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Code of Conduct

Executive Summary

The Society of Land Referencers (SoLR), as the industry body for land referencing practice, has a duty to its members and those who interact with SoLR, to uphold high standards of professional and ethical behaviour.  This Code of Conduct sets out SoLR's ethical guidelines and best practices to follow for honesty, integrity, and professionalism.  It also describes how the process of consideration of allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct will be undertaken.  For members of SoLR, violating the Code of Conduct can result in sanctions, including expulsion from SoLR.

Adopted by the board: 26 March 2024.

Index

1. Introduction

Introduction

SoLR exists to advance professional land referencing practice and in doing so fosters a supportive and inclusive community of professional land referencers and others with a professional interest in the projects requiring land referencing services. 

SoLR’s Code of Conduct sets out the principles of behaviour that govern all SoLR members, staff, and anyone who participates in any SoLR events or activities.  Any contractors working at or on behalf of SoLR are also expected to abide by the principles outlined herein.

2. Guiding Principles

Guiding Principles

SoLR is an organization that enables land referencers and others from a breadth of related disciplines with an interest in land referencing and the industry it supports to flourish through respectful, inclusive and equitable treatment of others.

All SoLR members, staff and those participating in any SoLR events or activities are required to:

  • act in a manner worthy of the land referencing profession and the reputation of SoLR

  • behave professionally and with integrity

  • comply with all applicable legal requirements

  • ensure that their activities do not risk the health, safety or welfare of any person

  • treat everyone equally and with respect

  • listen to others’ views and engage constructively with them

  • be committed to helping each other and to be kind

Discrimination, harassment, bullying and behaviours that are patronizing have no place in SoLR and will not be tolerated.  This applies to electronic forms of communication as well as personal interactions (physical, verbal and non-verbal). 

3. Definitions

Definitions

Harassment includes but is not limited to offensive verbal or written comments related to gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race or religion, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, unwanted photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention. 

Bullying includes, but is not limited to, coercive or overt behaviours towards another that are threatening, offensive, humiliating, intimidating, coercive, malicious or insulting that cause harm to, or negatively impacts upon, others.

Discrimination, harassment (in any form), and bullying create a hostile environment that reduces the quality, integrity, and pace of the advancement of our profession by marginalizing individuals and communities.  This behaviour also damages productivity and career advancement and prevents the healthy exchange of ideas.  Such behaviour should be reported and will be addressed with potential consequences for the offender, including but not limited to the sanctions or expulsion described below.

4. Procedure

Procedure

Any allegation of discrimination, harassment, bullying or other breach of SoLR’s Code of Conduct will be treated seriously, regardless of the seniority of those involved.  If the severity of a reported incident/activity warrants it, the police (and any other relevant authorities) will be notified.  

A key principle of the procedure is fairness. This means that when anyone is accused of misconduct, that person must be given full details of the allegations in writing, and they must be given the opportunity to respond to the allegations raised. 

4.1 Confidentiality

Confidentiality

All allegations will be investigated in confidence. All those who are involved in the investigation of an allegation, including witnesses, representatives and people providing information, evidence and/or advice, have a duty to maintain confidentiality. 

At the initial reporting stage the allegations will be anonymized before they are taken any further to minimize the number of those who know the identities of the person making the allegation (the ‘Complainant’) and the person(s) who is/are the subject of the complaint (the ‘Respondent’). 

If the process proceeds to a full investigation, it will normally be necessary to disclose the identity of the Complainant as well as other relevant information to the Respondent and others who will be involved in any subsequent investigation. 

All allegations will be investigated in confidence.  All those who are involved in the investigation of an allegation, including witnesses, representatives and people providing information, evidence and/or advice, have a duty to maintain confidentiality. 

Reporting

4.2 Reporting

All allegations of breaches of SoLR’s Code of Conduct should be reported in writing to SoLR’s Secretary.  (Where the subject of the complaint is the Secretary, the report should be made in writing to another Board or Committee member.)  Reports should include details of who was involved, what happened and when.

The Secretary (or where relevant, another Board member) will use their discretion in determining how to follow up on reported incidents and may consult with other, relevant, senior members of SoLR Board or Committee.

There is no difference between the procedure if the Respondent is a member of the SoLR Board or Committee or if the Respondent is another member of SoLR, or a participant in a SoLR activity.

Initial informal action may include a discussion with the Respondent.  Where this discussion does not resolve the issue, or where it is not appropriate in the circumstances, formal procedures will be followed and the allegations will be referred to a Code of Conduct Panel.

4.3 Code of Conduct Panel

Panel

A Code of Conduct Panel shall comprise two members of SoLR’s Board and two other members of the SoLR Committee, but shall exclude the Chair of the Standards & Ethics Committee. Before reviewing any allegation, all members of the Panel will verify that they have no conflicts of interest.

The Panel will first determine if the allegations raised are mistaken, frivolous, and/or malicious.  

They will then determine if the complaints are within the scope of SoLR’s Code of Conduct. 

If the allegations are not assessed to be mistaken, frivolous, and/or malicious, but fall outside the scope of SoLR’s Code of Conduct, then the Panel may opt to notify the employer or place of study of the Respondent. This option will proceed on a case-by-case basis.

If the Panel determines the allegations are not mistaken, frivolous, and/or malicious, and that they fall within the scope of SoLR’s Code of Conduct, they will progress the case to a full investigation. The Respondent will be notified of the complaint and will be allowed to provide an anonymized response to the allegation(s).  Witness statements may be solicited from the Respondent and Complainant. 

The Panel will conclude, based on the evidence, whether allegations of misconduct are: (i) upheld in full; (ii) upheld in part; or (iii) not upheld.  The standard of proof used is that of ‘on the balance of probabilities’. 

The Panel will recommend if the matter requires disciplinary action, including expulsion from SoLR. 

If a complaint is upheld, Respondents have a right of appeal, which should be directed to the Chair of the Standards & Ethics Committee of SoLR.  The Chair of the Standards & Ethics Committee will then convene an Appeal Panel, drawn from the SoLR Board, Committee and/or wider membership and not containing any member of the original Panel, to review the case under the same conditions as the original Panel.  

5. Sanctions

Sanctions

If there is cause, the Board may issue a warning to the Respondent.

If appropriate, the Board may send the report of the allegation to the Respondent’s place of employment or study.

In cases of minor to moderate misconduct the Society would normally seek to facilitate training and education and/or arbitration between the Complainant and Respondent. 

In more severe cases, sanctions could include expulsion of members from SoLR and/or a ban on involvement in SoLR events and activities.

Sanctions for SoLR staff (Board and Committee members) will be treated in an identical manner and the ultimate sanction is dismissal.

If allegations are vexatious or malicious, they will be dealt with as breaches of the Code of Conduct.

Our published Code of Conduct can be found here.

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