• Code of Practice

Code of Practice

Manchester Digital Association Code of Practice

This is the new Code of Practice which was adopted at the AGM on Thursday 2 November 2006

Overview

Organisations and individuals who are members of the Manchester Digital Association agree to abide by the Manchester Digital Code of Practice (the Code).

  • The Code shall be applied to all Members without modification or exception.
  • Members can display the Manchester Digital logo as a mark of commitment to good business practice.
  • The Council of the Manchester Digital Association shall administer the Code.
  • Generally the Council will respond only when alerted to breaches of the code: it will not monitor Members' activities for breaches of the Code.
  • The code may be altered by simple majority by the members of the Manchester Digital Association in a general meeting.
  • Members recognise that solely complying with the Code does not necessarily mean that they are acting within the law. Compliance with the code represents "best practice" in addition to any relevant legal obligations.
  • Any reference in the Code to lawfulness or unlawfulness relates solely to the laws of England and Wales.

Terms used

Council means the Council of the Manchester Digital Association.

Customer means customer of a Member.

Complaints Procedure means the complaints procedure set out in this document.

MD means Manchester Digital Association.

Member means a member of MD who has paid the relevant subscription fee.

Officer means an officer of MD such as the Chair or Secretary.

Published Material means information of any form provided or accepted by the member for publication on the Internet or otherwise.

Third Party Content means material accessible using Internet digital facilities provided by or operated by a member, which originates from and/or is owned by one or more third parties (including, for the avoidance of doubt, that Member's Customers).

Aims of the Code of Conduct

MD represents a wide range of Members each with differing interests in addition to the interests of Customers. A code of conduct aims to balance the interests of all these parties.  A code can also bring benefits by way of providing guidance to Members as to what may and may not be considered acceptable by their fellow Members and others.  It is important to the integrity of MD and ultimately the industry within which we operate, that Members conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and in adherence with a set of common values.

Obligations

Members shall abide by the following rules

Core Values

  • Respect/consideration for others. Respect should be displayed at all times.
  • Integrity and honesty. Members should act morally, ethically and honourably.
  • Openness and accountability. Members are responsible for their actions and should ensure transparency.
  • Discretion. Members should respect confidentiality at all times and show prudence and self restraint in the way they communicate; and
  • Common sense. Members are expected to exercise sound, rational judgement.

Published Material

Members shall use their reasonable endeavours to ensure the following:

  • Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not contain anything that is unlawful, nor omit anything that is required by law.
  • Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not promote, encourage or facilitate practices that are unlawful, including, but not limited to,  the production and dissemination of child pornography.
  • Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not contain material inciting violence, cruelty or racial hatred.
  • Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) is not dishonest or misleading.

MD supports the Internet Watch Foundation. Members shall cooperate with MD and the Internet Watch Foundation in its efforts to remove illegal material from Internet web-sites.

Equal Opportunities and Discrimination

MD promotes equal opportunities and as such Members do not discriminate in any respect on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, pregnancy or any other basis protected by law.

The Council will not tolerate a discriminatory environment or the harassment of any Member or Customer in any form. Any complaints of discrimination and/or harassment should be raised with the Chair of the Council (or if this is not appropriate, a Council Member).  Any Member found to be in breach of the duty contained in this section will be immediately expelled from MD without the need for a General Meeting of Members.

Fair Trading

Members must act fairly and reasonably at all times towards people and organisations they trade with.

Members must, upon request, use reasonable means to bring to the attention of their Customers and Suppliers the existence of the Code and the Complaints Procedure.

Members must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that promotional material complies with the provisions of the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion which are supervised by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Employees

Members must act fairly and reasonably towards their employees.

Members should inform their employees about Manchester Digital and this Code.

Customer Contracts

Members shall ensure that they bring their Terms and Conditions to the attention of all new Customers.

Data Protection and Privacy

Members shall comply with UK legislation relating to data protection and should encourage Customers to do likewise.

Media Attention

Members should remember if contacted by the media on an issue concerning MD that they are not obliged to respond.  If they wish to respond they should always state that they cannot and do not speak on behalf of MD.  Members should direct all enquiries regarding MD to the current Chair of the Council.

Best Practice

MD recommends that Members adhere to the following best practice guidelines:

Members should include on their websites the MD logo, with a link to the MD website.

Members should take all reasonable steps to minimize the impact that their business activities have on the environment.

Members should endeavour to ensure that Published Material on websites conforms to best practice guidelines for accessibility, including relevant W3C guidelines.

Members should, where appropriate, have professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves and customers.

Members can help develop the digital sector economy in Manchester by choosing to work and trade with each other.

For the avoidance of doubt, breach of any of these guidelines for best practice set out in this section shall not constitute a breach of the Code.

Complaints Procedure

All members agree to comply with the complaints procedure as set out below.

Each Member shall notify the Council of a single point of contact authorised to deal with complaints and familiar with the MD Complaints procedure.

Where a Customer or other third party (a Complainant) makes a complaint about a Member alleging that the Member has acted in breach of the Code (a Complaint), the following procedure shall apply:

Step 1: Where the Complaint is made to the Member, the Member shall use its reasonable endeavours to resolve the Complaint within four weeks of receipt of notice by email, letter, telephone call or in person.

Where the Complaint is notified to an Officer the Complainant will be asked to contact the relevant Member directly if he/she has not already done so.

Step 2: Where a Complainant informs an Officer that his/her Complaint has not been resolved to his/her satisfaction within the time-frame set out above, the Officer will ask that the Complaint be set out in an email or letter and forward the Complaint to the relevant Member contact.

The Member must respond to the Complainant directly within four weeks, copying an Officer into the response or, where this is not possible, contact an Officer explaining its position in respect of the Complaint.

Step 3: If the complainant remains unsatisfied, and contacts an Officer a second time after the specified time of 5 working days is up, the Council shall within four weeks propose to the parties a method for resolving the dispute. Such methods may include but are not limited to the use of an independent arbitrator or mediator.

If the proposed method for resolving the dispute is not acceptable to one or other of the parties, then the dispute shall be said to have reached deadlock.

If the proposed method is acceptable to the parties, but the subsequent dispute resolution process fails, and no further progress can be made by negotiation, then the dispute shall be said to have reached deadlock.

Step 4: If a complaint reaches deadlock, but the complainant wishes to pursue the matter further, then the complaint shall be referred to Council.

Council may decide to appoint a committee to examine the case further, or may issue its own ruling.

Council and its Officers shall keep confidential, and shall require the relevant Member and the Complainant to keep confidential, the details of any Complaint dealt with using this procedure prior to its resolution.

Sanctions

Where the Council decides that a Member has breached the Code, and having taken all relevant circumstances into account, the Council may:

  • Require the Member to remedy the breach; and/or
  • Require an assurance from the Member, or any associated individual, relating to future behaviour, in terms dictated by the Council; and/or
  • Suspend the Member from MD without any reimbursement of membership fees in whole or in part until such time as the Council is satisfied that the Member has taken adequate steps to ensure that the breach is not repeated; and/or
  • Convene an Extraordinary General Meeting of MD for the purpose of considering a resolution for the expulsion of the Member, in accordance with clause 7(d) of the constitution of the Manchester Digital Association.

Version 3: 31 October 2006

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