Here's a sample of a code of practice for a business.
Feel free to adapt and use it for your own organisation.
Ensure that you check it with your legal department or legal adviser before establishing and issuing a code of practice, as this type of document will almost certainly have contractual implications for your organisation.
Involving customers in the drafting of a code of practice is also useful.
A code of practice is not the same as your terms and conditions of sale, which are purely to cover the legal aspects of the sales transaction.
A code of practice should reflect as far as possible the way that you do business, and also cover any issues of potential misunderstanding concerned with your trading style, and even your business philosophy.
Your code of practice should state your organisation's position on the issues that your customers might consider to be important criteria in the approval of suppliers, so the example below is not an exhaustive or definitive list.
A code of practice is a good way to state clearly your organisation's position on important subjects like equality, ethics, contracts, conflict of interest and duty of care.
Often, these matters get overlooked in the process of buying and selling, only to surface later and cause problems because they've not initially been properly explained or understood. Being able to provide a solid and fair code of practice is therefore important in order to establish a clear common understanding of expectations and deliverables between supplier and customer. So if you don't have one, produce one, get it approved, and start using it.
See also Corporate Governance, which is strongly relevant to this subject.
We are committed to maintaining the highest degree of integrity in all our dealings with potential, current and past clients, both in terms of normal commercial confidentiality, and the protection of all personal information received in the course of providing the business services concerned. We extend the same standards to all our customers, suppliers and associates.
We always conduct our own services honestly and honourably, and expect our clients and suppliers to do the same. Our advice, strategic assistance and the methods imparted through our training, take proper account of ethical considerations, together with the protection and enhancement of the moral position of our clients and suppliers.
Duty of Care
Our actions and advice will always conform to relevant law, and we believe that all businesses and organisations, including this consultancy, should avoid causing any adverse effect on the human rights of people in the organisations we deal with, the local and wider environments, and the well-being of society at large.
Conflict of Interest
Due to the sensitive nature of our particular consultancy services, we will not provide a service to a direct competitor of a client, and we generally try to avoid any dealings with competitor companies even after the cessation of services to a client.
Our contract will usually be in the form of a detailed proposal, including aims, activities, costs, timescales and deliverables. The quality of our service and the value of our support provide the only true basis for continuity. We always try to meet our clients' contractual requirements, and particularly for situations where an external funding provider requires more official parameters and controls.
Our fees are always competitive for what we provide, which is high quality, tailored, specialised service.
As such, we do not generally offer arbitrary discounts; generally a reduction in price is only enabled by reducing the level or extent of services to be delivered. That said, we always try to propose solutions which accommodate our clients' available budgets and timescales. Wherever possible we agree our fees and basis of charges clearly in advance, so that we and our clients can plan reliably for what lies ahead, and how it is to be achieved and financially justified.
We aim to be as flexible as possible in the way that our services our charged. Some clients prefer fixed project fees; others are happier with retainers, and we try to fit in with what will be best for the client. We make no attempt to charge interest on late payments, so we expect payments to be made when agreed. Our terms are generally net monthly in arrears.
Intellectual Property and Moral Rights
We retain the moral rights in, and ownership of, all intellectual property that we create unless agreed otherwise in advance with our clients. In return we respect the moral and intellectual copyright vested in our clients' intellectual property.
We maintain the quality of what we do through constant ongoing review with our clients, of all aims, activities, outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of every activity. We encourage regular review meetings and provide regular progress reports. This consultancy has been accredited under a number of quality assurance schemes. Further details are available on request.
We conduct all of our activities professionally and with integrity. We take great care to be completely objective in our judgement and any recommendations that we give, so that issues are never influenced by anything other than the best and proper interests of our clients.
Equality and Discrimination
We always strive to be fair and objective in our advice and actions, and we are never influenced in our decisions, actions or recommendations by issues of gender, race, creed, colour, age or personal disability.
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