Code of Conduct

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Introduction

About the Economic History Society

The Economic History Society (EHS) was founded in 1926 and is a not-for-profit learned society dedicated to promotion and development of economic and social history. The Society supports members through our funding awards for research activity. Our conferences and events provide opportunities to network and improve individual visibility to our wider academic and non-academic community.

The EHS Code of Conduct

All individuals associated with the Society should endeavour to maintain the highest standards of personal and professional conduct.  This Code does not cover research ethics which are covered by the Respect Code of Practice and other funding council/institutional research ethics conduct policies.

Aims

Vision and Charitable Objectives

The principles outlined in this Code of Conduct are aligned with the Society’s Vision and Charitable objectives. This Code, however, does not relate to professional standards (for example, allegations of plagiarism, defamation, corruption, etc.) which should be dealt with by and between institutions and individuals.

Vision

To be the leading UK learned society in Economic and Social History.

Strategic and Charitable Objectives

The objects of the EHS, as stated in its Constitution, are:

  • to promote the study of economic and social history;
  • to establish closer relations between students and teachers of economic and social history;
  • to issue the Economic History Review;
  • to publish and sponsor other publications in the fields of economic and social history;
  • to hold an annual conference, and to hold or participate in any other conference or meeting as may be deemed expedient in accordance with (a) and (b) above;
  • to co-operate with other organisations having kindred purposes.

EHS Membership

Membership is open to all individuals who are:

  • Academic members of staff and practitioners in economic and social history, and related subjects.
  • Postgraduates, researchers, undergraduates and students of economic and social history, and related subjects.
  • Individuals who are concerned with the advancement and development of economic and social history knowledge through research and its dissemination through teaching and research.
  • This Code also applies to non-members who participate in Society-organised, or supported, events during their attendance at such events.

Membership Types and Fees

The membership fees are determined by the Society’s Council. By creating a member profile and providing the Society with your personal information, you consent to the storage and processing of the information provided by you.  The Society’s Privacy Policy, which is GDPR compliant, can be found on the website.  Additionally, individuals warrant that the information provided is accurate. This represents a binding contract between the member and the Society.

The membership year runs for a 12-month period from 1 January – 31 December.  The membership fees should properly reflect the member’s status i.e. once you have your PhD you are regarded as eligible only for full membership; the fees must be paid in full and are non-refundable. Non-payment of membership fees constitutes a breach of the membership contract and will result in cancellation of your membership.  Membership is non transferrable.

Renewing Membership

All members are sent several renewal reminders before membership expires on 31 December.  If a direct debit agreement has been set up, then membership fees will be taken automatically.

Cancellation and Termination of Membership

The reasons/methods for cancelling or terminating membership are:

  • The member writes to terminate their membership.
  • The member does not renew their membership at the end of their membership period.
  • The member does not pay their fees within 1 month of joining.
  • The member does not pay their fees within 1 month of their membership lapsing.
  • The member has been found to have breached/violated any of the principles stated in this Code.

If a breach has occurred, the member’s membership will be terminated, following consultation with the EHS Executive Committee. The member can only be removed from membership by a resolution of the Executive Committee that it is in the best interests of the charity that their membership is terminated. A resolution to remove a member from membership may only be passed if:

  • that member has been given at least 21 days’ notice in writing of the date of a meeting of the Executive Committee at which the resolution will be proposed, and the reason why it is being proposed;
  • that member or, at the option of the member, the member’s representative (who need not be a member of Society) has been allowed to make representations to the meeting as to why their membership should not be terminated.

The Principles of the Code of Conduct

All members are expected to act in accordance with the principles outlined in this document.  The Code is based on seven key principles outlined below:

Responsibility & Accountability

All members should be aware of their ethical, legal and professional responsibilities incumbent to the specific community in which they work, and also to this Society.  All individuals should avoid personal and professional misconduct that might bring the Society or the reputation of the profession into disrepute, recognising that, in particular, legal action that reflects on an individual’s suitability to operate in the field of economic and social history may be regarded as misconduct by the Society.

  • Members are encouraged to advance public knowledge and understanding of economic and social history, and to counter false or misleading statements which are detrimental to the wider community.
  • Members shall encourage and support fellow members in their professional development and, where possible, engage with, and mentor, new entrants to our academic community.
  • Members shall not speak in the name of the Society, its Council or committees, without the authorisation of the Executive Committee.

Integrity & Honesty

All members should:

  • Be honest and accurate in representing their professional affiliations and qualifications, including such matters as knowledge, skill, training, education and experience.
  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that their qualifications and competencies are not misrepresented by others, and to correct any misrepresentation identified.  Members must recognise and clarify the limits of their knowledge, skills, training, qualifications, educations and experience.
  • Be honest and accurate in conveying professional conclusions, opinions, and research findings, and in acknowledging the potential limitations.
  • Not use their membership as a means of conveying a level of competency or professional standards, as the Society is not an accrediting body, and there is no assessment of competency to attain/retain membership.

Respect & Fairness

The EHS is committed to maintaining and promoting a professional environment within which its members treat each other with dignity and respect. All members will not discriminate against, bully or harass others on the basis of: cultural and role difference, including (but not exclusively) those involving: age, disability, education, ethnicity, gender, gender reassignment, language, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital or family status, and socio-economic status.  Members should respect the knowledge, insight, experience and expertise of fellow members, (regardless of career stage and length of EHS membership) relevant third parties, and members of the general public.

The Society recognises as bullying, behaviour that may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient. Bullying does not need to be deliberate; someone may demonstrate bullying behaviour, which falls within the above definition, without intending to. Whichever form it takes, it is unwarranted and unwelcome to the individual and will often cause embarrassment, fear, humiliation or distress to an individual or group of individuals. Bullying often results from a misuse of individual power derived from status/position, physical strength, or force of personality. It can also arise from collective power arising out of strength of numbers.

The EHS recognises as harassment any unwelcome verbal or physical behaviour, including sexual advances, when the unwanted conduct has the purpose or effect of either violating another person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment does not need to be deliberate; someone may harass another person without intending to. In some situations, where the unwanted conduct is serious, a single incident may constitute harassment. In other situations, conduct may become harassment if it is repeated or sustained.

The following list provides examples of the types of behaviour that can amount to harassment, although the list is, by no means, exhaustive:

  • Unwelcome physical contact or physical interaction: This may range from unnecessary touching or brushing against another’s body, physical assault, coercing sexual intercourse, physical threats, insulting or abusive behaviours or gestures. This may also encompass invading someone’s ‘personal space’ by standing very close to him/her where this is unnecessary.
  • Unwelcome verbal conduct: This may include the making of remarks and comments about appearance, lewd comments, sexual advances, innuendo and banter, the making or repetition of offensive or stereotyped comments, jokes or songs, the making of threats. or the making of patronising comments.
  • Unwelcome written or visual interaction: This may include sending unwelcome emails, notes or pictures, displaying or sending offensive material on any EHS social-media/websites/blogs etc.

Harassment, bullying and victimisation of members, or by members by electronic methods

Given the degree of current reliance upon electronic means of communication, it should be specifically noted that harassment, bullying and victimisation by members by electronic means is also unacceptable. For example, this might involve:

  • Sending e-mails (with or without attachments) which breach the terms of this Code.
  • Inappropriate copying of e-mails to parties not seen as relevant to the discussion, as a way of intimidating or inappropriately gaining leverage over other members, guests, volunteers or staff.

Privacy & Confidentiality

All members should respect the individual and collective rights to privacy and maintain confidentiality in compliance with UK and International law and regulations.

Avoidance of Personal Gain

All members should neither offer nor accept bribes or inducements, either on a personal basis or on behalf of the Society.

Conflict of Interest

All members should declare to the Society’s Executive Committee any competing professional or personal interests that may be pertinent to their activities within the EHS and its supported events and research groups.  This includes any professional/academic disputes, whistle-blowing activity within their academic work, and issues/disputes over the member’s research integrity.  Any activities undertaken in the Society’s name must be consistent with the Society’s vision, strategic objectives and the principles outlined in this guide.If a conflict of interest does arise, the individual must inform the Executive Committee and President immediately the matter becomes apparent and must take the following actions:

  • Abstain from the activity in question;
  • declare the conflict of interest and pass the role to a colleague, or;
  • stand down/withdraw from the activity.Failure to do so, may lead to the imposition of actions, including a ban on attendance/participation at specific events or activities, and ultimately termination of their membership.

Collegiality

Collaboration with external learned societies and organisations is encouraged in order to develop the transfer and sharing of knowledge and to help disseminate learning and good practice. If members put in place barriers or are obstructive to such collaboration or act in a way that brings the Society into disrepute through these collaborations they may be in breach of this Code and may face sanctions or termination of their membership.

Summary

This Code of Conduct establishes the principles for all EHS members to adhere to, however, it may not cover every issue that may arise. This Code encourages trust and respect from its members and non-members involved in our activities.

Complaints Procedure

The Society has a complaints procedure for any issues that may arise. The Procedure for investigating allegations of a breach of one of the Economic History Society (EHS) Codes of conduct will normally commence with the Informal Procedure outlined below, however, in exceptional cases if the individual feels that the informal process is not workable in their situation, the formal procedure may be used without exhausting the informal procedure.  This would normally be done upon the advice of the President of the Society in full consultation with the individual concerned.

Informal Procedure

  • A complainant who considers that he or she is a victim of a breach of one of the EHS Codes of conduct should, if practicable, seek to resolve the matter informally with the person against whom the allegation is made.
  • If an informal approach under 1(a) is unsuccessful or inappropriate, complainants should raise the matter with the President of the Society. The President should, within a reasonable time (and recognising that the President is a non-stipendiary post with other obligations):
    • Discuss with the complainant the complaint (this may be done by e-mail, or by telephone, and a record should be kept).
    • Contact the person against whom the complaint has been made, outline the nature of the complaint, and ascertain that person’s response to the complaint.
    • If appropriate, arrange a joint meeting with the parties to discuss the case.
    • Keep a brief written record on file.
  • If the President is the person against whom the complaint is made, paragraph 1(b) shall be interpreted as referring to the Honorary Secretary of the Society. The same applies to the formal procedure under 2(b).

Formal Procedure

  • If the informal procedure fails to resolve the matter, or where, because of the serious nature of the alleged behaviour the informal procedure is deemed to be inappropriate, the complainant may bring a formal complaint under this Procedure.
  • A formal complaint should be made in writing to the President of the Society who will immediately send a copy of the complaint to the person(s) against whom the allegation is made.
  • The President will initiate an investigation of the complaint.
    • An investigation shall be undertaken by a sub-committee of the Executive, appointed by the President in consultation with the Officers.
    • The investigating committee may require the parties and any witnesses (whether or not identified by either party) to present evidence within a reasonable time of the request being made. All evidence will be given in writing (including e-mail). Individuals may also be called to present an oral statement from their written statement. Those who provide evidence should be reminded at the outset that it will be used in order to resolve the matter.
  • The investigating committee will prepare a report which will review the evidence and:
    • recommend that on the basis of the evidence the complaint is dismissed; OR
    • make recommendations for informally resolving the matter (without necessarily attributing blame or responsibility) in a way that seeks to establish and promote a professional and respectful working relationship between the parties using any mediation services that may be available; OR
    • decide that there is a prima facie case to answer and recommend that the matter be dealt with by a formal resolution discussed at a meeting of the Society’s Executive Committee. Notice of 21 days will be given to the subject complained about so they can attend and make their case.

The Executive has the following disciplinary powers:

  • to write a formal letter of censure;
  • to exclude individuals, either temporarily or permanently, from specific Economic History Society organised or supported events or activities
  • to temporarily suspend membership;
  • to suspend membership permanently.

An appeal may be made against the outcome of the investigation, either by the complainant or by the person against whom a complaint has been made; any appeal should be made in writing to the President (or, if the complaint is against the President, the Honorary Secretary). An appeal can be made only on grounds of procedural irregularity or where the outcome of the investigation is seen to be manifestly unreasonable.

General

  • A party or witness acting under any stage of this Procedure who knowingly makes a statement that is untrue, malicious and frivolous or in bad faith may be subject to the disciplinary powers of the Executive Committee detailed under 2(f). The investigating committee should investigate any such action and make recommendations as part of its report.
  • At all stages of this Procedure the complainant, person against whom the complaint has been made or witness may be accompanied by a colleague who does not have to be a member of the Society.
  • All information gathered under this Procedure will be treated in confidence.
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