Code of Conduct and of Ethics for CEERD Experts and staff members


CEERD seeks to apply the highest standards in its work and prioritises working with experts and staff members who demonstrate that commitment. This Code of Conduct and Ethics outlines the standard of behaviour expected of individuals contracted by CEERD as experts on individual assignments or as permanent staff members.

No Code can be exhaustive, and this one does not seek to address every ethical issue that experts and staff members may face on assignment. The Code is not a substitute for exercising good judgment and taking the initiative to seek guidance from colleagues and CEERD. In this, CEERD relies on the professionalism of all experts and staff members:

  • to inform themselves of standards and norms relevant to the assignment and their role;
  • to comply with the law;
  • to act with transparency, integrity and professionalism in every situation.

In performing all duties, experts and staff members shall strive to achieve the highest professional standards of conduct and accountability. At all times, experts and staff members are expected to:

  • Propose themselves for assignments solely in those areas in which they are competent to perform and present an accurate account of their qualifications, expertise, experience and availability;
  • Demonstrate professional integrity and honesty;
  • Act in good faith, with care and diligence;
  • Disclose any personal, business or financial interests that might represent or be construed as a conflict of interest;
  • Respect universally recognised human rights (whether or not such respect is enforced through national legislation), including due consideration to issues of gender;
  • Treat all persons equitably and fairly and with proper respect for their rights and obligations, regardless of race, colour, sex, religion, ethnic or social origin or disability;
  • Respect the laws, values and traditions of the host country ;
  • Obey any lawful direction, instruction or order given by any person authorised by law to do so;
  • Act in the best interests of, and in a manner that will reflect positively on, CEERD, its client, partners (where applicable) and the wider community;
  • Ensure clarity in all communications regarding the experts’ and staff members’ status vis-à-vis CEERD, its client or partners (where applicable);
  • Clearly separate any official action or views as a CEERD Expert representative from any political action or views, and ensure that no conflict of interests arises between such activity or comment and their official CEERD duties;
  • Perform any duties associated with their position conscientiously, courteously, efficiently, impartially, and to the best of their ability in a manner that withstands the closest external scrutiny and meets all legal and best practice standards.

At all times, experts and staff members are expected to:

  • Adopt a team approach to assignments, with team leaders to ensure clear roles and responsibilities for each team member according to the specific Terms of Reference while ensuring that all team members’ contributions are respected;
  • Contribute to team relations which foster a working environment in which people trust and respect one another and, in particular, not to engage in or tolerate any behaviour that constitutes discrimination or harassment ;
  • CEERD works to create and maintain and expects all staff to contribute to safe and healthy working environments;
  • Maintain and enhance the understanding and confidence of clients, partners, colleagues, and the broader community in CEERD’s work; and ensure that their individual contribution to assignments contributes to CEERD’s aim of delivering support that assists clients and partners in meeting their legal and policy commitments for sustainable overseas development;
  • Set and maintain standards of leadership that are consistent with this Code and be seen at all times to act in support of these goals and policies and actively contribute to their achievement;
  • Exercise high standards of personal and professional conduct and encourage colleagues to do the same;
  • Safeguard privacy and confidentiality of matters of a personal nature relating to other colleagues;
  • Respect the contractual arrangements governing intellectual property and copyright;
  • When in doubt regarding the ethics of a specific situation, seek guidance from the CEERD Compliance Officer.

At all times, experts and staff members are expected to:

  • Comply with, and be seen to act within, the spirit and letter of the law and the terms of this Code, including during non-working days on assignment;
  • Ensure that any procurement role they carry out or advise on adheres to applicable policies and guidelines;
  • Disclose any fraud, corruption, or misconduct of which they become aware;
  • Giving or receiving gifts or gratuities: CEERD experts and staff members may not give or receive gifts that exceed customary courtesies common under accepted ethical practice. As a guideline, gifts of more than €80 are inappropriate and should be declined. In addition to provisions regarding corruption, which means that gifts in exchange for favours or undue consideration must always be rejected, CEERD experts and staff members should decline any gifts whose acceptance could raise suspicion of improper influence or conduct. If refusing a gift would offend, the expert should politely explain that acceptance of gifts is prohibited by your contract to prevent any perception of corruption;
  • Bribing and corrupting public officials is a breach of this Code and a serious crime in most jurisdictions. CEERD experts and staff members may not directly or indirectly offer, promise, give, demand or accept bribes or other undue advantage to obtain or retain any improper advantage to or from anyone for any reason. In particular, charitable contributions or expenses shall not be used as a subterfuge for bribery. No one at CEERD has the authority to direct or authorise anyone to violate the law or the principles laid out in this Code;
  • Any perceived attempt to bribe or corrupt an expert should be promptly reported to the CEERD’s Compliance Officer.
  • CEERD recognises the inherent unequal power dynamic and the resulting potential for exploitation in overseas development assistance and that such exploitation undermines the credibility of work and severely damages victims of these exploitive acts, their families and communities. For this reason, experts and staff members shall not engage in sexual relationships with persons under the age of 18 years. Specifically prohibited is sexual exploitation or sexual abuse.
  • Each expert and staff member is the first person responsible for their own personal security while travelling;
  • Each expert and staff member is responsible for ensuring they do not undermine the security of others – their team members, colleagues, and the stakeholders they meet;
  • This requires a full management systems approach to security awareness by the expert in close cooperation with the Team Leader and the assignment managers. This includes threat and risk identification and assessment, with preventive action regarding the range of any context-specific concerns (whether crime, terrorism, civil unrest, natural disaster, road traffic accident, etc.);

This Code is to be used with other Quality Assurance Guidelines and measures adopted by CEERD. This Code is issued to all CEERD experts and staff members who make every effort to ensure that its content and spirit are respected;

  • Where an issue arises, in the first instance, experts and staff members are expected to assess the appropriateness of their decisions, actions or inaction:
    • Would your action or inaction comply with the letter and spirit of this Code of Ethics?
    • Does your action or inaction abide by all applicable laws, regulations and rules?
    • Is your decision or action fair to all those affected by it?
  • Experts and staff members may confidently report their concerns to CEERD’s Compliance Officer to be documented and reviewed. No expert will suffer demotion, penalty, loss of pay or other adverse consequences for reporting any attempt at bribery and corruption and refusing to pay such bribes even if this leads to loss to CEERD;
  • CEERD takes proactive initiatives to ensure excellence in implementation and to mitigate risk:
    • CEERD ensures the provision of documentation, pre- and post-expert, to ensure understanding of the project objectives and to ensure ongoing support is provided to experts and staff members;
    • It also takes reactive initiatives: CEERD regularly monitors the implementation of assignments. Inappropriate behaviour is identified early and corrected or leads to immediate expert replacement. CEERD is available to travel to the country to find solutions. CEERD’s QA system monitors the quality of outputs, correcting poor-quality outputs.
  • When assessing possible breaches of this Code, CEERD will adhere to the principles of natural justice, including acting in good faith and offering the expert concerned the timely opportunity to respond.

Code of Conduct
Revised on 1st January 2020


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