INTRODUCTION

1.1 The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, issued by the Government in 2016, requires all State bodies to have written Codes of Business Conduct for Board Members and employees. As a means of ensuring adherence to best practice, the Board of Abbey Theatre Amharclann na Mainistreach has formally adopted the contents of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.

1.2 This document contains the basic rules and policies governing the business practice of Abbey Theatre Amharclann na Mainistreach (hereinafter called “the Abbey Theatre”). It supports the Abbey Theatre’s commitment to the highest standards of business conduct and has been prepared to assist Board Members and employees in understanding their rights, duties and obligations as persons connected with the Abbey Theatre.  This code is binding and requires that each Board Member and member of staff be familiar with it.

1.3 The Code of Business Conduct is essentially a description of proper attitudes that should govern the behaviour of Board Members and employees. It is important not to view the code as a comprehensive list of “dos” and don’ts” but rather as a tool to assist people in being mindful of the requirement for integrity, loyalty, lawfulness/compliance, professionalism, confidentiality and fairness in all aspects of the Abbey Theatre’s business.

1.4 The main objectives of the Code are as follows:

  • To establish a set of ethical principles for all Board Members and employees;
  • To promote and maintain confidence and trust in the Abbey Theatre;
  • To prevent the development, continuance or acceptance of unethical practices;
  • To ensure that the Abbey Theatre’s business is transacted with fairness and integrity.

1.5 In general, Board Members and employees are expected both personally and professionally to behave in a fashion which reflects positively on their association with the Abbey Theatre. The Abbey Theatre will not accept discrimination of any form including sex, marital status, family status, age, sexual orientation, disability, race and creed.  All persons connected with the Abbey Theatre must avoid any practice or conduct in the workplace which amounts to racist, religious or sexual discrimination or harassment of any kind.

This Code sets out the basic principles of integrity, confidentiality, professionalism, loyalty and lawfulness/compliance required from Board Members and employees.

INTEGRITY

2.1 The principle of integrity is that each Board Member and employee should be open, truthful and honest in all his/her dealings with the Abbey Theatre and in all business dealings or transactions on behalf of the Abbey Theatre.  In practice, the most important requirement under this heading is that there should be no conflict of interest between the work of the Board Member or employee in the Abbey Theatre and any outside personal interest.

2.2 The following are examples of factors or circumstances which might give rise to the existence of such a conflict of interest when a transaction is being considered by the Abbey Theatre with an outside company or firm:

  • If the Board Member/employee carries on business with that company or firm;
  • If the Board Member/employee holds shares or other ownership or proprietry interest in that company or firm;
  • If the Board Member/employee is either a debtor or creditor of that company or firm;
  • If the Board Member/employee holds any office, whether as a Board Member, employee, advisor or otherwise of such company, whether for remuneration or not;
  • If the Board Member/employee is conducting, or has conducted, transactions with that company or firm.

2.3 Integrity means the inherent knowledge of right and wrong and the adherence to generally accepted moral principles. It includes the following:

  • Disclosure by Board Members and employees of outside business interests in conflict or potential conflict with the business of the Abbey Theatre;
  • Avoidance by Board Members and employees of outside business interests in conflict or potential conflict with the business of the Abbey Theatre and disclosure should it occur;
  • Maintenance of the confidentiality and security of any restricted or confidential information or not using such information for personal gain or abuse of one’s position in any way;
  • Drawing only official remuneration in respect of official activities; refraining from giving or receiving corporate gifts, hospitality, preferential treatment or benefits which might affect or appear to affect the ability of the donor or the recipient to make independent judgment on business transactions. See Appendix 1 – Procedure for Accepting Corporate Gifts.
  • Refraining from using the Abbey Theatre’s reputation or resources for personal gain and avoiding outside influences which conflict with or impair work performance in any way;
  • Commitment to act in the best interests of the Abbey Theatre in all dealings with external agencies, but also ethically and honestly;
  • Purchasing goods/services in accordance with best practice.

Board Members and employees are required to file a declaration of interests with the Secretary and to ensure that this declaration is updated as necessary.  See Appendix 2 – Employee Declaration of Interests (Designated Positions of Employment) and Appendix 3 – Directors’ Declaration of Interests (Designated Directorships).

 Note: Please contact the Company Secretary for clarification on any of the appendices referred to above.

CONFIDENTIALITY

3.1 In the course of employment or term of office as Board Member, at whatever level, information in relation to the Abbey Theatre becomes available to all Board Members and employees. Most of this information is confidential to the Abbey Theatre.  Such information should never be used for personal benefit.  Confidential information on the Abbey Theatre should not be disclosed to third parties, including media.  Board Members and employees should respect the confidentiality of information received from those with whom the Abbey Theatre does business and should ensure that no improper use of such information is made.

3.2 Every effort is taken by the company to ensure that customer information is treated with absolute confidentiality and the following provisions are to be noted in particular:

  • Employees and Board Members are expected to keep all information concerning the organisation, its customers, third parties, and any other connected organisation with whom they are involved as an employee or Board Member of the company, absolutely confidential. Any deliberate breach of confidence shall be regarded as a very serious matter. This requirement for confidentiality extends beyond the period of employment or term in office as Board Member.
  • Employees and Board Members should deliver to the Company or destroy (whichever is most appropriate), on termination of employment or term in office as Board Member, or at any time it may so request, all documents, notes, records, manuals, programmes or any other materials or property belonging to the Company or any organisations associated with or connected to the Abbey Theatre or relating to customers and/or third parties, which the employee or Board Member may then possess or have under his/her control. Copies may not be kept without the Abbey Theatre’s consent.

3.3 Employees or Board Members may not remove from the Abbey Theatre’s premises at any time, without proper advance authorisation, any document or other property which belongs to the organisation or contains or refers to any confidential information relating to the organisation, its customers, third parties or any organisations associated with or connected to the Abbey Theatre. The employee or Board Member must return to the organisation, post termination of employment or term in office as Board Member, any documents or other organisation property that subsequently comes into his/her possession in the future.

3.4 It is the Abbey Theatre’s policy to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003.

3.5 In summary, confidentiality means respecting and protecting the privacy of the Abbey Theatre’s affairs and activities and includes the following:

  • Non-disclosure of any restricted or confidential information
  • Safeguarding sensitive information held by the Abbey Theatre in confidence
  • Exercising care in the storage of mail, documents and the disposal of records either electronic or paper
  • Seeking approval from the Chief Executive(s)[1] prior to publishing information to the media, and also seeking approval from the Chief Executive(s) for lectures, letters or books relating to or potentially relating to the affairs of the Abbey Theatre
  • Complying with relevant statutory provisions including, where applicable, the Data Protection Acts 1998 and 2003 and Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001.

PROFESSIONALISM

4.1 Professionalism can be defined as striving for excellence in all dealings on behalf of the Abbey Theatre. The standard of the services which the Abbey Theatre provides rely heavily on the contribution of each individual in their capacity as a Board Member or member of staff.

Professionalism embraces the following:

  • Respecting the dignity of customers and colleagues alike
  • Being courteous at all times
  • Endeavouring to give regular and committed attendance to your post
  • Attending all meetings and committees on which you serve
  • Avoiding unfair treatment of customers and colleagues
  • Compliance with technical and professional standards pertaining to the position held and best practice generally

LOYALTY

5.1 All Board Members and employees owe loyalty and commitment to the Abbey Theatre in all its business activities. Board Members and employees should ensure that any of their outside activities do not in any way impair their ability to give regular, punctual and satisfactory service to the Abbey Theatre.  In practice, a Board Member or employee should avoid circumstances where his/her loyalty to the Abbey Theatre is, or might be, capable of being interpreted as being compromised.

5.2 Board Members and employees are not permitted to give or receive gifts, favours, hospitality services, payments, privileges or preferential treatment of any kind or nature whatsoever to or from any individual, enterprise or organization which conducts or seeks to conduct business with the Abbey Theatre unless:

  • To do so would not affect or appear to affect the employee’s ability to make independent judgment on business transactions
  • To do so would be consistent with good business practice within the industry
  • Public disclosure of the transaction would not embarrass the Abbey Theatre
  • To do so would impose no obligations on the Board Member, employee or the Abbey Theatre

5.3 All personal gifts should be notified to the recipient’s immediate line manager and no personal gifts of money should be accepted.

5.4 In summary, loyalty means being faithful to the Abbey Theatre and includes:

  • Protecting the good name of the Abbey Theatre
  • Being committed in all Abbey Theatre’s business transactions
  • Acknowledging the duty of all to conform to the highest standards of business ethics

LAWFULNESS/COMPLIANCE

6.1 It is the Abbey Theatre’s policy to comply with all relevant statutory and regulatory requirements. It is the Abbey Theatre’s policy at all times to adhere to best business practice in all its operations.  In accordance with this policy each Board Member and employee should:

  • Comply with all Health & Safety Regulations and the Abbey Theatre’s Safety Statement in their day to day activities
  • Comply with all internal regulations and procedures designed to prevent fraud or injury to persons, the property of the Abbey Theatre, or the interests of the Abbey Theatre generally
  • Complying with tendering and purchasing procedures
  • Ensuring insofar as is possible, that any business venture or transaction which is at variance with legal or regulatory requirements or which might be associated or regarded as supportive of illegal or criminal activities, are not entered into on behalf of the Abbey Theatre.

6.2 The statutes and regulations to which the Abbey Theatre must comply with includes:

  • Equality Act 1998
  • Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000
  • Data Protection Act 1998 and Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
  • Ethics in Public Office Acts 1995 and 2001
  • Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act 2005
  • Consumer Protection Acts 2007
  • Charities Act 2009
  • Companies Act 2014
  • Protected Disclosures Act 2014
  • Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
  • Employment Acts
  • Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies 2016
  • Public Procurement Guidelines
  • Licensing Acts
  • Finance Acts (Taxation)

PUBLIC INTEREST DISCLOSURE (Whistle-Blowing)

 7.1 The Abbey Theatre acknowledges its duty to conduct its affairs in accordance with high standards of integrity, propriety, accountability and openness. To this end, the Abbey Theatre encourages members of staff to raise genuine and serious concerns about malpractice in the workplace at the earliest practicable stage.

7.2 The Abbey Theatre’s Public Interest Disclosure (Whistle-Blowing) Policy sets out a process whereby employees who have concerns about malpractice may, in good faith, raise those concerns at a high level in the Abbey Theatre, outside of normal line management, and without fear of detriment.

CODE REVIEW

 8.1 This code will be reviewed every three years, or more frequently, if required, to ensure that it remains relevant and appropriate to the needs of the Abbey Theatre.

This code should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Bullying & Harassment Policy
  • Diversity Policy
  • Child Protection Policy
  • Recruitment Policy
  • Communications Policy
  • Social Media Governance Policy
  • Whistle-blowing Policy

 

[1] Referred to as Artistic Directors

Download the Appendices to the Code of Business Conduct here.