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Seb Anthony

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Codes of conduct for training providers


Despite taking care to deal with reputable external trainers, we have had two allegations of sexual harassment against the trainers in the past couple of years.

One of these was upheld (the trainer resigned from the provider) and the other is currently under investigation.

To better protect our employees and be able to defend ourselves against damages claims under the sexual discrimination act, we have been advised to draw up a code of conduct for our suppliers to sign as a condition of our contract with them.

Has anyone any experience of drawing up and implementing such codes of conduct?

Alan Pearson

7 Responses

  1. Que?
    OK, I understand that these incidents are serious.

    But if someone is liable to this kind of behaviour then I’m pretty convinced that a code of conduct is going to make no difference to that behaviour.

    Honestly, I’m horrified that your suppliers would behave like this and would strongly suggest that you take steps to prevent this in future. Such as taking previous client references and explaining your previous issues and concerns to them but I don’t think a code of conduct will be the answer.

  2. Sex Discrimination

    But you need to consider using EQUALITY PROOFING tools to test all access and OTHER arrangements BEFORE,DURING AND AFTER the training course or indeed any hr activity.A one stop shop approach embracing all the UK equality statutes,diversity issues and social matters like WORK-LIFE balance is undertaken by most modern training providers,especially in the public sector AND the private sector when it engages with the public sector

    The law enforcement agencies like the CRE,EOC and DRC should give you enough

    We have also used one of the top UK training experts in this field and if you want his details let me know.He even considers western body language from a non western perspective!

    Try also Fenman and any good equality/diversity website.I think the Fawcett Society would be able to address the specific issue you raise

    Best Wishes


  3. Code of ethics
    We have a code of ethics and you can access it free as a pdf at:
    You will also find a copy of our code, and more advice on this and other conduct issues, in Rosemary Harrison’s book called Learning and Development.
    Sadly rogue individuals work in every profession.
    Just a thought, it might be more important to select a training provider that has their own code, as we do, rather than writing your own.

  4. Further thought on sex discrimination
    The NEW equalitylaw will require codes of practice and various other “reasonable steps”

    Specifically,the Equality Act 2006 read with the October 2005 amendment(sexual harassment) to the Sex Discrimination Act:-

    · Creates a duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity between women and men (the gender duty) and to prohibit sex discrimination in the exercise of public functions.And this extends to private companies exercising a public function

    Best Wishes


  5. Are we professional?
    Hi all
    Many trainers and other consultants are members of the various professional bodies. When we sign up as members we agree to a professional code of conduct. While I can understand many larger organisations developing their own codes, I prefer to work within the ethics of my professional body. For example the BPS has guidelines about the use pf psychometrics, it is important that these are followed.

    I was recently asked by a client to use materials that were copyright & that I would not work with them. The client did not know this (a change of staff) and has now purchased the materials.

    If a trainer or consultant you use breeches what you believe is a code of conduct they should be reported to that professional body for investigation.

  6. Code of Conduct
    In a previous role as head of an L&D function, I used to ask training suppliers to submit their code of conduct along with their diversity policy, disability policy and others as appropriate to the learning content. Most competent and professional trainers tend to be members of professional bodies (CIPD, etc) who have to work to codes of conduct. Any scurrilous types (and there are one or two) would then be reported back to their membership body.

  7. Professional Code
    Mike rightly points out that professional bodies have codes of conduct (eg ).
    These may add an extra degree of security but may not be sufficient for your needs on their own.
    It certainly re-emphasises the importance of employing ‘professionals’ rather than cowboys and girls. Though that probably means more careful scutiny of their credentials rather than just relying on whether they pay fees to a particular professional body.


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