mySociety is dedicated to a harassment-free experience for our employees, our volunteers, our contacts and our partners, online and offline. This page sets out our anti-harassment policy and tells you where you can report violations.
Code of Conduct for all mySociety activities
mySociety is dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, beliefs or religious opinions. We do not tolerate bullying or harassment of anyone within mySociety’s sphere of activities, in any form, online or offline. mySociety staff members are required to sign up to this Code of Conduct as part of their contracts of employment, and breaches may be treated as a disciplinary offence. We expect our staff members to set a good example.
This code of conduct applies to all mySociety activities, including conferences, workshops, social events, social media, and mailing lists. It also applies to all interactions between colleagues, and with partners, clients and external contacts via any means, including face-to-face meetings, email, online chat, video calls or any other channel of communication.
Finally, it applies to communication to and from the users of our services.
Please note that this form is NOT the appropriate channel to make complaints about the running of our services TheyWorkForYou, WriteToThem, FixMyStreet or WhatDoTheyKnow. Each of these has their own complaints process, and complaints made by any other channel are routed back to them, as appropriate.
If you are a member of staff please report any incident directly to HR or your line manager.
How to report an incident
For mySociety staff members, report any issues directly to HR or your line manager. For non-staff members, you can make an online report, which may be anonymous, via this form. This will send an alert to a mySociety team member, who will deal with your issue as promptly as possible, and, if requested (and if you have provided contact details), respond to you with the outcome.
Violations of this code may also be reported face-to-face to any member of the mySociety team at events.
We encourage you to report behaviour you find offensive even if it isn’t directed at you. We want to ensure we’re aware of and can act on all incidents that take place.
How we will respond to an incident
If the person who is harassing you is on the incident response team, they will remove themselves from handling your case.
We will conduct a confidential investigation into the issue you’ve raised. This will involve speaking with witnesses, and gathering other sources of evidence, in order to establish what happened. The person investigating will do their best to be fair and objective – their role is to get balanced evidence from both sides. Therefore, if you have complained about a specific person we will tell them there has been a complaint (withholding your name) and ask for their version of events, unless we judge there’s a risk they might tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. The person investigating will be asked to make a recommendation to the rest of the team about what action needs to be taken.
We will act as promptly as we can to resolve the situation. In a live event situation, speed may be of the essence; however, we will do our best not to let that compromise fairness.
What constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct?
Violations include, but are not limited to:
- Offensive or personal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, beliefs or religion
- Aggressive language or behaviour towards an individual
- Use of status or power to coerce other/s into acting against their will
- Sexual comments or images shared in public or directly to an individual, without permission
- Inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome sexual attention
- Photography or recording of specific participants unless explicit permission has been given*
- Sustained disruption of talks or other events
- Deliberate intimidation; following or stalking
- Exclusion or victimisation
- Unfair treatment
Those asked to cease in any of the behaviour listed above will be expected to comply immediately. On receiving a report of violations, mySociety staff may take any action deemed appropriate for the investigation, including warning the offender; expulsion from an event with no refund; or blocking them from use of our online channels.
If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact the mySociety team using the reporting process set out above. All reports will be handled in the strictest confidence.
What we expect
In all mySociety activities, we expect participants to:
- Contribute towards a safe and productive environment where everyone feels able to express themselves without prejudice
- Listen to others’ ideas and contributions; allow everyone to have a chance to speak
- Discuss any disagreements that arise in a respectful and objective manner
- Pay attention when others voice their discomfort or state their boundaries
- Challenge or report any behaviour which does not adhere to this code of conduct
- If you are unsure whether your planned behaviour or comments may cause discomfort to others: ask.
If you need extra help
Please let us know, as soon as possible in advance, if you require any form of support in order to participate in mySociety activities. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.
Communication with mySociety staff
Where phone, email and online messages sent to mySociety staff or volunteers are threatening, aggressive, offensive or otherwise inappropriate, we will, at our discretion, cease further communication with the instigator. We may additionally block them from future use of our services. Where a message is of particular concern, we will report it to the police.
Harassment and other code of conduct violations reduce the value of our community for everyone. We want you to be happy in our community. Think before you speak, act, or tweet, and you’ll be helping to make a better experience for all.
*Photography and videoing of presentations is generally permitted, unless stated beforehand.
We sometimes video and photograph mySociety events for use on our blog and social media. We often have a system in place to identify those who do not wish to be recorded. If you would prefer not to feature in photographs or videos, please make this known to one of the team at the beginning of the event.
This code was last updated: April 2023
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