Following a substantial survey of members in early 2020, the Society adopted a Code of Conduct to make clear what acceptable and unacceptable conduct looks like. This Code applies to all members of the Society. Reflecting the importance the Society places on good conduct, it has also promulgated a Complaints Procedure. As the name implies, this allows complaints to be made against alleged behaviour, at the Society’s events and proceedings, which contravenes the Code of Conduct. The Standards of Conduct Committee has been set up to investigate such complaints. Its membership consists of prominent members of the economics profession but also others with a wider range of expertise and experience. The Committee is responsible for investigating complaints received thoroughly. If it upholds a complaint, it makes recommendations to the Trustees as to appropriate sanctions. Depending on the gravity of the breach, these can include suspension or even expulsion from membership of the Society and from participation in the Society’s proceedings.
Alongside its specific responsibilities under the Code and Complaints Procedure, the Standards of Conduct Committee works together with the Annual Conference Committee, CHUDE, the Women’s Committee and the Diversity Champion, with a common agenda of driving towards a genuinely diverse and inclusive profession, characterised by uniformly high standards of behaviour.
Maintaining and ensuring diversity of the UK economics profession is an important aim of the Society. Without an inclusive and welcoming environment, we will not be able to benefit from the full range of talent and experience available, which in turn puts at risk other objectives. Poor behaviour within the profession can be prejudicial to diversity and inclusion and for that reason alone would be unacceptable. Furthermore, poor behaviour should not be tolerated in its own right. No one should be subject to harassment, belittlement, being shouted at, having credit unfairly taken away from them, for example, within their professional life.
During the summer of 2023, the Standards of Conduct Committee designed and steered a short survey of members regarding current standards of behaviour. This has provided us with the existing state of play, and evidence to further progress the future programme of action to support RES members in the economics profession.