Society for Natural Sciences Code of Conduct

Members are bound by this code of conduct and must:

1. Uphold the integrity of the professional scientist and exercise their professional skills and judgement to the best of their ability, serving as an example to others and upholding the reputation of the natural sciences community.

2. Develop and maintain their professional knowledge and skills, engaging in Continuing Professional Development to enable them to contribute to furthering the profile of interdisciplinary science and natural sciences.

3. Act in a fair, honest and trustworthy and diligent manner, and never engage in corrupt practice.

4. Treat information with appropriate confidentiality and sensitivity.

5. Work in a way which maintains the dignity and welfare of all those in the Society and wider science profession.

6. When called upon to do so, give a professional opinion with objectivity and reliability, and hold themselves accountable for the impact this may have.

Any breach of the Code of Conduct will be investigated and may lead to disciplinary action being taken against a member. You can report any concerns you have about a member by contacting us in confidence via

Disciplinary Procedures

1. When a complaint is received

Only written complaints from a named complainant will be considered.

A trustee of the Society will be nominated to investigate the complaint in the first instance and will endeavour to facilitate mediation to resolve issues in the complaint.

If the appointed trustee feels the complaint is trivial or vexatious, with no reasonable prospect of a preliminary investigation finding a case to answer, then the formal complaint may be dismissed.

2. Preliminary Investigation

If mediation is not possible, or does not result in a satisfactory outcome for the complainant, then the trustee will identify a lay member to serve on an investigatory team and these two individuals will carry out a preliminary investigation to decide whether a full investigation by a Disciplinary Panel is justified.

There should be a presumption of innocence until a breach of the Code of Conduct is established. Nevertheless, if in the view of the preliminary investigators the allegations are of sufficient gravity, they may suspend membership while the investigation is carried out.

Written records of the complaint and actions undertaken during each step of the process should be kept.

If a full investigation is deemed necessary a written case to answer should be produced by the investigatory team and a Disciplinary Panel should be appointed.

3. Disciplinary Panel

The Panel will consist of not less than three persons, one Trustee, one senior member of the Society leadership team, and one lay member. Any conflicts of interest declared by Panel members will result in that member of the Panel being stood down and a new member being appointed.

The Panel acts as impartial assessors of the complaint, decides on the complaint, and if it is upheld applies any sanction it deems appropriate.

4. Disciplinary Hearing

Both parties to the complaint should be informed of the date and time of the hearing at least 30 days in advance. Communication of these details will normally be via the email address provided by the parties to the initial investigation team.

Both parties, and the Panel may provide additional written evidence to the disciplinary hearing.

Respondents are entitled to bring a supporter to the hearing, or in their absence send lawyer they have appointed to represent them and speak on their behalf.

Consideration will be given by the Panel to inviting a legal advisor to advise on the process but not vote on the decision.

The hearing will be conducted with transparent fairness.

The hearing will comprise a statement of the complaint by the investigating team or the complainant, supported by evidence which may include witness statements or cross examination. This will be followed by a rebuttal by the respondent or their appointed representative and evidence which may also include witness statements or cross examination.

If, 10 days or more before the hearing, the respondent freely admits the circumstances of the allegation then this, and evidence of any mitigating circumstances should be taken into account by the Panel when considering the penalty to be applied.

If the member resigns from the Society after the complaint has been made but before the disciplinary panel decision is reached, then the respondent shall be deemed to remain in membership until the decision is reached and the penalty applied. If revocation of membership is deemed to be the appropriate penalty then this shall be kept on record should the respondent ever wish to rejoin the Society.

5. Results of the Hearing

The decision of the Panel must be unanimous.

If the complaint is upheld then the Panel will hear evidence of any mitigating circumstances before the penalty is decided.

The respondent will be notified of the decision in writing within 28 days of the hearing.

If the penalty is revocation of membership then this shall remain on the record indefinitely. Any lesser penalty will remain on the record for 2 years.

6. Appeal

There exists a right to appeal, Leave to appeal will be considered by an Appeal Panel will comprise of three persons, one Trustee, one senior member of the Society leadership team, and one lay member, none of whom served on the original Disciplinary Panel.

Leave to appeal is not automatic and grounds must be identified. These grounds may include but are not limited to i) new evidence not presented at the original hearing, ii) failure to follow procedures as outlined in this document or iii) apparent injustice at the first Disciplinary Hearing.

7. Records

Records of procedures undertaken as outlined in this document shall be kept in accordance with GDPR.