Hong Kong Sports Institute Staff Code of Ethical Conduct (HKSI SCEC)
SECTION A: ETHICAL PRINCIPLES
- Staff ethical standards and conduct are personal matters to the same degree as is true for any other person, except when staff conduct may compromise the image of the HKSI.
- The following five principles which all HKSI staff strive to embody in their professional roles, form the framework for the establishment of the consensus Ethical Standards which all HKSI staff consistently observe.
- In accordance with the Discrimination Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Ordinance 2020, the HKSI SCEC also applies to other workplace participants, such as interns and volunteers.
Staff strive to maintain high standards of excellence in all aspects of their work.
Staff seek to promote integrity at the HKSI. Staff are honest, fair, and respectful of others, whether colleagues, athletes, visitors or stakeholders.
C: Professional Responsibility
Staff uphold professional standards of conduct, obligations, and consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other professionals and institutions to the extent needed to serve the best interest of the athletes and coaches at the HKSI. When appropriate, they consult with colleagues in order to prevent or avoid unethical conduct.
D: Respect and Dignity
Staff respect the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all colleagues. Staff are aware of cultural, individual, and role differences, including those due to age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, family status, and socioeconomic status. Staff do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.
E: Concern for Others’ Welfare
Staff seek to contribute to the welfare of those with whom they interact professionally. In their professional actions, staff consider the welfare and rights of athletes and other stakeholders.
SECTION B: ETHICAL CONDUCT STANDARDS
The following five categories of Ethical Conduct Standards list the consensus, mandatory conduct which embodies the HKSI Staff Ethical Principles. While many aspects of personal behavior and private conduct may not seem closely connected with official duties, all colleagues should be sensitive to their position within an organisation that is responsible for young people.
1. General Standards
These General standards apply to the professional conduct and activities of all staff.
1.1 Maintaining Expertise (Principle A)
Relevant staff maintain awareness of current scientific and professional information in their fields of activity, and undertake ongoing efforts to maintain competence in the skills they use.
1.2 Basis for Professional Judgments (Principle A)
Relevant staff rely on scientifically and professionally derived knowledge when making professional judgments or when engaging in professional activities.
1.3 Describing the Nature and Results of Professional Services (Principles B, C)
When staff provide professional services to an individual, a group, or an organisation, they provide, using language that is reasonably understandable to the recipient of those services, appropriate information beforehand about the nature of such services and appropriate information later about results and conclusions.
1.4 Respecting Others (Principle B, D, E)
Staff respect the rights of others to hold values, attitudes and opinions that differ from their own. However, staff recognise the importance of imparting ethical values and attitudes to athletes as part of their development.
1.5 Preventing Discrimination (Principles B, C, D, E)
- Discrimination is a legal term referring to treating a person less favorably, because of a particular individual characteristic which is protected by law. There are two types of discrimination, - direct and indirect, and under Hong Kong law, they include discriminations on the basis of sex, disability, family status (includes marital status and pregnancy), and race.
- Direct Discrimination refers to treating a person less favourably, than another person of different sex, family status, race and/or with disability.
- Indirect Discrimination occurs when a condition or requirement, which is not justifiable, is applied to everyone but in practice adversely affects persons of a particular sex, family status, race, and/or with disability.
- Staff do not engage in actions which discriminate on any basis whether proscribed by law or not. This includes discrimination on the basis of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, languages, marital and family status, or socioeconomic status.
1.6 Preventing Sexual Harassment (Principles B, C, D, E)
- In general, sexual harassment refers to any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which is perceived by the victim, or a bystander, to be offensive, humiliating or intimidating. Sexual harassment can consist of or of multiple persistent or pervasive acts or a single intense or severe act. Under the law, there are two types of sexual harassment:
- Misuse of authority - This refers to demanding sexual favours in return for access to resources, promotion, team selection, etc.
- Hostile Environment - This refers to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (physical, verbal or non-verbal) which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
- Staff do not engage in sexual harassment towards any individual or group.
- Staff always treat sexual-harassment complainants and respondents with dignity and respect.
- Staff do not deny an athlete the right to participate based on the athlete having made, or being the subject of, sexual harassment allegations.
1.7 Preventing Other Forms of Harassment (Principles B, C, D, E)
- Staff do not engage in behavior that is harassing, demeaning, or disrespectful to persons with whom they interact in their work based on factors such as those persons’ age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, language, family status, or socioeconomic status.
- Physical contact between some staff and athletes is sometimes necessary during the professional servicing process, and staff should ensure that no action on their part could be misconstrued or experienced as inappropriate, and that any professional guidelines on this matter are followed. Particularly, the needs of athletes with disabilities and others who may be vulnerable must be taken into account.
1.8 Avoiding Harm (Principles A, C, E)
- It is a primary responsibility of staff to ensure that HKSI is a safe training environment.
- Staff take reasonable steps to avoid harming athletes or other participants, and to minimize harm where it is foreseeable and unavoidable.
1.9 Prioritizing Child Welfare (Principles A, C, E)
- The HKSI has a duty of care to safeguard all children (young people under the age of 18) training under its elite training system. All children have the right to be completely safe all the time, and the needs of children with disabilities and others who may be particularly vulnerable must be taken into account.
- The HKSI recognizes that child abuse is a problem in all societies and children training at the HKSI may experience abuse at home, at school or in the sporting environment. Sport can play a crucial role in the child’s recovery from such abuse, by providing a place of safety, where the child’s self esteem, and confidence can be nurtured.
- Staff take all reasonable steps to provide children with appropriate psychological and physical safety and protection while in the care of the HKSI.
- Staff report directly to the Chief Executive any evidence of poor practice, or suspicious behaviour which may harm children following the procedures in the HKSI Child Protection Policy (CPP).
1.10 Avoiding Conflicts of Interest (Principles B, C, E)
Because relevant staff’s professional judgments and actions may affect others, they are alert to guard against personal, financial, social, organisational, or political factors that might lead to misuse of their influence.
1.11 Avoiding Misuse of Official Position (Principles B, C, E)
- Persons occupying public offices are placed in a position of trust and entrusted with certain powers by the public. Our society expects public officials in such a position to exercise the powers and discretions with integrity and accountability, and in an incorrupt manner to serve the public interest, and should not subordinate the public interest to private interests.
- In this regard, staff should act impartially and should not use their official position for personal gains nor accord preferential treatment to organisations or persons with whom they have connections. They should not use or permit the use of their official position or title or an authority associated with their public office in a manner that is intended to coerce or induce another person, including a subordinate, to provide should they use their official position or title in a manner that could reasonably be seen as to imply that the HKSI sanctions or endorses their personal activities or those of another.
1.12 Avoiding Misconduct in Public Office (Principles B, C, E)
- A staff as a public official who misconducts himself/herself in relation to official duties may commit the common law offence of “misconduct in public office” “MIPO”. The elements constituting the offence of MIPO are:
- a public official;
- in the course of or in relation to his/her public office;
- wilfully misconducts himself/herself by act or omission (for example, by wilfully neglecting or failing to perform his/her duty);
- without reasonable excuse or justification; and
- such misconduct is serious, not trivial, having regard to the responsibilities of the office and the office-holder, the importance of the public objects which they serve and the nature and extent of the departure from those responsibilities.
- The misconduct must be deliberate rather than accidental in the sense that the official either knows that their conduct is unlawful or wilfully disregards the risk that their conduct is unlawful. Wilful misconduct without reasonable excuse or justification will have legal consequences.
- The essential feature of the offence is an abuse by the public official of the powers, discretions or duties exercisable by virtue of his/her official position conferred on him/her for the public benefit. A public officer may commit MIPO even if his/her misconduct does not involve any bribery or he/she does not have any pecuniary gains as a result.
1.13 Personal Data Privacy (Principles B, C, E)
Staff should take all reasonable steps to protect personal data of staff, athletes, and other clients of the HKSI in accordance with HKSI’s guidelines of the Protection of Personal Data (Privacy) Policy.
1.14 Confidentiality of Information (Principles B, C)
- Staff should not disclose any classified or proprietary information of the HKSI without authorisation or misuse any HKSI’s information (e.g. using the information for personal gain or the benefit of others).
- Staff who have access to or in control of such information should at all times ensure its security and prevent any abuse, unauthorised disclosure or misuse of the information.
- Staff should continue to observe their duty of confidentiality after they have left the HKSI. They should not use, or take advantage of any classified or proprietary information obtained in the course of their official duties.
1.15 Avoiding Multiple Relationships (Principles B, C, E)
- Staff refrain from promising or entering into another personal, professional, financial, or other relationship or obligation with athletes, or their parents/guardians if it appears likely that such a relationship might reasonably impair the staff’s objectivity or otherwise interfere with the staff’s effectively performing his/her functions, or might harm or exploit the athlete, or negatively impact on the HKSI’s image.
- If a staff finds that, due to unforeseen factors, a potentially harmful multiple relationship has arisen, the staff attempts to resolve it with due regard for the best interest of the affected person and maximal compliance with the HKSI SCEC.
1.16 Media Presentation (Principles A, B, C)
When staff provide advice or comment by means of public lectures, demonstration, radio, television or online programs, LIVE or pre-recorded, printed/online articles, mailed material, or other media, they take reasonable precautions to ensure that the content and presentation is consistent with the HKSI SCEC.
1.17 Use of HKSI’s Assets and Resources (Principles B, C)
Staff in charge of or having access to any assets of the HKSI, including funds, property, information, and intellectual property should use them solely for the purpose of conducting the HKSI’s business. They should make the best use of the HKSI’s assets and resources in terms of money, property, goods or services economically and effectively. Any appropriation of the HKSI’s properties for personal use or personal gain is strictly prohibited and may amount to an offence under the Theft Ordinance (Cap. 210).
2. Supporting Athletes
2.1 Structuring the Relationship (Principles A, B, C)
- Staff discuss with athletes as early as is feasible, to inform them about appropriate issues, such as the nature and structure of the service, athlete goals and expectations, and expected outcomes.
- Staff make reasonable efforts to answer athletes’ questions and to avoid misunderstandings about the service being provided. Whenever possible, staff provide oral and/or written information, using language that is understandable to the athlete.
2.2 Relationship Boundaries with Athletes (Principles A, B, C, D, E)
- In elite sports training systems, athletes are at the centre of a system of relationships focused on helping them to achieve their sport potential. These relationships require that a significant amount of time be spent together in the emotionally intense environment of competitive sport. Support staff are placed in a position of trust, with the athletes. All support staff must be aware of their professional roles, responsibilities and appropriate relationship boundaries with athletes. The responsibility to maintain ethical, professional boundaries in relationships with athletes lies completely with the staff.
- Staff do not engage in sexual/romantic relationships with current athletes.
2.3 Accuracy and Objectivity in Support Services (Principles A, B, C, D, E)
When engaged in supporting the athletes and coaches, support staff present information accurately and objectively.
2.4 Consultation (Principles B, C)
Support Staff recognize their own limitations and proactively consult with other professionals to ensure the best and most accurate information is presented to coaches and their athletes.
3. Resolving Ethical Issues
3.1 Familiarity With the HKSI SCEC (Principles A, B, C)
Staff have an obligation to be familiar with the HKSI SCEC and its application to their work. Lack of awareness, or understanding of an ethical standard is not itself a defense to a charge of unethical conduct.
3.2 Confronting Ethical Conduct Issues (Principles B, C)
When a staff is uncertain whether a particular situation or course of action would violate the HKSI SCEC, the staff will consult with other colleagues, HKSI Management, or other appropriate authorities in order to choose a proper response.
3.3 Informal Resolution of Ethical Conduct Violations (Principles B, C, E)
When a staff believes that there may have been an ethical conduct violation by another colleague, they may attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual in a collegial manner to informally resolve this issue.
3.4 Reporting Ethical Conduct Violations (Principles B, C, E)
If an apparent ethical conduct violation is not appropriate for informal resolution under Standard 3.3 or is not resolved properly in that fashion, a staff may file a formal report in writing to the HKSI Management.
3.5 Cooperating with Ethical Conduct Investigations (Principles B, C, E)
Staff cooperate in ethical conduct investigations, proceedings, and resulting requirements of the HKSI as appropriate. Failure to cooperate is itself an ethical conduct violation.
3.6 Improper Complaints (Principles B, C, D, E)
Staff do not file or encourage the filing of ethical conduct complaints that are frivolous and are intended to harm the respondent rather than to protect the public.
4. Process Relating to Violation of Code (Principle C)
Staff acknowledge that the HKSI SCEC is administered under the authority of the HKSI and that a violation of this Code subjects the staff to the HKSI’s disciplinary policies under the Disciplinary Action/Appeal Procedures.