Our Code of Conduct
Who we are/what we do
Transition Town Ilford was set up in October 2015 with the vision that Ilford is a vibrant town where everyone works together through cooperation, caring and mutual support for the common good and that of our Planet. Ilford is a town that recognizes the threat of climate change and is working together on the solutions.
The role of volunteers
Transition Town Ilford cannot function without our ever increasing volunteer team and we are delighted that you are interested in volunteer with us. As a volunteer you are a member of Transition Town Ilford and covered by our insurance.
This Code of Conduct is a summary of the policies which apply to being a volunteer with Transition Town Ilford. It sets out guidelines for behaviour for all of us and including volunteer rights and responsibilities.
The project or event you volunteer with will have a coordinator who will give you:
• Information and/or instructions regarding your volunteer role which will include: attendance time, location and any other requirements;
• A general induction into the organisation will be given by the volunteer coordinator or someone from the steering group.
Transition Town Ilford is committed to ensuring that our projects and events are free from unfair discrimination on the grounds of disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, sex, gender (including gender reassignment), sexual orientation, age, marital status, religious or other similar philosophical belief.
We aim to ensure that our volunteers enjoy their time with us and achieve their full potential and that all decisions are taken with respect for our differences.
We protect your confidential information. As a volunteer you have an obligation to protect confidential or personal information in relation to other volunteers and other organisations/events. If you have access to confidential information (including addresses or telephone numbers of colleagues/clients), you should never discuss or disclose such information to anyone other than the person/s authorised to receive it, both during and after your involvement with the organisation/event.
Our equipment, resources and personal property
There is unlikely to be suitable storage space at our projects and events where you are volunteering. You are advised not to bring valuables including personal items such as handbags, portable mp3 players, cameras, personal laptops etc. We cannot assume responsibility for the loss, theft of, or damage to, your personal possessions.
In recognition of the monies and support we have received we ask that volunteers are efficient, careful with and protect our equipment and resources.
Health and Safety
We are committed to ensuring that our projects and events are safe working environments for everyone. Everyone is required to exercise reasonable care in the course of your role and to look out for the Health and Safety of yourself and others. We have risk assessments for our events and projects and encourage everyone to be involved in identifying risks and making our work safe.
First Aid & Emergencies
Please always remember that in an emergency to put your own safety first. Call 999 if necessary.
Ambassadors and appropriate behaviour
All volunteers are representing Transition Town Ilford and need to accept our vision and mission and follow our policies and guidelines including being a positive role model for our work.
Inappropriate comments and behaviour towards volunteers, the projects, and TTI will be addressed by the steering group member.
We are committed to encouraging an open environment in which all volunteers can express themselves and issues raised will be responded to in an appropriate and timely manner. Everyone will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to providing fair and honest resolution of conflict. Please see our conflict resolution appendix.
Before you incur in any expenses it’s important that you check with your Volunteer coordinator/project coordinator or Steering group member.
TTI recognises the enormous contribution that volunteers make through the gift of their time and it’s our policy that reasonable out of pocket expenses, can be claimed for most volunteering roles.
Guidelines for Working with Conflict
In Transition Town Ilford we aim to enable relationships to flourish in our groups.
Disagreements are bound to arise, and this is fine. We welcome these as an opportunity to learn and change. However, conflict can become destructive if not shared in a way that respects the other person or group involved.
Compassionate Communication is a tool to help us do that through using language which shows empathy both towards ourselves and the other. It helps us to express our needs without blaming others, try to hear beyond the blaming language of another person by listening for the needs underneath the blame and look for ways forward which , at least in part, meet everyone’s needs.
Speaking and listening using Compassionate Communication takes time to learn and is a lifetime’s work. To equip our members we will offer TTI members the opportunity to do an in house short training in using Compassionate Communication when they join. This can be repeated on a regular basis for new members and as a refresher/ practice session for other members.
The Transition Network has produced a helpful resources 8-Intro-Compassionate-Communication.pdf
Promoting Healthy Relationships
Our vision for a flourishing community starts with our commitment to nurturing relationships of trust in our membership. We value diversity of views and life experience amongst our members and we can learn from our differences.
We pay attention to relationships as well as tasks in our meetings and activities. We want everyone to feel welcome and included. Some ways we do that are:
• We actively check in within the project how people are, build the team and the relationships, dynamics and how people are enjoying volunteering, creating tea breaks, and opportunities to mingle.
• We encourage everyone to speak directly to the person with whom they have a conflict.
• We agree a “support code” for how we will relate to each other in meetings
5. We try to use non blaming, needs language to express disagreement (rather than criticism).
6. We share our disagreements in ways that build up the group rather than sow division
7. We avoid the use of WhatsApp or other online communication to criticise others. We will take down messages which are abusive
8. Project group coordinators will check on how people in their group are doing on a regular basis to allow for conflicts to be dealt with before they get too big.
When a conflict arises
Even with above processes in place, feelings can run high from time to time.
When a conflict arises we follow these steps, all of which are best done face to face rather than online.
• Discourage people from talking about others behind their back and encourage the parties to talk to each other directly to try to resolve the issue.
If they agree we can coach them beforehand in using compassionate communication.
i.e. We will speak only our own experience and not offer opinions about others
We will try to express our needs without blame and listen to the others needs.
We will look for ways forward which will meet both our needs.
• If a face to face conversation is tried and fails or if it is not possible for the 2 people to talk then the issue can be taken to the Coordinator of their project, or another person who has previously agreed to take a mediating role in their group. This 3rd party should be trusted by both parties and will keep the matter confidential. Ideally this person will have undertaken our short course on facilitating conflict.
• The 3rd party will listen empathically, without taking sides, to each of the parties in separate meetings.
• After the separate meetings, if they agree, the parties will take part in a joint meeting facilitated by the 3rd party, where they will have the opportunity to share their concerns in a safe atmosphere and try to resolve the issue together. (See suggested steps for such a facilitated meeting below).
• If one or both of the parties are not willing to take part in a face to face facilitated meeting then the 3rd party facilitator will take the matter to the Steering Group who will decide the next steps.
• If the issue is not personal but involves a whole group, then if agreed by the group, an external facilitator, agreed by that project group, from within or outside of TTI, can be invited to facilitate a meeting of the group to try to resolve the issue. If this does not resolve the issue, the matter will be taken to the Steering Group, who will make a decision on what to do next.
Basic steps for a 3rd party facilitation
This process is simply to help you to get you going, don’t feel you need to stick rigidly to it. The main thing is to create and maintain a safe space for people to listen and be listened to and to keep enabling good communication to happen rather than allowing it to shut down.
• Beforehand create a welcoming, safe space for the parties to meet
• Welcome the parties and thank them for coming to talk
• Ask the parties to agree to some simple ground rules e.g.be willing to listen and not interrupt when the other person is talking, to try not to use abusive or blaming language (Be willing to stop the conversation at any point if the language becomes blaming and reframe what the person is saying).
• Ask party 1 “ How is this problem affecting you?”
• Reflect back the needs of party 1 based on what you hear. (No need to repeat the details of their story unless you want to check you have understood correctly).
• Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with party 2
• Check that you have understood each parties needs
• Ask each party if they can say what they understand to be the needs of the other
• Ask each party in turn: What would make things better for you?
• Check you understand what they are proposing
• Ask each party in turn: “What could you do to make things better for the other person?”
• Thank them if they are able to recognise the needs of the other.
• Agree some next steps based on the ideas they have suggested
• Ask them what they could do if the conflict happens again
• Whether or not they have reached any agreement thank them for coming and being willing to take part in the process.