Code of Conduct

Every person who comes into contact with BTO can expect to be treated with respect and consideration.

The Charity Commission places a responsibility on BTO to keep all who come into contact with us safe from harm of any kind. Disrespectful behaviour, bullying, and harassment is distressing for individuals and negatively affects the reputation and perception of BTO and its activities as a place where everyone is welcome.

This code outlines the standards of behaviour expected from our staff, our members, and volunteers, including surveyors and participants in the Ringing and Nest Record Schemes, (hereafter referred to collectively as ‘staff and supporters’), and applies to all BTO activities, whether online (including meetings and events, telephone, letter, and email) or offline (any face to face interaction).

Two overarching standards

We have two overarching standards that we expect all staff and supporters to uphold:

1. Create a welcoming and safe environment

To achieve this, staff and supporters will act with respect and consideration for each other. Disrespectful behaviour has no place in our community and persistent and/or serious instances of that type of behaviour may amount to bullying and will be treated with zero tolerance. 

Bullying may be defined as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

2. Create a BTO community free of all forms of harassment

To achieve this, staff and supporters will treat each other with respect and consideration regardless of protected characteristics, such as age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation and extends to factors such as socio-economic background and ornithological experience.

Harassment may include, but is not limited to:

  • Making inappropriate jokes or comments that are exclusionary or discriminatory based on a protected characteristic.
  • Persistently refusing to use someone’s preferred pronouns.

It is important to remember

  • Bullying and harassment are not determined by the intention of the person who has caused offence, but by the effect it has on the recipient.

As outlined in our EDI statement, BTO has a zero-tolerance policy concerning harassment, bullying, and other unacceptable behaviours. We expect all staff and supporters to adhere to this code, and any more specific steer provided through associated guidance or policies; any failure to do so may result in the implementation of sanctions.

Raising an issue

Raising an issue may mean providing comments or making a complaint. Please use BTO’s Compliments, Comments, and Complaints policy. The process is simple: this policy sets out what we need from you, what you can expect from us, and answers other questions that may arise. 

If you are at a conference, event, or online activity when an issue arises, please speak with/message the organisers of the event so that action can be taken at the time. You can also use BTO’s Compliments, Comments, and Complaints policy processes to follow up on the issue after the event if required. 

BTO response

Where we are aware, or are made aware, of breaches or potential breaches of these standards, we will take steps to investigate and address them (see Compliments, Comments, and Complaints policy).

Steps we take may include:

  • Asking a person(s) found to be in breach of this Code of Conduct to stop any disrespectful or harassing behaviour immediately. 
  • Where the incident is serious or repeated, ask any person(s) found to be in breach to leave an event, or remove them from an online event.
  • In more serious cases, and/or where a pattern of behaviour is evident, taking appropriate steps to bring to an end our association with any person(s) found to be in breach, for example by bringing to an end a voluntary position or BTO membership. 

Related policies

The following documents set out more detailed standards of behaviour expected for specific activities and what recourse we will take in the event of a breach:

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