Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
Arqaam takes a values-based approach to ethics and compliance. This code of ethics and professional conduct clearly and concisely states Arqaam’s expectations and outlines acceptable behaviours.
As mentioned before, Arqaam’s mission statement is:
Arqaam provides contextually informed and ethical analysis that reimagines the possibility and opportunity for effective social change and inspires action.
Arqaam’s primary guiding principles are integrity and equality. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that these values and the mission statement are at the core of everything Arqaam does.
Arqaam works with integrity in its engagements with clients, communities, and employees, and Arqaam expects the same in return. Furthermore, Arqaam believes that everyone working with and for Arqaam is to be treated with fairness, including receiving fair pay in alignment with qualifications and decent living standards.
Below are general and specific guidelines that are to be followed by all associates working with Arqaam, no matter the length of the contract.
Be inclusive: Arqaam welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities. Arqaam does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, colour, ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and economic class, educational level, immigration status, sex, age, size, disability, family status, political belief, or religion.
Respect differences: Arqaam prioritizes working with a diverse group of individuals, including both Arqaam’s associates and clients. With varied cultural backgrounds, working styles, and preferences, respecting and accommodating others is crucial to Arqaam’s success. Individual decisions related to Arqaam’s work will affect clients and team members, and therefore everyone is expected to act professionally and take potential consequences to other parties into account when making decisions.
Be respectful: People do not agree all the time, but disagreement is no excuse for disrespectful behaviour. Experiencing frustration from time to time, cannot justify to personally attack anyone. Arqaam provides an environment where people feel comfortable to be productive and creative.
Prevent harassment: Arqaam cultivates an environment where people feel comfortable and able to work with maximum productivity and creativity. Associates are expected to treat others with kindness. Disrespectful or exclusionary behaviour, harassment, and personal attacks are not acceptable under any circumstances. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Threats of violence.
- Discriminatory jokes or languages.
- Sharing sexually explicit or violent material through any medium.
- Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.
- Unwelcome sexual attention.
- Advocating for or encouraging any of the above behaviours.
1. Working environment
Arqaam’s associates should always act with integrity, comply with laws, maintain a professional work environment and comply with Arqaam’s policies. They should treat clients, colleagues and partners with respect at all times.
Equal Opportunity Employment: Arqaam’s associates are hired solely based upon individual merit and qualifications that directly relate to their professional competence.
Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying: In line with the general guidelines, Arqaam does not tolerate any form of harassment, discrimination or bullying in any form—verbal, physical or otherwise. Any complaint of harassment will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Appropriate action will be taken, including the possibility of immediate dismissal without pay.
Drugs and Alcohol: Arqaam believes that drug and alcohol intoxication are incompatible with professional work standards. Any person should not be impaired in their performance, act inappropriately, endanger the safety of others or violate the law while on duty for Arqaam.
Attendance: As Arqaam promotes remote working, attendance and punctuality are only relevant when on field missions on Arqaam’s behalf. In this situation, working hours will be discussed and agreed upon in advance of the mission. During regular remote work, Arqaam allows for individual associates to determine their own schedule so long as they meet deadlines.
Absence: Associates are expected to undertake all assigned duties and adhere to deadlines. Should illness or any other circumstances prevent this, it is required that the associate notify their director or supervisor immediately. This will allow Arqaam to arrange for coverage of their duties and continue work in the associate’s absence. For associates paid on a project basis, their compensation would then be prorated accordingly.
2. Conflict of interest
Arqaam’s reputation depends on the actions and integrity of individual associates. It is therefore essential that associates avoid activities that hurt, or appear to hurt, their ability to make objective and fair decisions.
A conflict of interest occurs when a person associated with Arqaam is in a situation in which their interests, or those of an immediate family member or otherwise intimate relationship, conflict or appear to conflict with their obligations and duties to Arqaam. Arqaam must be notified of any potential conflict of interest. Arqaam’s director will then decide the appropriate action, including but not limited to assigning the associate to unrelated projects or other responsibilities.
In case of questions, a discussion with Arqaam’s director should be sought.
Arqaam’s works with many forms of internal and external data. It is of utmost importance that all data remain confidential. No internal information shall be shared with any outside party unless approved in writing by the director.
Arqaam respects all its competitors and wants to compete with them fairly. Therefore, Arqaam does not want to receive any confidential information related to competitor’s activities, and Arqaam does not allow any of its own confidential information to be shared externally by current or former associates.
Everyone who is associated with Arqaam is required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which will remain valid after the person is no longer actively engaged with Arqaam.
4. Arqaam’s assets
Arqaam’s associates may be entrusted with the use of company assets, including physical, intellectual, and electronic or digital properties. They are required to protect these assets and treat them with care.
Company assets: Should anyone associated with Arqaam be given or use Arqaam’s tools and equipment, Arqaam expects that the individual be responsible and not wasteful with the items. Arqaam’s funds, equipment and other physical assets are not to be requisitioned for purely personal use.
Intellectual property: Arqaam produces its internal projects under the creative commons license CC BY-AS (Attribution-Share Alike). Intellectual property created by associates while undertaking activities for Arqaam is owned by Arqaam and not the individual creator. For external projects it will depend on a project by project basis.
A CC BY-AS license means that Arqaam’s materials are available for public use under the requirements that (1) attribution to Arqaam is given, (2) any changes are indicated and (3) the resulting materials are also shared under a CC BY-AS license.
Arqaam’s choice of a creative commons license is in alignment with Arqaam’s adherence to the 9 principles of digital development, which advocates for open source creations, as one of their principels. Arqaam therefore shares any code and other relevant aspects of any developed tools accordingly.
For client-based projects, the intellectual property varies from project to project and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Data: Arqaam collects and stores personal information of associates working with Arqaam in order to maintain payroll and other administrative duties. Access to this data is only provided in line with the most rigorous data guidelines provided by the GDPR of the European Union.
5. Financial integrity and responsibility
Financial integrity and fiscal responsibility are core aspects of professionalism. Alongside accurate financial reporting, money spent on behalf of Arqaam needs to be used appropriately and in line with accurate and complete records.
Spending money: Arqaam works as a consultant to external clients. Therefore, Arqaam often spends money on the client’s behalf and receives a reimbursement after providing accurate financial records. The requirements for reimbursements (such as lump-sum per diems or on receipts) depends on the client and contract and will be agreed before any money is spent.
Should approved expenses use Arqaam’s internal money, the reimbursement procedures are the same. For all expenses, the cost has to be reasonable, directly related to company business and supported by appropriate documentation. Arqaam considers itself a social enterprise that reinvests its profits into internal projects. Therefore, business expenses should all be validated under these circumstances.
Contracting: Currently, the only person authorised to sign contracts (of any kind) on Arqaam’s behalf is the director.
6. Anti-bribery and corruption
As part of Arqaam’s integrity, it is essential that the company maintains trustworthiness and a good reputation. Therefore, anyone associated with Arqaam should always do their work fairly, honestly, and legally.
No one associated with Arqaam should engage in any form of bribery (either giving or receiving) on Arqaam’s behalf.
7. Obey the law
Arqaam takes its responsibility to comply with laws and regulations very seriously, and Arqaam’s associates are expected to comply with applicable legal requirements and prohibitions when conducting work for Arqaam. The law applicable for Arqaam is German law unless stated otherwise in a specific contract.