Volunteer Code of Conduct

What is the purpose of the Code of Conduct?

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to provide clear guidance on the high standards of conduct and behaviour that we can reasonably expect of one another. It applies to all Pact People (employed staff, casual workers and volunteers) across the Pact Group. It sets out our expectations, enabling us to operate high quality services, with integrity and in accordance with our values, so that we can work well together as colleagues and team mates, for the ultimate benefit of people with convictions and their children and families.

Following this guidance will give you the reassurance that you are contributing in a positive way and upholding our high standards, and the confidence to challenge others who are not. This Code of Conduct should be read in conjunction with our set of policies, procedures and guidance, all of which are available on Pixie (the Pact intranet), or the Volunteer Hub or via your line manager.

Pact employees, workers and volunteers are expected to read and to follow all general Pact policies and procedures, and any guidance specific to your role, and to take responsibility for your own understanding of your personal obligations and development. If there is anything that you do not understand or need guidance on, please do seek support from your manager.


At Pact, we believe that we are a special kind of organisation. We are genuinely driven by our sense of Mission, our Vision for a better Society, and we are guided by our Values. We hope that these are the main reasons that you work for us, whether as an employee or as a voluntary worker. We do not expect our people to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But if you choose to work for Pact, it means you share our values, and that you are making a personal commitment to working in a way which demonstrates this. If you work for us, it means that you understand that our values are not negotiable.

For over 100 years, our reputation, our resilience, and our successes, have been built on the commitment and the conduct of the people who work for us. We depend on the goodwill of funders, commissioners, donors and prisons. We therefore have to treat very seriously any behaviour which risks bringing our reputation into disrepute.

For the good of the work we do and the people who we serve, we will therefore take action to address what we might reasonably regard as significant failures to abide by Pact’s values, as outlined in this Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct sets out some of the principal expectations on Pact workers with regards to behaviour. It is not exhaustive, and does not attempt to provide detailed examples of every possible eventuality. Taken together with our other policies, which provide more specific direction and guidance on different topics, the Code of Conduct is a guide to Pact workers on our expectations to behave reasonably and in accordance with our Values at all times. We have a number of policies that should be read in conjunction with our Code of Conduct, such as

Dignity at Work, Equal Opportunities, Whistleblowing and Anti-Bribery & Corruption. Some are more relevant to our employees and paid workers than volunteers – please discuss with your manager which are relevant to you. Policies can be found in the Policy Directory on Pixie (Pact intranet) and Pact’s Volunteer Hub.

Our Mission

Our mission is to support prisoners and their families to make a fresh start, and to minimise the harm that can be caused by imprisonment on people with convictions, on families and on communities.

Our Vision

Our vision is of a society in which justice is understood as a process of restoration and healing, in which prisons are used sparingly and as places of learning and rehabilitation, and in which the innate dignity and worth of every human being is valued.

Our Values

Believe: To respect the innate dignity and worth of every human being, and believe in the possibility of their rehabilitation and redemption, no matter what they have done.

Listen: To consult and involve users of our services to ensure that we remain responsive and sensitive to their needs.

Respect: To respect and value diversity and promote equality of opportunity.

Co-operate: To be a collaborative organisation, working co-operatively and in a spirit of partnership with the Prison Service and organisations with whom we share objectives and where this may result in improved outcomes.

Learn: To be a learning organisation, committed to developing our people, and to learning from others and from each other.

Excel: To provide quality services, and to monitor and evaluate our work.

Involve: To encourage and facilitate the involvement of volunteers and community and faith-based organisations to harness the goodwill, skills and energies of individuals who share our goals and values.

Connect: To break down barriers between the prison system and communities.

Create: To be innovative and develop models of working and best practice which may be mainstreamed by Her Majesty's Prison Service and others.


Pact is a charity rooted in Catholic Social Teaching. We hope all our people will understand that this means we are inclusive & welcoming to all. We celebrate our rich diversity, and believe it is healthy that our workforce reflects the people who use our services. We warmly welcome people of all faiths, and people of no faith. Simple expressions of faith are perfectly acceptable, including the wearing of crosses or other religious clothing or objects. We understand that people’s faith, identity and heritage are important to them, and are worthy of respect.

We respect the rights of all our staff and volunteers to hold personal views, including political opinions and affiliations. However, it is not appropriate for staff or volunteers to canvas or actively promote political causes during their work with us, or to actively seek to recruit service users or colleagues to a particular faith group. We would in particular regard the promotion, display or distribution of ideas or material or inappropriate behaviour that contradicts the spirit of our equal opportunities and diversity policy as a very serious matter.

Part A: General Standards

  1. As a member of the Pact team, I will ensure that my conduct when at Pact, is, and is seen to be, of the highest standards and in keeping with Pact’s values and aims.
    1. I will treat all people fairly and with respect and dignity and recognise the professional opinion of others. I will be accountable for my actions and will not use unequal power relationships for my own benefit.
    2. I will work with others in an open and participative way, co-operating both within Pact and with partner organisations to support the delivery of high quality, safe and compassionate services and support for people with convictions, their children and families and friends.
    3. I will take responsibility for the quality and timeliness of my own work to contribute to achieving organisational objectives.
    4. I will work within policies and procedures relevant to my role at Pact and with the rules operated by HM Prison & Probation Service or other partner organisations relating to my area of work. Pact is a trusted partner in the criminal justice sector, and I understand it is paramount that Pact People comply with all rules governing safety, security and risk management.
    5. I will seek to ensure that my personal conduct does not compromise Pact’s values and does not impact on or undermine my ability to undertake my role.
    6. I will dress appropriately by complying with Pact’s Dress Code (Part B) and will observe good standards of personal hygiene and cleanliness.
    7. I will behave reasonably, honestly, professionally and ethically, and avoid saying or doing anything that might damage the reputation of Pact or bring the organisation into disrepute as a consequence of failure to meet these expectations.
    8. I will not give interviews or provide information to the media unless I have been specifically authorised to do so. I will not disclose information that is confidential or may be used to harm Pact or create risk to any individual, including on social media.
    9. I will not work under the influence of alcohol and I will not use or be in possession of, illegal substances whilst at work or when representing Pact at external functions
    10. I will not accept significant gifts or any remuneration from service users, beneficiaries, partners, donors, suppliers and other persons, which have been offered to me as a result of my connection with Pact.
    11. I will not develop a personal relationship with a service user or ex-service user where a relationship through Pact has existed (for exceptions refer to Part C of the Code of Conduct).
    12. I will inform my manager of any person I know or have had any kind of relationship with, who becomes a Pact service user or a potential Pact service user. (see declaring conflicts of interest.
    13. I will help to maintain a positive working environment for everyone by not gambling, betting or running sweepstakes, undertaking the unauthorised sale of goods or making collections on the premises without prior management permission.
  2. As a member of the Pact team, I will be responsible for the use of information and resources to which I have access by reason of my connection with Pact.
    1. I will ensure that I use Pact information, funds and resources entrusted to me in a responsible and cost effective manner and account for all money and property, following the appropriate policy and procedural requirements. Resources and property include
      1. Money donated to Pact
      2. Money gained from sales of prison visits refreshment services
      3. Stock
      4. Telephones, photocopiers, fax machines and stationery
      5. Other equipment or resources belonging to Pact, such as group- work course material
      6. Computers including the use of email, internet and intranet
      7. Information that is confidential or restricted concerning Pact and/or individuals including service users
    2. I will not falsify data or records or deliberately present misleading information. I will make every effort to ensure that reports to management, funders and commissioners, are accurate, honest and truthful.
  3.  As a member of the Pact team, I will do my part to ensure the safety, health and welfare of myself and others who may be affected by my actions and omissions including Pact employees, volunteers and service users.
    1. I will adhere to all legal and Pact and/or partner organisation health and safety requirements in force at the location of my work.
    2. I will comply with all security and risk guidelines and other standard operating procedures, and be pro-active in informing management of any necessary changes to such guidelines.
    3. I will behave in such a way as to avoid any unnecessary risk to the safety, health and welfare of myself and others, including partner organisations and service users.
  4. I will perform my duties and conduct my private life in a manner that avoids possible ‘conflicts of interest’ with the work of Pact and my work as a member of the Pact team (see Part D).
    1. I will strive to avoid any conflict of interest between the interests of Pact on the one hand, and personal, professional, and business interests on the other. This includes avoiding actual conflicts of interest as well as the perception of conflicts of interest.
    2. I will consult my line manager if I am concerned about any potential, real or perceived conflicts of interest.
    3. If on the advice of my manager I am asked to complete a declaration form, I will do so, promptly and honestly.
    4. Should my personal interests change I will notify my manager so that the form can be updated.
    5. I am aware that the declaration will be retained on file by Pact, whilst I am working for the organisation (whether as an employee or volunteer). I understand that it will be stored securely and treated as confidential information in accordance with Pact’s Information Security Standards (ISO27001) and the General Data Protection Regulations. I understand that it will only be shared only with Pact personnel who have a genuine professional reasons to be aware. This will be determined by a manager with the appropriate level of authority.
    6. I will follow any reasonable advice, guidance or directions from my manager with regard to managing any real or potential conflicts of interests to protect my own reputation and that of Pact.
    7. For Employees only: I will not accept any additional employment or consultancy work outside of Pact without advising management to ensure there is no conflict of interest and that I remain within legal limits in respect of working hours.
  5. As a member of the Pact team, I will avoid involvement in any criminal activities, or activities that compromise the work of Pact, and where I have concerns about activities taking place at Pact, I will raise my concerns.
    1. If I become aware of any form of illegal activity which has or could have any impact on Pact, I will make it known to the appropriate authorities.
    2. I will notify the organisation if I am arrested or charged with any criminal offence or convicted during my employment, work or volunteering with Pact.
    3. If I become aware of any form of malpractice at Pact, I will seek to raise these concerns within Pact following the Whistleblowing policy and procedure.

Part B: Dress Code

The dress code for all Pact People (employees, casual workers and volunteers) is intended to ensure that Pact people present a professional appearance and do not place themselves at risk in any way. When referring to staff in this policy, it is intended to mean paid and unpaid staff and volunteers.

The dress code for different work sites may vary, but for all areas, you should be tidy and not dress in a way that would give offence. The way you dress sends out a message as to the type of organisation we are. Please take care to present a professional image. It is recognised that there may be cultural variations in what it acceptable and this will be taken into account in the code.

All staff should wear their Pact name badges during working hours and all staff should wear them at official Pact functions.

The following are the dress requirements for specific types of work:


You should dress in a smart and professional manner, to give a good impression to visitors. You are generally discouraged from wearing jeans or casual wear, excessive jewellery, t-shirts with slogans or clothes that would generally be considered inappropriate to a professional workplace.

External facing roles

Managers and others whose role includes representing Pact in meetings, for example, with Governors, senior probation officers, funders or others in influential positions, should adopt a smart, formal business like style.

Visitors' Centres, mentoring and court projects

  • Clothing should not be too revealing, i.e. trousers or jeans should not be skin-tight, skirts should not be too short and tops not low cut or revealing. In visitors centres, staff must comply with the clothing requirements of visitors e.g. no ripped jeans.
  • Crop tops should not be worn unless this is part of a national dress, for instance with a sari
  • Vest tops should not be worn
  • Shorts should not be worn
  • Tracksuits should not be worn
  • Leggings should not be worn unless a knee length garment is worn over them
  • Any body piercing jewellery beyond ear-rings and/or a nose stud should not be worn whilst at work
  • It is not recommended that staff obviously wear valuable jewellery
  • In the refreshment bars, shoes should be worn that will ensure the safety of those working there, i.e. not flip flops or other very open sandals. Protective clothing should be worn by those preparing food, e.g. tabard, pinafore
  • In Visitors' Centres, if high heels are worn, they should not be so high that they prevent a member of staff moving quickly around the centre, for instance in case of an incident or emergency
  • Underwear should not be visible
  • Unless required by the prison, key belts and chains should not be worn in the visitors' centre
  • Clothing should not be worn that looks like a prison uniform, e.g. black trousers and white shirt, or prisoner clothing.

Catering areas

In order to comply with food hygiene legislation:

  • Clean aprons are to be worn and should not be removed before leaving the catering facilities
  • Enclosed, low heeled footwear should be worn
  • Long hair should be tied back or covered
  • Only plain wedding bands should be worn - no other jewellery
  • No strong perfume should be worn

Prison-based play areas

  • The same restrictions apply as above, except for tracksuits, which may be worn in play projects as we recognise, when working with children, you need to be comfortable and able to move around freely. However great care should be taken to avoid clothing which resembles prisoner clothing.
  • No high heels should be worn when working with children
  • It is recommended that ear-rings should be studs or small so that children cannot pull them and cause injury
  • Also please note comments under "other staff working in prisons" below.

Other staff working in prisons

The same guidelines and restrictions apply as to the Visitors' Centre staff. However in addition when working in any prison where there is any contact with prisoners (including being seen by prisoners in the visits hall), workers should remember that in British prisons, prisoners are not permitted conjugal visits, and many are therefore experiencing a degree of sexual frustration. Workers should also be mindful that some prisoners will be sex offenders; it is therefore even more important that clothing is not revealing in any way as this may invite very unwelcome attention.

For all Pact workers working in prisons, the clothing worn should be in keeping with health and safety considerations. This includes not wearing anything that may put other people at risk. It is not safe to wear stiletto heeled shoes as they could be used as a weapon by a prisoner. No steel toe-caps are allowed.

In order to ensure personal safety, workers who draw keys should never wear their belt and chain on public roads outside prison or visitors' centre grounds.

Part C: 'Known' Persons Procedure & Declaration

Should you become aware that a person who you know, or with whom you have had any kind of previous relationship, becomes a Pact service user or a potential Pact service user (such as a prisoner or prisoner’s family member), you must immediately inform your manager and seek advice; you will be asked to complete the “Known person declaration”.

For the avoidance of doubt, this would include people which whom you may only have a passing acquaintance, or people you have not seek for a long time, as well as family, friends, neighbours and people with whom you have had a brief or long term personal relationship. Intimate relationships with known current or former service users are strictly forbidden. If in any doubt whatsoever, you must disclose to your manager and seek and act upon their direction. Services staff may also be required to complete a prison IR form and submit this to the relevant establishment.

Relationships Between Staff

It is not unusual for people to form relationships with work colleagues. Whilst intimate relationships between employees are not forbidden, care and sensitivity should be shown to minimise any disruption to work or working relationships with colleagues, and to avoid conflicts of interest that might naturally arise, such as in cases where

there is a ‘power dynamic’ (for example, a relationship between a member of staff and their manager). Also, as Pact has a positive approach to the employment of ex- service users, some of whom may still be on license conditions, great care should be taken to avoid any real or perceived conflicts of interest. This is a sensitive area.

Should you have any concerns about how to manage a situation, please consult your line manager or the HR team for advice. Unless there is a potential risk of harm, or a prison security issue, advice can be sought and obtained in confidence.

Known Person Declaration

This form is to be used should any person within the scope of our services be known to you in any kind of personal capacity, or become known to you at any time in your employment with us. This would include any prisoner(s), person(s) with convictions in the community, a person on trial in a criminal court, a family member or prisoner’s friend who uses our services. It would also include prison officers or any other person with whom we have a professional working relationship where boundaries and professional integrity are required. If in doubt as to whether to make a declaration, please do so, or seek the advice of your manager.

The purpose of sharing this information is In order that we can minimise any risk of harm to you and others. This includes avoiding any risk to your reputation, minimising the risk of grooming or conditioning, trafficking of contraband or intimidation. It is also to ensure that we can support you in maintaining good professional boundaries at all times.

How this information will be treated by Pact

This information will be held securely in an encrypted file in accordance with our information security standards (iso27001) and General Data Protection Regulations. It will only be shared with other Pact employees or employees of HMPPS who have a genuine and legitimate professional reason to be made aware for the reasons outlined above. This will be determined by a manager such as your Services Manager, your regional Head of Services, or a member of SLT. The information will be held for the duration of your employment with us but will be destroyed should you leave our employment, unless we are required to retain it by law.

Your Pact manager may reasonably instruct you to complete and submit an IR form for Prison Security, or complete an IR form with you or on your behalf. Any reasonable support or assistance in completing this form, or an IR form, will be provided to you at your request. Pact has no authority to impose conditions on Ministry of Justice agencies including HMPPS on the treatment or retention of information submitted under an IR, however, as you employer, we have a duty of care to you and would expect any personal information regarding our employees to be handled with the appropriate level of security and discretion. Any concerns you may have now or in the future about the treatment of any information you have disclosed should be brought to the attention of your manager.


Part D: Conflict of Interests


A conflict of interest is any situation in which a person’s personal interests or loyalties could, or could be seen to, prevent them from making a decision only in the best interests of Pact.

Abiding by our Code of Conduct on Conflict of Interest means that we work with you openly and transparently to protect your reputation, and ensure that there is a relationship of trust between us. It protects the integrity of Pact’s decision-making processes, and enables everyone involved to have confidence that we are working ethically, morally and legally.

Having or declaring a conflict of interest does not mean that you will be disqualified from working for Pact or continuing in your role. It simply means that we need to take greater care to ensure that everything is open and above board. Most importantly, making a declaration means that your reputation is protected. Failing to declare a conflict of interest could in some circumstances result in action being taken

Conflicts of interest, or of loyalty, can take many forms. Here are a few examples:

  • A manager is in a relationship with another member of staff and there is decision to be taken on staff pay and/or conditions or allocation of duties.
  • A volunteer is a professional journalist whose employer wishes to gain access to confidential information or service users for a media story.
  • A part-time employee is working for another organisation which is in direct competition for funding and is interested in gaining access to our know-how.
  • A staff member who purchases catering or stationery supplies has a close friend or family member who works for one of the potential suppliers.

These examples are for illustration only. If in any doubt, seek advice from your manager.