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Vincentians seek to emulate Saint Vincent in the five virtues essential for promoting love and respect for the poor:
The Rule, Part I, Article 2.5.1
The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia Inc. (National Council) Strategic Plan 2020-2023 includes initiatives that encourage Society members, board directors, volunteers and employees across the Society in Australia to work together.
The Strategic Goal ‘Our Work Together’ builds on the success of previous cross-jurisdictional initiatives which has seen an increase in members, employees and committee/Council members from national and state/territory Councils coming into contact with each other when they work together.
National Council is committed to the principle that everyone has a right not to be harassed or bullied.
Commitment - loyalty in service to our mission, vision and values
Compassion - welcoming and serving all with understanding and without judgement
Respect - service to all regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinions
Integrity - promoting, maintaining and adhering to our mission, vision and values
Empathy - establishing relationships based on respect, trust, friendship and perception
Advocacy - working to transform the causes of poverty and challenging the causes of human injustice
Courage - encouraging spiritual growth, welcoming innovation and giving hope for the future.
This is an internal document for the Society in Australia.
The intent behind these guidelines is to provide a reference for interactions when the Society’s members, volunteers and employees work together. It acknowledges that State and Territory Councils have policies and procedures in place to address instances when interactions involving a member, a volunteer and/or an employee working together are not respectful.
These guidelines do not cover interactions between Society members, volunteers and employees on the one hand and companions, customers or other members of the general public, including children on the other hand. The Society’s State and Territory Councils have detailed policies and procedures that provide guidance on behaviours involving these external parties/groups.
National Council, as the superior Council of the Society in Australia and acting in conjunction with the State and Territory Councils, advocates a culture within the Society in Australia that reflects the essential Vincentian Virtues and the Society’s Values at all times. These guidelines seek to encourage collegiality and professional and courteous manners as the foundations of working together within the Society.
These guidelines apply to persons who are:
The guidelines provide a point of reference for State and Territory Councils with regard to supporting meeting places and workplaces that encourage a ‘working together’ culture across the Society in Australia.
National Council has a duty of care to provide safe meeting places and workplaces, and to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that all people who have contact with National Council and who work or volunteer for National Council are not exposed to risks to their wellbeing, health or safety.
National Council as the superior Council of the Society in Australia expects all Society members, volunteers and employees to observe acceptable standards of behaviour when working together and when representing the Society.
National Council calls on all people to whom these guidelines apply to observe acceptable standards of behaviour when working together with National Council’s representatives.
Consistent with ‘our values’ as expressed above, the Society in Australia seeks to adopt a preventative and responsive approach to unreasonable behaviour. In particular, the Society promotes the following Working Together general principles:
“Employer” means any legal entity that falls under the auspice of the Society in Australia that employs persons to carry out good works and other activities.
“Meeting place” means a location or a place where meetings of Vincentian members take place or where members gather in the name of the Society including wherever the Society in Australia conducts its good works and where members, volunteers and employees carry out governance or administrative activities or any other activity conducted in the name of the Society. A meeting place can also include virtual meetings or conferences or telephone calls.
“National Council representative” means the members of National Council and National Council volunteers, employees and contractors
“Supervisor” means the person to whom a society member, volunteer or employee reports.
“Unreasonable behaviour” is a behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as not acceptable. Examples of unreasonable behaviours include, but are not limited to, the following situations:
Fair Work Australia provides information about bullying in the workplace.
Repeated displays of unreasonable behaviour towards a person or group of people, whether intentional or unintentional, create a risk to an individual’s physical or emotional wellbeing, health or safety.
Behaviours such as those illustrated above do not encourage a working together environment.
“Working together” means how we reach our potential and how we advance the mission of the Society. Working together can include how we communicate with each other (listening and responding), how we achieve consensus, how we manage change and, how we meet the needs of individuals when meeting the needs of the group.
“Workplace” means a location or place where a person works for an Employer where ‘place’ can range from a home office or a large office complex, a Special Work (such as a supported accommodation service), a service for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, a Vinnies shop or any other locations the Society in Australia offers good works or manages the affairs of the Society.
As a general principle, a member, volunteer, employee or contractor who experiences unreasonable behaviour within the Society should report the behaviour to their immediate supervisor/President. Where the unreasonable behaviour involves the person’s supervisor/President or the person does not feel comfortable to make a report to their supervisor/President, they should make a report to their supervisor’s supervisor or to the President above their President.
A National Council representative who experiences unreasonable behaviour in a meeting place or in a workplace in which National Council is participating may choose to report the instance or the allegation of unreasonable behaviour to the National Council in accordance with the National Council Complaints Management Policy.
A Society member, volunteer or employee who experiences unreasonable behaviour in a meeting place or in a workplace in which National Council is participating may choose to either report an instance or an allegation of unreasonable behaviour to the National Council in accordance with these guidelines or in accordance with their State or Territory procedure.
A Society member, volunteer or employee who experiences unreasonable behaviour in any meeting place or in any workplace within the Society may choose to report the instance or the allegation of unreasonable behaviour in accordance with the relevant State or Territory procedure.
Procedures for reporting instances or allegations of unacceptable behaviour are outlined in the National Council Complaints Management Policy.
State and Territory Councils have in place procedures to report instances or allegations of unreasonable behaviour and to address such instances or allegations.
Instances or Allegations that Involve More than One Employer
Where there is an instance or an allegation of unreasonable behaviour involves two, or more, members, volunteers or employees from different Employers, cooperation between the relevant Councils will be encouraged to effectively address the matter.
The responsibility to guard against unreasonable behaviour in Society meeting places and workplaces is shared by all Society members, volunteers and employees. Some individuals have specific responsibility for addressing an instance or an allegation of unreasonable behaviour.
State and Territory Councils and Council Presidents are responsible to ensure that all members, volunteers and employees who may interact with National Council or its representatives are aware of these guidelines.
Chief Executive Officers as the authorised officer of an Employer (National/State/Territory Council or other entity) are responsible for:
15 May 2021