INCA Marketplace: Code of Conduct
Organisations participating as suppliers in the INCA Marketplace/Register of Suppliers and Consultants agree to abide by this code of conduct.
The Code shall be applied to all such organisations without modification or exception.
Members can display the INCA Marketplace logo as a mark of commitment to good business practice.
The Board of Independent Networks Cooperative Association Limited (INCA) shall administer the Code.
Generally the Board will respond only when alerted to breaches of the code: it will not monitor organisations' activities for breaches of the Code.
The code may be altered by simple majority by the members of INCA in a general meeting.
Organisations recognise that solely complying with the Code does not necessarily mean that they are acting within the law. Compliance with the code represents "best practice" in addition to any relevant legal obligations.
Any reference in the Code to lawfulness or unlawfulness relates solely to the laws of England and Wales.
'Board' means the Board of Directors of Independent Networks Cooperative Association Limited (INCA).
'Customer' means customer of an organisation listed in the INCA Marketplace/Register of Suppliers and Consultants.
'Complaints Procedure' means the complaints procedure set out in this document.
'Marketplace' means the INCA Marketplace/Register of Suppliers and Consultants.
'Supplier' means an individual or organisation that has applied for and been granted inclusion in the Marketplace.
'Officer' means an officer of INCA such as the Chief Executive, Chair or Secretary.
'Published Material' means information of any form provided or accepted by the Supplier for publication on the Internet or otherwise.
'Third Party Content' means material accessible using Internet digital facilities provided by or operated by a member, which originates from and/or is owned by one or more third parties (including, for the avoidance of doubt, that Supplier's Customers).
Aims of the Code of Conduct
The code of conduct aims to balance the interests of all the parties involved in the Marketplace. A code can also bring benefits by way of providing guidance to Suppliers as to what may and may not be considered acceptable by their fellow Suppliers, INCA Members and others. It is important to the integrity of INCA and ultimately the industry within which we operate, that Suppliers conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and in adherence with a set of common values.
Suppliers shall abide by the following rules:
- Respect/consideration for others. Respect should be displayed at all times.
- Integrity and honesty. Members should act morally, ethically and honourably.
- Openness and accountability. Members are responsible for their actions and should ensure transparency.
- Discretion. Members should respect confidentiality at all times and show prudence and self restraint in the way they communicate; and
- Common sense. Members are expected to exercise sound, rational judgement.
Members shall use their reasonable endeavours to ensure the following:
- Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not contain anything that is unlawful, nor omit anything that is required by law.
- Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not promote, encourage or facilitate practices that are unlawful, including, but not limited to, the production and dissemination of child pornography.
- Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) does not contain material inciting violence, cruelty or racial hatred.
- Published Material (excluding Third Party Content) is not dishonest or misleading.
INCA supports the Internet Watch Foundation. Suppliers shall cooperate with INCA and the Internet Watch Foundation in its efforts to remove illegal material from Internet web-sites.
Equal Opportunities and Discrimination
INCA promotes equal opportunities and as such Suppliers do not discriminate in any respect on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, age, pregnancy or any other basis protected by law.
The Board will not tolerate a discriminatory environment or the harassment of any Supplier or Customer in any form. Any complaints of discrimination and/or harassment should be raised with the Chair of the Board (or if this is not appropriate, another Board Member). Any Supplier found to be in breach of the duty contained in this section will be immediately expelled from the Marketplace.
Suppliers must act fairly and reasonably at all times towards people and organisations they trade with.
Suppliers must, upon request, use reasonable means to bring to the attention of their Customers the existence of the Code and the Complaints Procedure.
Suppliers must use all reasonable endeavours to ensure that promotional material complies with the provisions of the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion which are supervised by the Advertising Standards Authority.
Suppliers must act fairly and reasonably towards their employees.
Suppliers should inform their employees about INCA and this Code.
Suppliers shall ensure that they bring their Terms and Conditions to the attention of all new Customers.
Data Protection and Privacy
Suppliers shall comply with UK legislation relating to data protection and should encourage their Customers to do likewise.
Suppliers should remember if contacted by the media on an issue concerning INCA that they are not obliged to respond. If they wish to respond they should always state that they cannot and do not speak on behalf of INCA. Suppliers should direct all enquiries regarding INCA to the current Chief Executive or Chair of the Board.
INCA recommends that Suppliers adhere to the following best practice guidelines:
- Suppliers should include on their websites the INCA Marketplace logo, with a link to the INCA Marketplace online.
- Suppliers should take all reasonable steps to minimize the impact that their business activities have on the environment.
- Suppliers should endeavour to ensure that Published Material on websites conforms to best practice guidelines for accessibility, including relevant W3C guidelines.
- Suppliers should, where appropriate, have professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves and customers.
For the avoidance of doubt, breach of any of these guidelines for best practice set out in this section shall not constitute a breach of the Code.
All suppliers agree to comply with the complaints procedure as set out below.
Each supplier shall notify the Board of a single point of contact authorised to deal with complaints and familiar with the INCA Complaints procedure.
Where a Customer or other third party (a Complainant) makes a complaint about a Supplier alleging that the Supplier has acted in breach of the Code (a Complaint), the following procedure shall apply:
Step 1: Where the Complaint is made to the Supplier, the Supplier shall use its reasonable endeavours to resolve the Complaint within four weeks of receipt of notice by email, letter, telephone call or in person.
Where the Complaint is notified to an Officer the Complainant will be asked to contact the relevant Supplier directly if he/she has not already done so.
Step 2: Where a Complainant informs an Officer that his/her Complaint has not been resolved to his/her satisfaction within the time-frame set out above, the Officer will ask that the Complaint be set out in an email or letter and forward the Complaint to the relevant Supplier contact.
The Supplier must respond to the Complainant directly within four weeks, copying an Officer into the response or, where this is not possible, contact an Officer explaining its position in respect of the Complaint.
Step 3: If the complainant remains unsatisfied, and contacts an Officer a second time after the specified time of 5 working days is up, the Board shall within four weeks propose to the parties a method for resolving the dispute. Such methods may include but are not limited to the use of an independent arbitrator or mediator.
If the proposed method for resolving the dispute is not acceptable to one or other of the parties, then the dispute shall be said to have reached deadlock.
If the proposed method is acceptable to the parties, but the subsequent dispute resolution process fails, and no further progress can be made by negotiation, then the dispute shall be said to have reached deadlock.
Step 4: If a complaint reaches deadlock, but the complainant wishes to pursue the matter further, then the complaint shall be referred to the Board.
The Board may decide to appoint a committee to examine the case further, or may issue its own ruling.
The Board and its Officers shall keep confidential, and shall require the relevant Supplier and the Complainant to keep confidential, the details of any Complaint dealt with using this procedure prior to its resolution.
Where the Council decides that a Supplier has breached the Code, and having taken all relevant circumstances into account, the Board may:
- Require the Supplier to remedy the breach; and/or
- Require an assurance from the Supplier, or any associated individual, relating to future behaviour, in terms dictated by the Board; and/or
- Suspend the Supplier from the Marketplace without any reimbursement of fees in whole or in part until such time as the Council is satisfied that the Supplier has taken adequate steps to ensure that the breach is not repeated; and/or in the case of the Supplier being a member of INCA, convene an Extraordinary General Meeting of INCA for the purpose of considering a resolution for the expulsion of the member, in accordance with the Rules of INCA.
Version 1: 14 February 2012