This Code of Conduct set out principles and guidelines to help members of the Parish Committee in the conduct of their duties and to ensure high standards of professionalism, integrity and efficiency is maintained.
This Code of Conduct should be ratified at the first meeting of the Parish Committee. Additions, deletions and amendments are the Domain of the Bishop of the Diocese. It is expected that the code will be modified from time to time as issues arise at the directions of the Bishop of the Diocese. Notwithstanding such amendments all sections of the code are binding on its members of the Parish Committee.
Principle 1 Leadership
Membership of the Parish Committee is a position of trust. Members are elected or appointed to the Board in the main because they have been identified as leaders. Leadership in the Christian sense has stewardship and service at its heart.
Members of the Parish Committee are expected to show leadership in the following areas:
(i) Technical Leadership: Competency and Efficiency in the conduct of meetings, promptness and preparedness for meetings, consideration of options, record keeping, timeliness of decision making, thoroughness and appropriateness of discussions. Strategic development, budgeting, responsiveness to the needs of the parish and the ability to evaluate proposals.
(ii) Human Leadership: Harness the energy, enthusiasm and trust of the parish members.
(iii) Intellectual Leadership. Have and develop a sound understanding of the issues, laws, rules and regulations that affect the life of the Parish.
(iv) Symbolic leadership: Model Christian behaviour, goals and aspirations that are central to the ethos of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Diocese of Melbourne.
(v) Community Leadership: Lead the community by defining, strengthening and articulating the faith, values and practices that identify the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Diocese of Melbourne.
Principle 2: Stewardship:
A Member of the Parish Committee is a steward and guardians of the heritage of Coptic Orthodox Church, the Diocese of Melbourne and of their local Parish. Thus they owe loyalty to the inheritance they have received and a duty to maintain that heritage and must not make a decision that diminishes it.
The local parish, the Diocese of Melbourne and the Coptic Orthodox Church should never be picture as competing entities and having varying or conflicting interests. It would be unethical to contrive a position that places the interest of the wider Diocese at odds with the interest of the local parish. Stewardship of the inheritances and the ultimate good of the whole church must therefore be at the heart of every decision taken by the Board.
Principal 3: Lawful Conduct.
A member of the Parish Committee must abide by the Laws of Australia, the State of Victoria, the Constitution of the Diocese of Melbourne & Affiliated Regions in letter and spirit. A Parish Committee must honour all obligations, commitments, contracts, and act honestly and in good faith in the conduct of business dealings.
A member of the Parish Committee is duty bound to obey the lawful directions of the Bishop of the Diocese, include the requirements to follow certain practises and procedures.
Principle 4: Duty of Care and Good Faith.
A member of the Parish Committee must exercise reasonable skills, prudence and act in good faith in the best interest of the Diocese of Melbourne and the Local Parish. Members are duty bound to ensure that the Board is well managed, addresses the key tasks and devotes sufficient time to address issues properly.
Board members must satisfy themselves that they have sufficient, regular and timely information to discharge their duties diligently. While individual members should have the freedom and the opportunity to express their views without fear or favour they must draw a distinction between their personally held views and what is in the best interest of the Parish. In voting Board members should cast their vote based on wisdom and fact rather than emotion.
Principle 5: Serve the Interests of the Parish.
Board members must ensure the financial viability of the parish and its good management. Principles of Risk Managements and the long term viability of the Parish must be paramount in the minds of Board members when making decisions.
A board member must avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest. Thus a board member may not use their position on the Board to gain personal advantages either directly or for related parties. A Board member must act in the best interest of the parish.
Each Board member must disclose all conflicts of interest or potential conflict of interest. Where a conflict of interest or a potential conflict of interest is identified the matter must be referred to the Bishop of the Diocese. The member who may have a potential conflict of interest must be absent during discussion and voting on the matter in question.
Should an allegation of impropriety or misconduct arise it must be brought to the immediate attention of the Bishop and should not be a matter of discussion in the Board.
Principle 6: Use of Privileged information:
A member of the Parish Committee must not make improper use of information acquired by virtue of the position they hold on the board. This information includes but is not limited details of discussions during the deliberation of the Board or how members voted. Parishioners privacy must be respected. The developing of the identity of gift givers or the release of names, contact details or private information of parishioners is unethical. The use of the Parish’s database to advance the interest of a Board member or the interests or a related party constitutes a breach of trust and should be treated as misconduct.
A Board member must not knowingly or recklessly disseminated false or misleading information or information that may be damaging to the person or reputation of any member of the parish.
Principle 7: Good Governance Practice
Board Members agree to uphold the following code of behaviour:
Understand and have empathy with the needs of the parish and the aspirations of its constituent groups.
Familiarises themselves with the constitution and by-laws of the Diocese of Melbourne and Affiliated regions and the directives thereof.
Attend all Board meetings unless unable due to legitimate and pressing reasons. In which case an apology should be forwarded in a timely manner.
Take personal responsibility for contributing impartially to the decisions of the Board with no thought to personal gain
Actively seek adequate knowledge about the business of the Parish
Provide positive input into the policies of the parish
Maintain an attitude of mutual respect and trust towards other board members.
Avoid bringing non-board, non-parish matters such as personal disputes or tensions into the board rooms
Ensure that adequate information is provided before a matter is put to a vote.
Vote with wisdom, not emotion. Make decisions based on facts, needs, and careful thinking, rather than on reactions, past unfounded assumptions.
Maintain confidentiality and proper communication. Statements made by the board should not leave the boardroom. Various viewpoints may be reported, but it is unethical to mention names.
Maintain Board documents in a safe and secure location.
When a decision is reached, Board members should not assume they are free to communicate that information. The board has the responsibility of establishing proper channels for disseminating information.
Support the board’s decisions. Once the board has given its group judgment to a problem and decided on a solution the dissenting individuals no longer have the right of dissent.
A dissenting individual may have their dissent recorded in the minutes but may not communicate their dissent to those outside the Board or lobby for their opinion once a decision is made.
Accept the need to sufficiently prepare for Board meetings and insist on sufficient information to enable informed debate and decision making
Perform the assignments delegated by the Board
To delineate and state personal views as distinct from Church views on controversial matters to better enable the Board to make informed decisions for betterment of the parish
Devote sufficient times to the duties of a Board member
To uphold high ethical standards at board level
Return all board documentation upon expiration of their term or their resignation.
To tender a resignation if unable to uphold any of the above standards of behaviour.