Principles of RCPCH roles - Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is for RCPCH members undertaking work for the College. RCPCH wishes to emphasise the importance of giving leadership to others in the College through adherence to the principles of behaviour and values laid out below.

When undertaking a role at RCPCH all role holders agree to respect and uphold the charitable objects, vision, and values of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH).

Should there be any serious or sustained failure to meet these standards, RCPCH may take appropriate steps to address this which could ultimately include termination from the designated role.

Our purpose

RCPCH’s charitable objectives from its Royal Charter are to:

  • Advance the art and science of Paediatrics
  • Raise the standard of medical care provided to children
  • Educate and examine those concerned with the health of children
  • Advance the education of the public (and in particular medical practitioners) in child health which means the protection of children, the prevention of illness and disease in children and safeguarding their optimal development

Our mission

To transform child health through knowledge, innovation and expertise

Our vision

A healthier future for children and young people across the world

Our values

Our values describe our behaviour, and the way we do things.


  • Approach things creatively
  • Embrace risk
  • View change as an opportunity
  • Have an open mind to new ideas


  • Advocate for better child health
  • Challenge positively
  • Share best practice
  • Work proactively


  • Embrace diversity
  • Ask for the voices of infants, children and young people
  • Work together
  • Value everyone's input


  • Develop ourselves and others
  • Act as positive role models
  • Act with integrity and honesty
  • Encourage, praise and thank

RCPCH culture

The key aspects of RCPCH culture are that all committee meetings, working groups and networks should be:

  • Welcoming spaces, where members should support one another. Criticism should be constructive and neither personal nor vindictive. Behaviour that contravenes this principle will not be tolerated
  • Open and creative spaces, where ideas and suggestions are welcome
  • Productive spaces, where all role holders come together to further the specialty and the aims of RCPCH
  • Resolution spaces, where we focus on coming up with solutions to problems
  • Confidential spaces where needed, where members can speak freely (see Confidentiality section)

Essentials for role holders

Members and staff understand the importance of mutual respect, and the Code of Conduct is an embodiment of the values that RCPCH holds, for consideration rather than as a simply a set of rules, the breaking of which could lead to sanction.

Core to RCPCH’s values is the exemplary behaviour of its members, both as professionals and also as individuals.

All role holders must:

  • Act as ambassadors for RCPCH, promoting an approachable and professional ethos
  • Have the time to contribute to the role
  • Be committed to the success of RCPCH and to maintaining its reputation
  • Remain in good standing as a College member
  • Uphold joint responsibility. Once a policy decision (relevant to the area a member is involved with) is made by RCPCH (either through the Board or one of its committees) it is expected that all members adhere to that decision. Any concerns should be raised within the RCPCH
  • For Officers and other senior role holders, develop and maintain individual knowledge and understanding of the College strategy and operational plan including:
    • be proactive in developing a close working relationship with the designated operational area of the College
    • ensure that all negotiations regarding resources and/or staffing are referred to RCPCH immediately for appropriate decision
    • ensure any requests to act outside designated remit are referred to RCPCH and/or relevant Officer
    • develop and maintain knowledge of RCPCH, the beneficiaries, its officers, staff and members, and the wider context
  • Liaise with the College Press Office before agreeing to speak to media outlets on College positions or advocacy
  • Participate in induction, training and development as appropriate
  • Observe responsibilities with regard to child safeguarding, including undertaking training where appropriate
  • Provide, and receive, constructive feedback where appropriate
  • Serve the College without seeking personal gain or preferment
  • Prepare appropriately for active engagement, for example, attending meetings, and feedback in a timely way on any external meetings attended on behalf of RCPCH
  • Avoid bias on grounds of race, disability, lifestyle, culture, religion or beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, body size or appearance or any other characteristic
  • Distinguish clearly, when speaking or writing, between personal views and those of the College
  • Promote the principles set out in the Good Medical Practice which outlines the duties of a doctor registered with the General Medical Council
  • Undertake an annual review process where appropriate

All role holders will:

  • Be supported in their role by their fellow committee members, officers and RCPCH staff members
  • Have a named person or manager of relevant team to liaise with and listen to the individual's concerns
  • Follow the expense guidance and expect reimbursement on submission of a valid claim

Conflicts of interest and disclosure

Members must be clear where they have a conflict of interest and disclose this swiftly. Members must declare relevant interests arising in the course of undertaking any College business (and/or to take steps to avoid such interests or knowledge giving rise to a conflict of interest) including complying with the College’s register of interests, and declaring any interests via the online form.


All role holders must recognise that there will be some discussions and papers that are of a sensitive nature and should be kept confidential. As professionals working in a professional organisation, all role holders should expect to keep agreed information confidential. Where this is uncertain, members should clarify first.

Complaints and whistleblowing

We always try to informally resolve problems first. Where there is a problem therefore, please contact the person or the section (or the manager of that section) who provided the service or the response to your enquiry and explain why you are unhappy and what action is needed. This can be done by telephone or in writing. We will then try to resolve the matter for you as quickly as we can. However, if you are still dissatisfied, we want you to feel comfortable about making a formal complaint.

For details of how to make a formal complaint please see our complaints procedure.

If a staff member or College member wishes to raise a concern, the matter will be dealt with positively, quickly and reasonably. Anonymous complaints will not be considered; however, every effort will be made to keep the staff member or College member's identity confidential if they wish this to be the case.

You can download a copy of this Code of Conduct below.