Most professional organisations today require defined protocols to set standards of conduct and accountability for their members, communicate these standards to the community and provide regulatory authorities with a basis for judgements relating to behavioural standards. Managing Values is experienced in facilitated codes of ethics, codes of conduct and Business Principles statements as well as helping to build ethics committees and supporting organisational infrastructures.
We believe codes of ethics cannot be dictated and that while behavioural protocols are necessary to provide written behavioural boundaries, they are only valuable as a tool when:
- All members have a chance to contribute to their development as this consultation provides the opportunity for employee engagement and buy-in to the final code
- All members have an opportunity for training so they can understand what the code means within their work context. For this reason, we believe the communication and education strategy that surrounds the roll-out of any new or revised code is as important as the protocols itself
- The consequences of not abiding by the code is made explicit to members as well as the measures that will be taken against employees who behave in inappropriate manners
- The Code of Ethics is aspirational and is regularly used as a motivating and inspirational communication vehicle within the organisation and not just used as a disciplinary tool when an incident has occurred
- The Code is explicitly used in decision making concerning the profession
- The guidelines provided are supported and demonstrated by the behaviour of those at the top of the organisation
We see a Code of Conduct and a Code of Ethics as different protocols with two different aims and are therefore best kept separate. A Code of Professional Conduct sets the behavioural minimum required for a profession. It is often considered a legal document and members may be asked to ‘sign up’ to its standards in order to maintain membership. The Code of Professional Conduct is designed to protect the integrity of the profession and is a behavioural based document often containing specific examples of behaviour that members can or cannot engage in.
A Code of Ethics is a values-based document. It outlines values that guide decision making for the profession when explicit behavioural standards are not set. A Code of Ethics is required as a Code of Professional Conduct cannot contain all possible scenarios to be faced in a workplace. The Code of Ethics is often a shorter document that is easily referred to and remembered by members. While the values contained in a Code of Ethics are often quoted at the start of a Code of Professional Conduct, it is advisable to keep the two separate to facilitate the usability of both.
We are able to deliver the following services:
- Sit as external members of an ethics panel
- Develop appropriate protocols for an internal organisational ethics committee
- Provide advice to the committee on ethical issues
- Provide advice on appropriate procedures to enhance the commitment and effectiveness of the Code of Ethics and its dissemination
- Provide advice regarding appropriate investigative services and conduct investigations where applicable
- Review and provide advice on appropriate behavioural protocols to support the intent of the Code
Revision of numerous behavioural protocols for one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies. This included the company’s Code of Conduct, Values Statement, Ethics Policy, Operating Policy and Whistleblower Policy. The review was designed to identify potential overlaps and synergies between the protocols and any existing gaps against world’s best practice in this area. A revised protocol was released that embedded all the principles of the previous collection of documents together with a communication plan for its roll out.