Organizational Leadership

Sample Code of Conduct for Policy Councils and Governing Bodies

Involvement in the Policy Council, Policy Committee and the local parent committees empowers the active participation of parents and other community representatives. This resource can be used by program directors, policy groups and governing bodies in establishing policies and procedures for a code of conduct for its members.


The (name of governing body) recognizes that persons involved in governance activities (Policy Council and Board of Directors) at (program name) are leaders, models, and representatives of the organization. All members will be expected to conduct themselves such that their personal and professional conduct does not have a negative affect on services or reflect badly on (program name) public image, reputation, or credibility.


  1. Acceptable standards of conduct will be established and periodically revised by the (program name) Board of Directors for both Council and Board members.
  2. All Council and Board members will be informed of the established standards of conduct.
  3. The Board of Directors in its entirety will be responsible, with a simple majority vote of members present for a regularly scheduled or appropriately called special meeting, for reprimanding or removing any representative from the Council or Board due to conduct violations.


Head Start and Early Head Start Policy Council and (program name) Board of Directors members:

  1. Will respect and promote the unique identity of each child, family, employee, Council and Board member and refrain from stereotyping on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability.
  2. Must uphold the agency's confidentiality guidelines stated as follows:
    1. No information regarding children and families of children enrolled with (program name) is to be discussed outside of the work setting or Board/Council meetings;
    2. Information is to be discussed within the work setting and at Board/Council meetings only as is necessary and related to program operations/business or decision-making;
    3. No information learned at Board/Council meetings or while conducting Board/Council business may be discussed or used in any way outside of Board/Council activities.
  3. Will support and participate in a TEAMWORK approach to decision making.
  4. Will behave and interact respectfully while participating on Board/Council or representing the organization within the community.
  5. Must have an interest and concern for children and their families.
  6. May not accept gifts and/or gratuities as stated in the (program name) Personnel Policy Manual.
  7. Are prohibited from using their position on Board/Council for purposes which are, or give the appearance of being, motivated by a desire for private gain for themselves or others, such as those with family, business or other ties.
  8. Must not make public statements under the auspices of any agency title without the Board of Directors' approval.
  9. Will follow all (program name) general operating procedures.
  10. Will respect and uphold the legal authority of the Board of Directors to establish, review, or revise the standards of conduct for individuals participating on the Board/Council.

Adapted from Program Governance Workshop, 2004 Head Start and Early Head Start Directors' Institute