outlines expected
standards of behaviour for all people interacting with children
and young people within your organisation. Most organisations already have a standard code of conduct for employees. The code of conduct for your child and youth risk management strategy must specifically address interactions
with children and young people. A strong code of conduct will provide
clear guidelines for everyone involved in your organisation
about what is expected of them and the consequences if they fail to
meet the expectations. Your organisation’s code of conduct should apply to all people involved in
your organisation such as employees, volunteers, consultants and contractors, board or
committee members, children and young people, parents, visitors, spectators and students on placement. It may be appropriate for your organisation
to have separate codes of conduct for each group of
people. Everybody involved with your
organisation, especially children and young people,
should be involved in the development of a code of conduct. So, what sort of things should your
organisation include in your code of conduct? Every organisation is different, so you
should have a look at what your organisation does and the potential risks to children
and tailor your code of conduct to ensure that those areas are covered. There are a number of topics which may
be relevant to your organisation which may include but are not limited to:
language supervision of children, physical
contact, relationships, or one-on-one contact
with a child, behaviour management, use of change rooms, toileting
procedures, bullying and harassment, managing illnesses or injuries, managing visitors, photography, technology and social media, smoking, alcohol and use of medications
and drugs, and transportation of children and young people. Let’s look at a few more closely. We’ll start with language. People should be clear about the
expected standards of language and the types of language which are not
permitted to be used and which encouraged in your
organisation. For example, using encouraging, positive words,
pleasant tone of voice and honest and open communication would be
considered appropriate and should be promoted. Insults, criticism, name-calling, bullying, swearing, yelling, racist and or sexually
suggestive comments or jokes would be considered inappropriate. Another topic which may be relevant to your
organisation is supervision of children. Your code of conduct should create clear
guidelines to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times. This
may include considering outlining appropriate ratios of staff to
children; setting clear expectations as to when
children may be left with your organisation or when parental supervision is
required; and specifying the arrangements for drop-offs and pick-ups. Physical contact is another matter your
organisation should address in your code of conduct. You should
clearly define when physical contact with a child may
be acceptable within your service environment. For example appropriate physical contact
may include: assisting with an injury or illness or protecting a child from harm, for example, to avoid an accident;
assisting with toileting of young children; and demonstrating a skill or providing an
instruction as part of an activity. Inappropriate physical contact would be violent or aggressive behaviour
such as hitting, kicking, slapping or pushing, or kissing or
touching of a sexual nature. Where practical an explanation should
be provided to a child about what physical contact will occur and
why it will occur. Additionally depending on the service
being provided it may be necessary to seek permission
from the child and/or parents in relation to the physical contact and this
should be clearly documented. You may also wish to address
relationships or one-on-one contact with a child
in your code of conduct. You should have clear policies relating
to when and if it is appropriate for a person to
be alone with the child and the strategies that can be put in
place to minimise risks. For example, where possible ensuring that
the child and person are visible to others. You should also
have guidelines in relation to what is considered an appropriate relationship
with a child and what is considered inappropriate. For
example, developing an appropriate relationship
involves setting clear boundaries, prohibiting staff from
engaging in inappropriate contact with a child outside of the service environment and
ensuring that children are not shown favouritism. Remember, these topics we have discussed are not exhaustive and you should review
the particular services and activities your organisation provides and draft your policies accordingly. When drafting your strategies you should
use direct, assertive and easily understood language as this will help minimise confusion
about what is expected. For example use “will” and “will not” or “must” or “must not” rather than “should” or “should not”. Steer clear of words which can be
subjective or subject to interpretation. For example if you use “appropriate”
provide specific examples as what is appropriate for one person
may not be considered appropriate for another. To further assist you in developing and
implementing effective child and youth risk management
strategies a toolkit which is available on the “Risk
Management” page of the Blue Card Services website has been
developed to provide information and guidance on the eight minimum
requirements. Remember safe service environments don’t just happen. They require ongoing
planning, commitment and maintenance. Thank you for taking
the time to learn about this requirement of child and youth risk management strategies. We hope you
found this video useful and we encourage you to watch the
remaining videos on offer from the Blue Card Services Learning Portal.

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