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Developing the CSMH Code of Conduct

The ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Working Group

01 February 2023

The ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health (CSMH) sits across two faculties Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience and Social Science and Public Policy, each with their own ED&I teams and Codes of Conduct, so why make another one?

As a Centre, we regularly collaborate with external stakeholders including people with lived experience/expertise, non-academic partner organisations, peer researchers as well as academic collaborators. Relational, reciprocal, mutual relationships are key to our work within the Centre between staff and students, but also to our relationships beyond King’s College London.

As with any organisation, there are power dynamics that if unrecognised can be harmful. Also, we work across diversity and difference, carry out research on issues that can be sensitive, and work with communities for whom trust in research has been affected by prior and ongoing abuses of power. Thus, we need to pay attention to our behaviour throughout all aspects of our work and to take responsibility for ongoing learning and reflection. We therefore wanted to develop CSMH specific guidance/procedures for preventing and addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination (BHD) which reflects the Centre aims and ways of working.

As part of this, we developed a Code of Conduct which incorporates expectations for behaviour, adherence to our policies and processes, and ways of communicating both internally and with external partners (e.g., Lived Experience Advisory Board, Scientific Advisory Board, Stakeholder partners, peer researchers and affiliates).

The Code of Conduct was developed following the recommendations from the Challenge report in November 2021, which drew together findings from our first CSMH survey and a series of focus groups facilitated by Challenge. Following this report, the CSMH ED&I working group formed a Task & Finish Group to take forward Challenge’s recommendations. This included three sub-groups; one developing a Code of Conduct, one creating guidance around reporting and support for people if they’ve experienced bullying, discrimination and harassment, and one examining how the workplace culture influences people’s work lives and what can be done to create a positive working environment.

This is our first iteration, with ten items. It is intended to be used to:

  • help identify training and development needs and gaps
  • as a tool in supervisions and team meetings for reflection
  • as a reference tool to support people to question others’ actions on their behalf, as an ally, and as an active bystander.
  • embed ways to transparently monitor progress with mechanisms for accountability

You can find out more about the Centre’s EDI work here:

We welcome any feedback and ideas for training/development to support these ways of working. You can get in touch by emailing

Our Code of Conduct

Click the link below to download our Code of Conduct.

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