Code of Ethical Conduct

Introduction

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) was established as an independent charity in 2015. Its purpose is to dispense Government money through competitive applications to a range of funding programmes designed to benefit members of the Armed Forces community.

The Trust is committed to being an ‘intelligent funder’ which operates on the basis of empirically established need and comprehensive monitoring and assessment of the impact of its activities. It is also committed to meeting the highest ethical standards.

Fundamental Ethical Principles

The Trust is driven by two fundamental ethical principles, beneficence (“doing good”) and nonmaleficence (“doing no harm”).  They form the basis of this Code of Ethical Conduct.

However, a number of subordinate ethical principles have been identified because of their relevance to the Trust’s primary purpose. These are: Respect, Competence and Integrity.

Subordinate Ethical Principles

Respect

Members of the AFCFT Team are committed to behaving in a respectful manner to each other and to grant applicants, project teams and all other stakeholders. In practice this entails (but is not limited to) the following standards.

  • Displaying courtesy, tolerance and empathy in dealing with others.
  • Observing appropriate professional boundaries and avoiding exploitation and discrimination.
  • Being open to the views of others and having in place clear procedures for receiving and dealing with complaints.
  • Having in place clear procedures for safeguarding Team members and their data and, similarly, for protecting other stakeholders.
  • Some of these standards of behaviour are now supported by legislation.  However, Team members will introduce additional controls and standards, over and above current legislative requirements, if they judge them to be required to meet the Trust’s desired ethical standards. Relevant legislation is listed in Annex 1.

Competence

Members of the AFCFT Team acknowledge that external stakeholders and, especially, members of the Armed Forces Community deserve to have their interests served competently. In practice this translates into several specific standards.

  • Team members are appropriately qualified for the work they do and staff development opportunities are available to them.
  • Suitable consultation processes are used in developing new funding programmes, including empirical assessment of need and, once agreed, are widely publicised and promoted.
  • Applications are assessed in a fair, thorough and timely manner and outcomes communicated to applicants with appropriate feedback.
  • The progress of funded projects should be monitored in an agreed and transparent manner and grounds for Trust staff to intervene be clearly set out.
  • Outcomes and impact of all funded projects should be empirically assessed.
  • Team members recognise that maintaining the Trust’s high ethical standards within individual projects rests largely with the members of the individual project teams. Consequently, the AFCFT will ensure that suitable advice, guidance and training is provided and performance from an ethics point of view will be monitored.

Integrity

Members of the AFCFT are committed to always behaving with integrity in conducting the Trust’s business.  In practice this entails (but is not limited to) the following standards.

  • Communication, both within the Team, and with external stakeholders should be open an honest.
  • The Team accepts an ethical responsibility to identify and accommodate the interests of secondary and tertiary stakeholders as far as possible, both in the interests of avoiding harm to other organisations and interests but also in order to maximise the benefits to primary stakeholders.
  • There are few absolutes within the field of ethics: identifying the ethical way to behave in real world situations often involves fine judgements. Nevertheless, Team members accept their responsibility and accountability in term of “getting it right” from the viewpoint of the Trust and its stakeholders as far as possible.  This in turn suggests developing ways to monitor and evaluate the impact of the current Code of Ethical Conduct as well as consulting widely about how it might be improved.
  • The Team will be supported in maintaining high ethical standards by an Ethics Advisory Panel set up by the Trust’s Board.