Even the best Code of Conduct won't make any difference if it's not enforced. Having Code of Conduct but not being able to enforce it give false feeling of safety.
Mistakes in Code of Conduct process might expose sensitive information about involved sides, result in Internet flame wars, people loosing jobs and making people feel unsafe to report anything in a future.
You should be careful when choosing your Response Team and make sure they are aware what kind of challenges they might face during CoC duty.
Size & Structure
It's important to have the right size of the Response Team. Too big team will make decision making too slow and ineffective and there is a chance of diffusion of responsibility. Too small will put too much stress, pressure and responsibility on one or two people's shoulders.
So far the best Response Team that worked for us was consisting of 4 people: two women and two men.
If possible, try to have people from underrepresented groups in your response team.
Code of Conduct handling has to be main responsibility of team members and have priority over anything else. Make sure every member of the team is not responsible for anything crucial for running your event.
Every member of the team should have access to the CoC e-mail address and be able to receive reports.
If possible whole team should be involved in handling each incident, but in case it is impossible and the issue is time sensitive, each member should be allowed to make necessary decisions in name of the whole team. However, it should be an exception reserved to very time sensitive situations requiring immediate decision.
If any of the members of CoC team is involved in the incident, the person is excluded from decision making.
Choosing Team Members
Make sure that all Response Team members:
- are familiar with this document, understand and agree with the process;
- don't have any important responsibilities at the event;
- are available during your whole event and are very responsive;
- represent a high level of empathy and you can trust their judgment;
- are aware that the work is emotionally draining and working in CoC team won't affect their well-being;
It is not required that conference chair or main event organizer is a part of the team.
Code of Conduct team is independent from the conference organizers and conference chair. Other organizers of the event are not allowed to influence CoC response team decisions.