OUR CODE OF ETHICS
The Code of Ethics (hereafter referred to as “the Code”) is binding on all members of Small Step Matters Ltd (hereafter referred to as “Small Step Matters” or “the Company”), any member of its Board or duly appointed Committees, and all executive staff or volunteers, in the fulfilment of their duties, regardless of whether or not they are members the Company.
As a non-profit organisation, Small Step Matters is required to apply high ethical standards. The core values within the Code are set out in the first part of our Code of Ethics. They set out the obligations placed on all members, whether or not they are in practice. These values should be integrated into an overall conceptual framework, where members understand and accept :
- Their responsibility to act and behave as specifically set out hereafter;
- Their duty to act and behave as recommended in any other specific or ambiguous situations or circumstances which may not be covered in the present Code.
STATEMENT OF VALUES
Members are continually aware of the profession’s mission, values, ethical principles, and ethical standards and practice in a manner consistent with them. They act honestly and responsibly and promote ethical practices on the part of the organisations with which they are affiliated. Integrity implies not merely honesty, but fair dealing and truthfulness as well as acting responsibly and demonstrating accountability for their decisions.
Small Step Matters’ primary goal is to help people in need and to select and promote Charitable or Social Projects and facilitate donations from the public towards these projects. Members elevate service to others above self-interest and draw on their knowledge, values, and skills to help people in need and to address social and environmental issues in Mauritius.
- Social Equity
Members help Small Step Matters pursue social change in Mauritius or for Mauritians, particularly with and on behalf of vulnerable individuals and groups of people. Their social change efforts are primarily focused on the set of criteria identified by the Project Selection & Follow-Up Committee. They should understand culture and its function in human behavior and society, recognizing the strengths that exist in all cultures.
- Empathy and Worth of the Person
Members treat each person in a caring and respectful fashion, mindful of individual differences and cultural and ethnic diversity. They promote stakeholders’ socially responsible self-determination and teamwork. They are cognizant of their dual responsibility to its stakeholders and to the broader society of Mauritius. They seek to resolve conflicts between users’ interests and the broader society’s interests in a socially responsible manner consistent with the values and ethical standards of Small Step Matters.
- Transparency and Objectivity
Members shall not allow bias, conflicts of interest or the undue influence of others to compromise their professional judgment or guidance. They act in a fair and transparent manner and devote time for the benefit of Small Step Matters and its stakeholders, placing the interests of its ultimate project beneficiaries at the heart of all that they do.
- Competence and Innovation
Members continually strive to increase their professional knowledge and skills and apply them at a level required to ensure that its stakeholders, including but not limited to its employees, project promoters, ultimate beneficiaries, or donators receive competent and appropriate professional guidance or service. Members shall act diligently when providing guidance or professional service should aspire to contribute to the knowledge base of the fields of activity. They are committed to bringing innovative ideas and solutions for the running and development of our Interactive Platform.
Members should respect confidential information shared by stakeholders in the course of their professional relationships and transactions. They should ensure that such stakeholders understand their obligation to respect confidentiality and any exceptions related to it. They shall not disclose any such information to third parties without proper and specific authority or unless there is a legal or professional right or duty to disclose. Similarly, confidential information acquired as a result of professional and business relationships shall not be used to the personal advantage of members or third parties.
- Professional behavior
Members shall comply with relevant laws and regulations and shall avoid any action that may discredit the Company and its objects as stated in its Constitution. Members shall behave with courtesy, empathy and consideration towards all with whom they come into contact in a professional capacity.
THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
While our Code of Ethics provides the general rules which all members are required to adhere to and apply, it cannot cover every situation. A conceptual framework requires members to identify, evaluate and address threats, and consequently it is not sufficient for members to merely comply with the examples of circumstances set out in the Code. Rather, members must ensure that, in the particular circumstances under consideration, the core values have been observed. Ethics sometimes comes down to a personal decision, and we would recommend that you use the following framework that the Mauritius Institute of Directors recommends to its own members to help you :
Ethical Decision Making Tool
- Recognise an ethical issue
- Get the facts
- Evaluate alternative actions from various ethical perspectives – think critically
- Make a decision and test it
- Act and then reflect on the decision later.
And use this Quick Test when making a final decision to act:
- Is it legal?
- What does your Code of Conduct/policies say?
- What would my ethical role model do?
- How would it look on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper?
- How does it make me feel?
- Would I be comfortable sharing my decision with my closest family?
- Does it pass the Golden Rule test “Do to others as you would wish them to do to you?”
- Members of Small Step Matters are expected at all times to act in such a way so as not to bring themselves or the Company into disrepute whether in their personal or professional capacity and in accordance with the highest ethical standards and in the best interest of Small Step Matters, its members, project promoters, ultimate beneficiaries, donors and reputation.
- Adherence to the Code of Ethics is a condition of membership – members are liable to face disciplinary action if, after due process, they are found guilty of misconduct which includes any act likely to bring discredit to the member, Small Step Matters, or the social activity.
- Members are expected to comply with the applicable laws and regulations in Mauritius.
- Members are required to uphold the Small Step Matter’s Constitution and Rules and Regulations and comply with their provisions.
- Members are required to conduct themselves in a professional manner with the highest standards of honesty and integrity, exercising diligence, loyalty, reliability, empathy, responsiveness and due care in carrying out their duties and responsibilities, with courtesy and consideration towards others.
- Members should at all times respect the pillars of social work which are based on the principles of service, honesty, integrity, transparency, confidentiality, human dignity, empathy, respect and equity.
- Members shall always be cognisant of their responsibilities as professional persons and citizens of the wider community of Mauritius.
- Members shall understand the purpose and mission of non-profit organisations at large, not merely for any specific initiative and be respectful to the sector as a whole.
- Members shall always respect the uniqueness and intrinsic worth of every individual.
- Members are required to treat people with dignity, respect and compassion to foster a trusting environment free of harassment, intimidation, and unlawful discrimination; an environment of inclusiveness and a commitment to diversity in the Mauritian community that we serve.
- Members shall at all times safeguard the interests of their employers, colleagues and clients provided that they shall not knowingly be a party to any illegal, immoral or unethical activity.
- Members shall not act in any way which may be in conflict with the legitimate interests of Small Step Matters and/or their employer which would prejudice the performance of their professional duties and shall act with sound judgement and with such reasonable care and skill that can be expected of them.
- In accepting or continuing a professional assignment, a member should always have regard to any factors which might reflect adversely upon their own integrity and objectivity in relation to that assignment.
- Members shall be willing to listen to our stakeholders and make all reasonable efforts to satisfy their needs and concerns within the scope of our mission.
- Members shall contribute to an organisational culture that respects the diverse, individual contributions of staff and leadership and promotes service excellence and innovation.
- Members shall respect the confidentiality of sensitive and/or confidential information about Small Step Matters, its members, project promoters, ultimate beneficiaries, donors, board and employees.
- Members shall provide credible and effective oversight to the organisation’s work without personal bias.
- Members shall not not accept commissions, gifts, payments, loans, or promises of future benefits or other items of value from anyone who has or may seek some benefit from Small Step Matters.
- Members shall act in a responsible manner and be accountable all their actions and/or decisions.
- Members shall adopt a whistleblowing approach when deemed appropriate.
- Members should honor our commitments and promises to the best of their abilities and strive to increase their level of competencies.
- Members shall appropriately acknowledge contributions and/or donations from other individuals and organisations who help facilitate our goals.
- Members should not be deceptive in our fundraising activities or in prospecting for new members or users to join Small Step Matters.
- Members shall not lobby with the intent to influence individual candidates.
- It is the responsibility of every member to understand how to apply this Code of Conduct. If in doubt, members are encouraged to seek guidance.
- Members shall contribute to the performance and social responsibility of Small Step Matters and its social actions and strive to measure the effectiveness of our activities in contributing to or achieving organisational goals.
- Members develop, administer and advocate policies and procedures that foster fair, consistent and equitable treatment for all.
BREACH OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT
In order to protect the sound reputation of Small Step Matters and uphold our values, Small Step Matters may terminate the membership of any member who breaches this Code.
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP?
Small Step Matters encourages its members to act and behave with the highest standards of ethics, honesty and integrity. Any member concerned about any form of malpractice, improper action or wrongdoing by Small Step Matters, its employees, its users and ultimate beneficiaries, its Directors or any of its members are strongly encouraged to report the matter to the Chairman of the Board or the Chairman of the Project Selection & Follow-Up Committee. Such matters will be taken most seriously and will be investigated appropriately and with the utmost confidentiality. Small Step Matters takes all matters of malpractice, improper action or wrongdoing very seriously and you are strongly encouraged to raise incidents or behaviours that are not in accordance with this Code of Conduct or the policies of Small Step Matters which are available on our Interactive Platform: www.smallstepmatters.org. The Small Step Matters Nominations Committee, or in the case of a Director, the Board of Small Step Matters, will be responsible for investigating any such reports. If you feel that your questions or concerns have not been appropriately addressed, you should direct your complaint to the Chairman of Small Step Matters or the Chairman of the Project Selection & Follow-Up Committee. If members wish to seek guidance on any issue, they may call Small Step Matters in strict confidentiality.
The present Code of Ethics refers to several parts of the Code of Conduct of the Mauritius Institute of Directors (“MIoD”) which one may find on http://www.miod.mu/membership/code-of-conduct.aspx.
It is also inspired from existing Codes of Ethics publicly available, including but not limited to non-profit organisations.