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RDA Code of Conduct – Process Steps

  • Creator
  • #137351

    Stefanie Kethers

    Code of Conduct Procedures – Managing a Complaint


    Managing a complaint under the RDA Code of Conduct, as published online here:


    • Complainant: The person raising the complaint. This may not always be the victim of the incident.
    • Complainee: The person about who the complaint is made.
    • First contact: The person who is initially approached by Complainant.

    It is important to get as much information about the incident as possible, and soon after the incident as possible. Ask Complainant to provide this in writing, or transcribe it yourself as it was told to you. Be sure to note the date and time that the report is made.[SK1]

    1. Complainant raises a complaint under the RDA Code of Conduct to First contact concerning alleged behaviour of Complainee at name of meeting / online context  in location / n/a on Date. Complainant alleges allegation details.
    2. If the complaint is a harassment incident that was raised in a physical setting, First contact does the following:
      • Offer the Complainant a private place to sit
      • Ask “Is there a friend or trusted person who you would like to be with you?” If so, arrange for someone to fetch this person.
      • Assure them (and repeat as needed) that the incident and any reports will be kept strictly confidential. This is crucial, because the primary reason targets are reluctant to report harassment is fear of being labelled a complainer or troublemaker.
      • Ask them “How can I help?” DO NOT ask questions that imply or suggest a particular action, for example “Should I call security?” or “Should I call the police?”
      • Provide them with your list of emergency contacts in case they need help later
      • If everyone is physically safe, involve law enforcement or security only at a victim’s request or with the victim’s consent.
      • If a physical assault is reported, provide information on how to contact the nearest rape crisis centre. The target should be the one to make the decisions about contacting this resource.
      • If emergency help is needed, or if there is an immediate or emergent threat to attendees or the safety of anyone, including conference staff, summon security or police.
    3. Complainant describes their complaint in detail to First contact following the incident template (see below)[SK2].
    4. First contact immediately contacts the Council co-chairs, unless Council is directly implicated in the complaint, in which case the Complainant and First contact agree on a different RDA contact to be informed and a different governance body to be involved. The main objective [SK3] of the meeting is to determine:
      • What happened?
      • What are we doing about it? >
      • Who is going to do those things? 
      • When are they going to do them?[SK4]
    5. One of the two Council co-chairs nominates a Moderator, typically a Council member, to manage the complaint.The Moderator will be impartial, with no direct connection to the Complainant and Complainee and will act without bias or an appearance of bias. Only one of the two Council co-chairs will take forward the interaction and correspondence with parties involved, to maintain as much discretion, confidentiality and secrecy as necessary.
    6. A Council co-chair contacts Complainant and checks if they are satisfied with the assignment of Moderator as the designated RDA Code of Conduct Moderator to manage the complaint. If they are not, steps 5 and 6 are repeated until Complainant is satisfied with the assignment of the new Moderator.
    7. Moderator and Complainant agree on a process, typically as described in the remaining steps.
    8. Complainant confirms that they wish to progress the complaint under the RDA Code of Conduct. If they do not wish to progress the complaint, then all proceedings are dropped, any written exchange or documentation is irreversibly destroyed and no further verbal or written communication on this matter is undertaken.
    9. Moderator confirms that Complainee is satisfied with the assignment of Moderator as the designated RDA Code of Conduct Moderator to manage the complaint. If not, a meeting with the Council co-chair is held to identify a different Moderator and steps 6.-9 are repeated.…[SK5]
    10. Complainee responds to the complaint on date.
    11. Both parties provide the names of third parties (witnesses) who they think should be contacted to give a view on the matter, either in their descriptions of the incident, or on request from Moderator. <
    12. Moderator agrees with the two parties that Moderator will confidentially contact the third parties (witnesses) named by Complainant and Complainee.
    13. Moderator asks all named third parties (witnesses) to provide their views on the matter to Moderator, with the understanding that they would be treated in confidence.
    14. Moderator reviews the third-party input together with the original statements from Complainant and Complainee. Where necessary, Moderator seeks further clarification from Complainant, Complainee, and/or any named third parties (witnesses).
    15. Moderator develops their conclusion and provides a report [SK6] to the Council co-chair (or the nominated RDA contact in case Council has been implicated), including suggested next steps to resolve the issue.
    16. The Council co-chair discusses the report with other Council co-chair, developing a response that will be communicated to both Complainant and Complainee, and designate a Council representative.[SK7]If Council was implicated, the nominated RDA contact discusses this with the co-chairs of the governance body substituted for Council in this case.
    17. The Council representative conveys the response to both Complainant and Complainee.
    18. If either Complainant or Complainee are not satisfied with the response, or with the way the complaint has been handled, the Council representative outlines the appeals process[SK8] .
    19. The Moderator provides an anonymized summary report (that can later be made public) to Council.

    Confidential Incidence Report, Code of Conduct Complaint

    • Identifying information (name, badge number, physical appearance) of the Complainee
    • The behaviour that was in violation
    • The date and approximate time of the behaviour (if different than the time the report was made)
    • The location and circumstances surrounding the incident
    • Other people involved in or witnessing the incident[SK9]
    • The name of First contact

    Confidential Evaluation Report, Code of Conduct Complaint.

    Date: date month year

    RDA member assigned to evaluate the complaint: Moderator

    The following is the view of the evaluating RDA member, Moderator.

    [SK2]To be detailed

    [SK3]Need to cover this case later on

    [SK5]To be described

    [SK6]Description / template to follow

    [SK7]Should this not be discussed in Council?

    [SK8]To be described

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