Whilst running ringing and Guild business, differences of opinion can occur. These have the potential to be positive and are to be encouraged. Healthy debate can reveal innovative and unexpected solutions to difficult problems. The Guild expects its members to manage such disagreement in a respectful manner for instance through the criticism of ideas rather than individuals.
Occasionally, differences of opinion can lead to behaviour that is hurtful, disrespectful, or psychologically harmful.
The purpose of this policy is to set out the behaviours that are expected within the Guild and provide guidance on how to manage unwelcome behaviours if they occur.
This policy is intended to:
- Protect our members from potential bullying, abuse etc.
- Protect the Guild’s reputation
- Provide a framework for acceptable standards
- Provide an agreed guide for moderation and procedures to deal with offenders.
This covers all Digital Media activities conducted by its members or associated with the W&P, at Guild or District level, including:
- Written and email correspondence relating to the Guild or District.
- Guild and District social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter)
- Guild and District email lists (e.g., WIN-PORT)
The following is a list of behaviours that are not acceptable – this list is not exhaustive:
Undermining (1) Personal attacks (2) Shaming (3)
Trolling (4) Bullying (5) Harassment (6)
Standard of Conduct
All ringers are entitled to be treated respectfully by members of the W&P. Members should uphold a high standard of behaviour in all activities connected to the Guild. Feedback to individuals should always be constructive and supportive.
Should and Should Nots Regarding Digital Media
You Can: participate in unofficial social media forums. However, please do not use social media forums to vent your frustrations, grievances or concerns which may damage the Guild’s reputation.
You Should: message someone privately if you think they should take something down instead of drawing attention to it publicly.
You Should: think who can see your account, posts and comments and be a good ambassador
for the Guild. The Guild prides itself and is well known for being friendly, welcoming and
encouraging to all. This should extend to all social media activity.
You Should Not: post or email content which may cause offence or bring the Guild into disrepute.
You Should Not: assume anonymity. Although not encouraged, if you decide to set up an anonymous account or use a pseudonym, you still should follow all the guidance in this policy. Those in control of official Guild or District platforms reserve the right to remove any anonymous or pseudonym accounts.
You Should Not: share in a public forum any confidential, sensitive, or official Guild business that isn’t already available in public minutes.
The Legal Position of Volunteers
Volunteers are not covered by employment law and therefore do not have formal rights to redress in an Employment Tribunal. Volunteers do not have the right to insist the Guild follows proper investigative procedures when things go wrong. They do not have the right to appeal a decision made by the Guild. As a membership organisation, the Guild has no authority over bell ringers, and other than to remove a person from membership or office has no sanction on their behaviour.
Suggested Action if the Standard of Conduct is Not Upheld
If any member has a complaint about anything posted on the Guild’s Digital Media, this should be reported to the relevant administrator and dealt with in accordance with the flowchart below.
1 Definition – “to make someone less confident, less powerful, or less likely to succeed, or to make something weaker, often gradually” – Cambridge Dictionary
2 Definition – “making of an abusive remark on or relating to one’s person instead of providing evidence when examining another person’s claims or comments” – https://www.yourdictionary.com/personal-attack
3 Definition – “the act of publicly criticizing and drawing attention to someone, especially on the internet” – Cambridge Dictionary
4 Definition – “the act of leaving an insulting message on the internet in order to annoy someone” – Cambridge Dictionary
5 Definition – “The repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It can happen face to face or online” – Anti-Bullying Alliance, https://www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/tools-information/all-about-bullying/what-bullying/aba-definition-bullying
6 Definition – “Harassment is unwanted behaviour which you find offensive, or which makes you feel intimidated or humiliated. It can happen on its own or alongside other forms of discrimination.” Citizen’s Advice Bureau, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/harassment/
7 Definition – “a piece of writing that contains bad and false things about a person” – Cambridge Dictionary
Administrators’ Decision-Making Procedure
Version 1.0 – 20th November 2021
The Guild Digital Media Policy was agreed at the Guild Executive Meeting on 20th November 2021 and can be downloaded as a PDF using the button below.