BABICM & CMS UK Code of Ethics
- Duty to your client
- Practice within the law
- Respect for autonomy
- Best interests
- Prevention of harm
- Nature of employment
- Professional integrity
1. Duty to your client
You owe a legal and moral duty of care to the client. Decisions should be made irrespective of how the service is resourced and funded. This relates not only to the standard of care and supervision you provide for them, but also their property and other interests, and also the practical nature of how you take instruction, manage your time, balance multiple clients and tasks, and resolve any conflicts.
2. Ethics and the Law
You must practise within the law. If you identify a breach of the law you should report it to the appropriate authorities. If you identify any inconsistency, incompatibility, or unintended consequence of the law that needs addressing or reform, you should report it to those responsible.
3. Respect for autonomy
You must respect the client’s autonomy, including their right to live with risk. Being autonomous means having the capacity to:
• think for oneself, believe things, have preferences (‘autonomy of thought’)
• make choices and decisions, freely and independently based on autonomous thought (‘autonomy of will’) • act freely and independently in response to thoughts and decisions (‘autonomy of action’).
This is an active duty and not merely an attitude. If one or more of these criteria is threatened, impaired or absent it may be necessary for you to act in a manner that aims to safeguard, enhance or restore the client’s autonomy
4. Best interests
If the client does not have decision-making capacity (competence) over a particular matter, you must act (collaboratively if appropriate) according to what is necessary and in their best interests. You have a responsibility to act as an advocate for them where appropriate, or to ensure that someone suitable does so. In deciding what is in their best interests, their previous competent decisions as well as their wishes and feelings now, should be taken into account.
5. Prevention of harm
You must not cause harm to the client. This includes duties around the protection of children or adults at risk, but is not limited to these. You must not abuse your position of trust in respect of the client, their family or others significant in their life.
You must uphold the principles of non-discrimination, cultural sensitivity and human rights in applying each component of this Code. At a minimum this means the six strands of diversity (gender, age, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, belief), and related rights (language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status).
7. Telling the truth
You must endeavour to tell the client the truth known to you at all times. This includes taking positive steps to correct any misunderstandings or misperceptions they or those significant in their life may have.
You must respect the client’s privacy, confidentiality and data protection, and their physical and emotional dignity.
9. Nature of employment
You must ensure that the client and others understand the nature and limits of your employment or practice status, how you handle referrals, instruction and case loads, and that these and other business and financial practices or considerations are honest, accountable and of good repute.
10. Professional integrity
You have an obligation of professional integrity. This includes an obligation to maintain any relevant registration, accreditation and supervision, professional indemnity and public liability insurance. It also includes your dealings with other professionals or in other capacities (such as expert or medico-legal work), insofar as they may relate to your case management practice. It also includes continuing education and training, dealings with the media, any withdrawal from a case for professional reasons, and having resources for addressing ethical dilemmas. You should take on work and practice at a level commensurate with your skills and experience.