Code of conduct

Personal relationships

Employees must not be involved in the appointment or any other decision relating to the discipline, promotion, pay or conditions of another employee, or prospective employee, who is a relative, partner or friend. 

  • 'Relative' means a spouse, civil partner, partner, parent, parent-in-law, son, daughter, step-son, step-daughter, child of a partner, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, or the spouse or partner of any of the preceding persons
  • 'Partner' means a member of a couple who live together. 

We recognise that employees who work together may form personal relationships, or maybe related to one another. We do not wish to interfere with these personal relationships. However, it is necessary to ensure that employees behave appropriately and professionally at work.   

The following principles apply to all employees regardless of their job or level of seniority: 

  • if an employee is involved in a personal relationship with a colleague, contractor, client, customer or supplier, they must not allow that relationship to influence conduct whilst at work. Intimate behaviour during work time is expressly prohibited. This rule applies during all working time, whether at the normal workplace or elsewhere on county council business 
  • Managers and supervisors must declare any relationship with an employee whom they supervise, to a senior manager.  To avoid a situation where an employee has managerial authority over another with whom they are in a personal relationship with or are related, we may: 
    • elect to transfer one or both of the employees involved to a job in another team or service area, or  
    • transfer the employees' reporting lines to other managers.   

In these circumstances, we will consult with the employees. We will seek to reach an agreement regarding the transfer of one or both of them.  

  • If an employee embarks on a personal relationship with or is related to a colleague working in the same service area they must declare this to their manager. This is in the interests of openness and transparency. 
  • If an employee begins a personal relationship with, or are related to, a client, customer, contractor or supplier which their job requires them to have authority over they must declare this to their manager. For example, if the employee has the authority to decide to whom to award contracts. We reserve the right to transfer or to alter the responsibilities of, the employee's role following consultation. 
  • If an employee is involved in appointments, they must make those appointments only based on merit. To avoid an accusation of bias, they must not be involved in an appointment where they are related to or have a personal relationship with an applicant. 
  • An employee must not be involved in decisions relating to discipline, promotion, recruitment or pay and conditions for any employee who is a relative, partner, or whom they have a personal relationship with. 

Duty of trust 

Employees must, at all times, act with the faith that the public is entitled to place in you. Read Part V of our Constitution, which applies to all employees. It requires employees to be ready and able at the agreed times of working to carry out their job. 

Employees must express politeness and courtesy to the public and internal and external clients at all times. They must maintain customer care and courtesy with appropriate professional boundaries. They must pay particular attention when in contact with vulnerable service user groups. 

In carrying out their duties and responsibilities, employees' honesty and integrity must be beyond question.