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Code of Conduct

This code is intended to provide clear expectations on how members, trainees, professionals and other representatives of the RCOG ('the College') conduct themselves.

For members and trainees, this will encompass overall professional conduct and should be followed alongside guidance from the GMC, including Good Medical Practice, and their personal contract and terms & conditions of employment.

All members and trainees will be expected to work in accordance with the Nolan principles of public life (reference 1 below) which are selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership.

This Code of Conduct was developed for the College Council, approved by the Board of Trustees.

The College acknowledges the work of the Royal College of Physicians ‘RCP500’ (reference 2 below) in preparing this document.

1. The Aim, Objectives and Values of the RCOG

Our Aim is to set standards to improve women’s health and the clinical practice of obstetrics and gynaecology in the British Isles and across the world. 

Our Objectives are to encourage the study, and advance the science and practice, of obstetrics and gynaecology, in order to benefit women’s health in the British Isles and across the world.

Our Values are trust, inclusiveness, openness, innovation and high standards.

2. Standards of Conduct

The College’s Standards of Conduct relate to all forms of behaviour and communication including written, verbal, non-verbal, electronic and social media activity (see specific GMC guidance, reference 3 below). This is relevant when an individual is working on behalf of the College, engaged in College business, representing the College, or when there are potential implications for the College’s reputation.  Additionally, the College expects members to uphold these Standards of Conduct in all professional contexts.

Members, trainees, professionals and other College representatives all have individual responsibility to maintain the following standards:

  • Treat others with respect, dignity and consideration
  • Recognise and value diversity and individual differences
  • Behave with integrity, honesty, kindness and patience
  • Be a role model for professional behaviours
  • Undertake the work of the College in good conscience and to the best of our ability
  • Foster collaborative and supportive working with others
  • Hold ourselves and others accountable for behaviour that is detrimental to women's health or rights or might bring the College into disrepute.
  • Take responsibility for the stewardship of our position, mindful of our impact on others
  • Respect the College’s values and rules and be a guardian of the College’s reputation.

An individual should be aware that if they fail to meet the standards of conduct, after full ascertainment of the circumstances, steps may be taken to address their behaviour and appropriate sanctions applied.

3. Complaints Policy and Procedures

A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction about an aspect of the College’s work or conduct; or the work or behaviour of an individual or individuals working for or on behalf of the College. Complaints are managed through a Complaints Policy and Procedure, which can be found on our website under RCOG Policies (reference 4 below) and sets out how to make a complaint to the College and how the College will deal with the complaint.

4. Breaches to our Code of Conduct

Most complaints, relating to our members, will be resolved through the procedures set out in the Complaints Policy.  However, for more serious breaches of standards of conduct, the matter may be referred to the Disciplinary, Removal and Reinstatement Committee (DRRC) in line with College Regulations (reference 5 below).

After investigating the conduct of an individual, the DRRC will deliberate and make the final decision. Decisions may include the removal of College membership; suspension of rights and privileges of membership; suspension of eligibility for election or appointment to an office or committee of the College.  In all cases, removal of College membership would be reported to the employer and GMC.

There is an appeals procedure for actions taken under the DRRC process.