Kagyu Dechen Buddhism’s Code of Conduct and Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Code of conductKDB is vigilant about maintaining the highest possible standards of ethical behaviour.  It recognises that vulnerable adults, children and young people may visit its Centres and attend its events and that this brings responsibility for safeguarding.  It not only has a Safeguarding Policy but also a Code of Conduct for its class, group and Centre co-ordinators and its Board of Trustees.  These are regularly reviewed to ensure they are being appropriately implemented.  Both are set out in full below.

The Code of Conduct

This code of conduct is intended to ensure that Kagyu Dechen Buddhism (KDB) does everything possible to ensure the highest ethical standards in all its activities and makes clear the expectations on those representing the organisation and in particular those running centres and groups and leading classes.

KDB expects that all persons representing the organisation abide by the ethics of Buddhism and, where applicable, any legal requirements and relevant legislation.

The Organisation will not condone any activities which would be seen as unethical or permit any activity that fails to stand the closest possible public scrutiny.

Personal conduct:
People attending KDB centres and groups have a right to do so free from any fear of exploitation, or abuse. KDB expects anyone representing the organisation to recognise their position of responsibility and to always conduct themselves in an ethical manner. This includes abstaining from any physical, or verbal aggression; sexual exploitation or harassment; financial exploitation; or intoxication.

Similarly any racist or discriminatory behaviour, whether physical or verbal in relation to any work undertaken at KDB premises or events is unacceptable.

Conflicts of Interest:
Board members and those in positions of responsibility must not use their positions, or the knowledge gained as a result of their position, for private or personal advantage, regardless of the circumstances. If they sense that a course of action may involve them in a conflict of interest they should immediately communicate all the facts to their Centre coordinator or the Chair of the KDB board.

All those representing the organisation must ensure that no business interest or activity outside the organisation, would, or would appear to, bring KDB into disrepute.

Directors and trustees of KDB must declare any potential conflict of interest, whether, personal, financial or otherwise, whenever discussing any issues in formal KDB meetings. Directors must conduct all activities in accordance with guidance issued by Companies House and by the Charity Commission.

Anyone with a position of responsibility or perceived authority with the organisation must decline any preferential treatment and avoid using their position for personal gain.

Further detail on the particular guidance affecting KDB directors is contained within the KDB conflicts of interest policy.

Cheque presentationKDB Funds and Other Assets:
Those who have access to KDB funds must follow the designated procedures for recording, handling, and protecting money. If anyone becomes aware of any evidence of fraud or dishonesty, they should immediately advise the Centre coordinator.

When an individual is in a position that requires spending KDB funds or incurring any reimbursable personal expenses, they must use good judgment on KDB’s behalf to ensure that good value is received and that there is no personal benefit.  This principle also includes the personal use of KDB assets, such as computers organisation records and communications

Accurate and reliable records of many kinds are necessary to meet KDB’s legal and financial obligations and to manage the affairs of the organisation. Records must reflect, in an accurate and timely manner, all financial transactions.  Volunteers and officials responsible for accounting and recordkeeping must fully disclose and record all assets, liabilities, or both, and must exercise diligence in enforcing these requirements.

No representative of KDB may make, or engage in, any false record or communication of any kind, whether internal or external.

Dealing With Outside People and Organisations:
All those representing KDB must take care to separate their personal roles from KDB when communicating on matters not involving KDB business. They must not use KDB identification, stationery, supplies, and equipment for personal or political matters.

When dealing with any outside individuals or organisation care must be taken not to compromise the integrity of KDB or damage the reputation of KDB, it’s teachers or the practice of Buddhism.

Privacy and Confidentiality
When handling personal or financial information about sangha members or others with whom KDB has dealings the following principles must be observed:

  • Collect, use, and retain only the personal information necessary.
  • Whenever possible, obtain any relevant information directly from the person concerned. Use only reputable and reliable sources to supplement this information.
  • Retain information only for as long as necessary or as required by law. Protect the physical security of this information.
  • Limit internal access to personal information to those with a legitimate business reason for seeking that information.
  • Use only personal information for the purposes for which it was originally obtained.
  • Obtain the consent of the person concerned before externally disclosing any personal information, unless legal process provides otherwise.

Code of conductdThe Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

This policy seeks to ensure that KDB undertakes its responsibilities with regard to protection of children and/or vulnerable adults and will respond to concerns appropriately. The policy establishes a framework to support volunteers, coordinators and trustees and clarify the organisation’s expectations.

KDB work with vulnerable adults and children
The objectives of Kagyu Dechen Buddhism (KDB) do not directly target working with children or vulnerable adults.  However beneficiaries of KDB’s activities may incidentally be children or vulnerable adults and the charity therefore should have all necessary safeguarding procedures in place.

The following guidelines are applied to our activities:

  • On school visits to a KDB Buddhist centre children must be organized by and accompanied by teachers of the visiting school at all times.
  • Children are not admitted to any KDB event unless accompanied by a responsible parent or carer.
  • Any volunteer work by vulnerable adults is only undertaken with the attendance of their support worker or carer.
  • If sangha members or incidental visitors to KDB events are vulnerable the Centre coordinator will be guided by this policy.

Due to the limited nature of our contact with these groups the directors do not believe that DBS checks are required for the Directors or volunteers working for KDB.  Safeguarding is everybody’s business and in every level of the organisation our duty toward protecting a child or vulnerable adult takes priority over other considerations.

code of conductdWho does this policy apply to?
A vulnerable adult – defined as someone over the age of 18 who is, is or may be, in need of community care services by reason of their mental health, old age, learning difficulty, physical impairment, sensory impairment or substance abuse.
Any child – defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child as anyone aged under 18.

What is abuse?
Abuse may be a single or repeated act involving any one or more of the following:

  • Physical abuse – may include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, pinching or scratching.
  • Psychological abuse – may include intimidation e.g. threats of physical harm, shouting, swearing, name calling, racist comments, humiliation, or emotional blackmail.
  • Sexual Abuse – includes rape, sexual assault, sexual acts with a person unable to give consent, indecent exposure, sexual harassment or innuendo.
  • Financial or material abuse – theft, fraud, extortion, gaining access to someone’s funds or possessions.
  • Discriminatory abuse – oppressive and prejudicial attitudes against someone on the basis of their disability, gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation.
  • Multiple or institutional abuse which includes an abusive culture, or misuse of power and control.

KDB Commitment:
In order to protect against abuse KDB is committed to:

  • Identify any instance of abuse on KDB premises, at KDB events or arising from relationships established at KDB events.
  • Respond effectively to any circumstances giving grounds for concern, whether they are in the form of formal complaints or simply expressions of anxiety.
  • Ensure the active participation of all sangha (members of the community), in implementing this policy wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Regular monitoring and evaluation of policies, practices and procedures to ensure their effectiveness in protecting children and vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure policies and procedures are kept up to date in line with good practice and the law in relation to safeguarding.

Prevention and Confidentiality:

KDB respects the principle of confidentiality. However, the welfare of children and vulnerable people has priority and KDB has a duty to disclose abuse to the appropriate agency if deemed necessary.

Wherever possible consent should be obtained before any personal information is shared with a third party. However, in some circumstances it may be neither possible, nor desirable, to obtain consent.

Personal information will be kept confidential. Written records will be kept in a secure area for a specific time in accordance with data protection guidelines.

Promises of confidentiality will not be given whilst receiving an allegation or suspicion as this may conflict with the need to ensure the safety and welfare of the individual.

In accordance with this policy, trustees, coordinators and volunteers have a responsibility to share relevant information regarding safeguarding with representatives of social care and investigative agencies.

Safeguarding Procedures
Any suspicion, allegation or incidence of abuse must be reported to the Centre Co-ordinator(s) immediately.

Concern about the behaviour of a trustee should be reported to the Chair of the Trustees: phil.brady@dechen.org

Concern regarding the Chair should be addressed to the Charity Commission.

VolunteersGuidelines for volunteers:

  • If you think abuse has occurred, act immediately.
  • Deal with immediate concerns of the person if they are present. Makes sure they are in no further immediate danger and seek medical treatment if necessary.
  • Do NOT investigate or discuss any allegation with the alleged abuser.
  • Inform the centre coordinator immediately.
  • Record any details of the allegation as soon as possible and keep in a secure place.

Guidelines for Centre Coordinators:

  • Decide without delay if the matter falls within the scope of the KDB safeguarding policy and implement appropriate course of action.
  • Ensure the victim of the abuse is safe from further harm.
  • Clarify the facts of the case but do NOT at this stage discuss with the alleged abuser.
  • If necessary inform police and/or social services.
  • Whether or not action is taken, all allegations or concerns raised must be recorded and kept in a safe place.

Policy Implementation:
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the centre co-ordinators:

  • Kagyu Ling, Manchester : Jonathan Macaskill and John Sainsbury
  • Kagyu Dechen Dzong, Harrogate: Howard Quinn, Tricia Quinn and Roberta Jefferson

Date of Policy: December 2016
Date of next Review: December 2018