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Code of conduct - Committee members

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1. Background

1.1 The Open University Psychological Society (OUPS) was established in 1974 and is an independent non-party political and non-profit making organisation. One of its primary aims is to promote the highest professional standards amongst its members. This code of conduct forms an essential part of that aim. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the term "Committee" in this document refers to the OUPS Executive Committee and to all OUPS Regional Committees.


2. Code of conduct principles

2.1 Committee members shall uphold the good standing and reputation of OUPS at all times.

2.2 The Executive Committee reserves the right to suspend or expel any Committee Officer or Committee Member for conduct prejudicial to the policy, interest or prestige of the Society.

2.3 All Committee members are expected to support the aims of the Society and are bound to uphold standards prescribed in OUPS Policies and Practices.

2.4 All Committee members are expected to put the aims and good reputation of the Society before their personal interests and are not to make profits as a result of their activities in their OUPS role.

2.5 Liaison and negotiation will be primary Committee aims

2.6 The Society's Executive Committee shall keep this Policy under regular review.

3. Values

3.1 Committee members will respect and uphold the values of OUPS regarding:

  • Inclusiveness - the Executive Committee recognise that diversity is strength and will seek to involve all members as active participants in the Society. 

  • Responsiveness - the Executive Committee will strengthen the efforts of members to meet the Society needs and make a difference.

  • Respect - the Executive Committee will treat others as we expect to be treated, consider each individual's unique talents and operate in a spirit of cooperation.

  • Quality - the Executive Committee will strive for excellence in the delivery of our services and activities.

  • Connectedness - the Executive Committee will work with others in our regional teams to enhance community well-being.

  • Accessibility - the Executive Committee will provide fair and open access to volunteer opportunities and support.

  • Forward looking - the Executive Committee will recognise the need for continual review and improvement.

  • Impact focused - the Executive Committee believe that success is measured by outcomes, and will seek to deliver results that benefit both members and the Society.

4. General

Committee members are expected to:

4.1 Act within the governing documents of OUPS and the law, and abide by the policies and procedures of the Society. This includes having a knowledge of the contents of the OUPS Constitution and relevant policies and procedures.

4.2 Support the objects and mission of OUPS, championing it, using any skills or knowledge they have to further that mission and seeking expert advice where appropriate.

4.3 Be active Committee Members as elected, making their skills, experience and knowledge available to OUPS.

4.4 Respect Society, Committee and individual confidentiality, while never using society or committee confidentiality as an excuse not to disclose matters that should be transparent and open. Individual confidentiality must always be respected.

4.5 Develop and maintain a sound and up-to-date knowledge of OUPS and its environment. This will include an understanding of how OUPS operates, the social, political and economic environment in which it operates and the nature and extent of its work.

4.6 Use OUPS's resources responsibly, and when claiming expenses, do so in line with OUPS procedures.

4.7 Seek to be accountable for their actions as a Committee member of OUPS, and submit to whatever scrutiny is appropriate.

4.8 Accept the responsibility to ensure that OUPS is well run and to raise issues and questions in an appropriate and sensitive way to ensure that this is the case. 

5. Managing interests

Committee members will:

5.1 Not gain materially or financially from their involvement with OUPS unless specifically authorised to do so.

5.2 Act in the best interests of OUPS as a whole, and not as a representative of any group - considering what is best for OUPS and its present and future beneficiaries and avoiding bringing OUPS into disrepute.

5.3 Unless authorised, will not put themselves in a position where their personal interests conflict with their duty to act in the interests of the society, for example will not engage in the selection process for any paid position for which they are also a candidate. Where there is a conflict of interest they will ensure that this is managed effectively in line with OUPS policy.

5.4 Understand that a failure to declare a conflict of interest may be considered to be a breach of this code.

6. Meetings

Committee members must:

6.1 Attend all appropriate meetings and other appointments at OUPS or give apologies. If they cannot regularly attend meetings they will consider whether there are other ways they can engage with OUPS.

6.2 Prepare fully for all meetings and work for the organisation. This will include reading papers, querying anything they do not understand, thinking through issues before meetings and completing any tasks assigned in the agreed time.

6.3 Actively engage in discussion, debate and voting in meetings; contributing in a considered and constructive way, listening carefully, challenging sensitively and avoiding conflict.

6.4 Participate in collective decision-making, accept a majority decision of the Committee and will not act individually unless specifically authorised to do so.


7. Governance

Committee members must:

7.1 Actively contribute towards improving the governance of the Committee participating in induction and training and sharing ideas for improvement with the Committee.

7.2 Help to identify good candidates for Committee membership at OUPS and, with fellow Committee members, appoint new Committee members in accordance with agreed selection criteria.

8. Relations with others

Committee members will:

8.1 Endeavour to work considerately and respectfully with all those they come into contact with at OUPS, respect diversity, different roles and boundaries, and will endeavour to avoid giving offence.

8.2 Recognise that the roles of Committee members, other volunteers and staff of OUPS are different, and will seek to understand and respect the difference between these roles.

8.3 Where they also volunteer with the organisation, will maintain the separation of their role as a Committee member and as a volunteer.

8.4 Seek to support and encourage all those they come into contact with at OUPS, in particular recognising their responsibility to support the chairperson and the Executive Committee.

8.5 Not make public comments about the organisation unless authorised to do so. Any public comments they make about OUPS will be considered and in line with organisational policy, whether made as an individual or as a Committee member.

9. Leaving the committee

9.1 Substantial breach of any part of this code may result in a duly constituted meeting of the Trustees that will consider whether a committee member should be removed from the Committee, and that may result in their being asked to resign from the Committee.

9.2 Should this happen the Trustees will:

  • Inform the member of the reasons why it is proposed to remove them from the Committee;

  • Give the member at least 21 clear days' notice in which to make representations to the Trustees as to why they should not be removed;

  • Consider at a meeting after that time any representations which the member makes as to why they should not be removed; and

  • Allow the member, or their representative, to make those representations in person at that meeting, if they so choose.

9.3 In the event that a committee member is asked to resign from the Committee they will accept the majority decision of the Committee in this matter and resign at the earliest opportunity.

9.4 Any member wishing to cease being a Committee member at any time will inform the Chairperson in advance (giving as much notice as possible) in writing, stating their reasons for leaving.

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