The Marine Institute was built on a foundation of trust and it drives Government and users of our services to choose and trust our work. Employees proudly work for the Marine Institute. We continue to earn our stakeholders' trust by doing the right thing, the right way, every day, and remaining steadfastly committed to integrity and ethical conduct. We understand the culture on which we have built our strategic planning to be the beliefs and behaviours that determine how we all interact and handle our business transactions. Those beliefs and behaviours are based on being trustworthy. This Code of Ethics and our Code of Conduct, are our guides to doing the right thing. They describe the expectations that help us safeguard our reputation. Please take the time to review the Codes periodically. Thank you for efforts that help us continue to earn the trust that has been placed in us.
John Killeen, Chairman
Michael Gillooly, Joint Acting Chief Executive
Patricia Orme, Joint Acting Chief Executive
Marine Institute Code of Conduct
Objective of the Code
- This Code sets out an agreed set of ethical principles that all employees and Board Members of the Marine Institute should adhere to.
- The Code aims to promote the maintenance of trust and confidence by colleagues, the Board, our customers and the general public.
- The Code aims to prevent the development or acceptance of any unethical practices.
- The Code aims to promote the environmental, social and governance principles which underpin the Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022; Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services.
Employees and Board Members commit to a culture of diversity, candour and responsibility; of speaking up; of no-blame where honest errors are made, acknowledged with celerity and in full. In particular, employees and Board members commit to:
- The management and employees will not be involved in outside employment/business interests without the written permission of the Institute, and in no case should they be in conflict or in potential conflict with the business of the Institute; if a conflict does arise, staff should consult with the Director of Corporate Services or the Chief Executive.
- Avoiding the giving or receiving of corporate gifts, hospitality, preferential treatment or benefits which might affect or appear to affect the ability of the donor or the recipient to make independent judgment on business transactions.
- Business gifts other than items of very small intrinsic value, such as business diaries or calendars, should not be accepted.
- Competing vigorously and energetically but also ethically and honestly;
- Comply with the Institute's Research Integrity Policy once it is finalised.
- The purchasing activities of goods/services being in accordance with Marine Institute procurement guidelines and best business practice.
- Claiming expenses only as appropriate to business needs and in accordance with good practice in the public sector generally.
- Ensuring that the Marine Institute's financial statements and annual reports accurately reflect our business performance and are not misleading or designed to be misleading.
- Avoiding the use of the Institute's resources or time for personal gain, for the benefit of persons/organisations unconnected with the body or its activities or for the benefit of competitors.
- Not acquiring information or business secrets by improper means.
- The Board of Directors supports the management and employees of the Marine Institute in the provision of access to general information relating Marine Institute activities in a way that is open and makes research findings available to increase and enhance the pursuit of knowledge. In particular, the Board, in accordance with its ESG philosophy, supports and collaborates with others whose purpose is to contribute to the sustainability of our planet, the promotion of social equality and diversity. The Board is committed to open and transparent disclosure as part of good corporate governance and with the purpose of enhancing its accountability to the general public. The Board respects the confidentiality of sensitive information held by the Marine Institute. This would constitute material such as commercially sensitive information including future plans or details of major organisational or other changes, personal information, information received in confidence by the public body.
- Observing appropriate prior consultation procedures with third parties where, exceptionally, it is proposed to release sensitive information in the public interest.
- Complying with relevant statutory provisions (e.g. data protection legislation, the Freedom of Information Act, 2014).
- Observing the requirements of non-disclosure of privileged or confidential information to any third party. This continues to apply where employment with the Marine Institute has ended.
- Staff will fulfil all regulatory and statutory obligations imposed on the Marine Institute as agreed by the Marine Institute Board.
- Staff will comply with detailed tendering and procurement procedures, as well as complying with prescribed levels of authority for sanctioning any relevant expenditure.
- The Institute encourages anyone having in good faith suspicions of fraud, financial irregularity of other improper behaviour or practice; to speak up and, where necessary, to report this in accordance with the procedures set out in the Institute's Protected Disclosure Policy which may be found on the Intranet or from Human Resources.
- Staff will work with the Board Audit Committee in implementing adequate controls to ensure compliance with best practices in financial procedures and reporting.
- Board members should endeavour to attend all Board meetings.
- Those holding designated positions as outlined in the Ethics in Public Office Act 1995 and 2001 and the Standards in Public Office Act 2001 must disclose any outside employment/business interests that are in conflict or in potential conflict with the business of the Marine Institute.
- The acceptance of further employment where the potential for conflict of interest arises should be avoided during a reasonable period of time after the exercise of employment of the Marine Institute has ceased.
- Staff and Board Members acknowledge the responsibility to be loyal to the Marine Institute and will be fully committed to its activities while acknowledging the requirement to conform to highest standards of business ethics.
- Undertake to comply with employment equality, diversity and equal status legislation.
- Fairness in all business dealings.
- Value customers and treat all customers equally.
- The Marine Institute promotes the development of a culture of 'speaking up' where staff are encouraged to raise concerns regarding wrongdoing in the workplace without fear of reprisal.
- Minimise any detrimental impact of the operations on the environment and ensure that community concerns are fully considered.
- The Marine Institute places the highest priority on promoting and preserving the health and safety of employees.
- Staff and Board Members will adhere to all Marine Institute policies relating to the work environment including policies relating to inter alia, Diversity and Inclusion, Respect and Dignity and Bullying and Harassment.
- The Institute will circulate the Code of Conduct and a policy document on disclosure of interests to all Board members, management and employees for their retention.
- The Institute will ensure the above recipients acknowledge the receipt and understanding of same.
- The Institute will prepare an explanatory booklet providing practical guidance and direction on such areas as gifts and entertainment and on other ethical considerations which arise routinely.
- The Institute will review the Code of Conduct as appropriate.
Marine Institute's Code of Ethics
This is our Code of Ethics for The Marine Institute. It contains important principles that we all must follow as we do business, and it describes the values that will guide us in our decisions. By complying with this Code, we will enhance not only the Institute's reputation and integrity, but also its financial accountability and governance. The Marine Institute Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics aim to promote the environmental, social and governance principles which underpin the Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022; Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services. The rules described below reflect our values, particularly the most essential one—trust. Trust means that others can rely on us to speak truthfully, to honour our commitments, and to treat people fairly. We must earn and keep the trust of all our stakeholders: Government, our customers, our business partners, our employees, and those who live in the communities where we operate.
This Code should be read in conjunction with and is part of the Marine Institute's Code of Conduct.
Treat people fairly
Treating people with fairness and respect goes hand-in-hand with trust. Everyone deserves an equal chance to reach his/her own potential, based on hard work, talent, and commitment to the Marine Institute's values. We value a diverse workplace and we recognise that we benefit from it as an organisation. Diversity requires that we be open-minded and welcoming to people regardless of race, colour, religion, gender, age, ethnic or national origin, membership of the traveller community, neurodiversity, physical and intellectual ability, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity, marital status, citizenship status, Trade Union membership, past prison record, parental status, or any other legally protected personal characteristic or status. Through a shared commitment to an open and inclusive culture at the Marine Institute, we create a good place to work, one that is able to attract the best people and achieve the best results. We support the right of any of our staff to make protected disclosure of any issues of wrongdoing that they think they detect.
The Marine Institute often finds itself in a position as being the sole provider of specific services. However, there are certain situations where we have to compete for contracts within the market place. In such situations we will compete vigorously—but at all times honestly and fairly.
Respect the environment
Much of our work is on a fragile marine ecosystem. We also carry out business utilising scarce natural resources. We are, nevertheless, a good steward for the environment. We work hard to prevent pollution, reduce carbon emissions, reduce climate change, minimize waste, and reduce our use of natural resources. The Marine Institute is focused on sustainability—minimizing our long-term effect on the environment.
Deal honestly with Stakeholders
In our dealings with Government and with other stakeholders we deal honesty and do not try to mislead or hide information. Neither do we in any way falsify our documents and records.
Keep honest books and records
Our financial statements and records are complete, timely, accurate, and fair, and they comply with appropriate accounting standards. We won't hide liabilities, overstate earnings, keep things off our balance sheets that belong there, or disguise our transactions. In addition, we recognize our responsibility to help promote full, fair, accurate, timely, and understandable disclosure in documents and financial statements and will endeavour to ensure that we update our disclosures in line with current best practice from time to time.
Give the Marine Institute your complete business loyalty
The Institute works hard to earn our trust, and in turn expects our loyalty. Our work decisions must always be based on what's best for the Marine Institute, not for us personally. You should not have undisclosed business or personal interests that conflict with those of the Institute.
What if the Rules don't clearly address a situation?
No set of rules could answer every question you will face at work. When these rules do not address your situation, you should analyse your situation by reference to the Marine Institute's values. Always do the right thing – integrity matters. Also, we should ask questions when we are not sure what to do. Contact your manager, the Director of Corporate Services, the CEO, Chairman of the Board, Chairman of the Audit Committee, or other appropriate confidante.
What if something seems wrong?
Sometimes things go wrong. If you have suspicions of improper behaviour happening in the Institute, be it of a financial, scientific or personal nature, firstly try prevention, then look for investigation within our policies. But do not ignore it. The Institute's Protected Disclosures Procedures are available on the Intranet or from Human Resources and are there to help you deal with any suspicions you may have. Be a champion for our values and lead others to follow them.
Approved by Board of Directors 27 May 2021