Although social work is a profession laden with contradictions, the primary task within the social work profession is to ensure that the directives and principles enshrined in social work ethics, call on social workers to establish human rights and willingly be able to challenge unjust principles (Allan et al 2009). Its clarity and accessibility make it an invaluable learning source. Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Hallam. Professional social workers often hold undergraduate or Master’s degree in Social Work, but a fair amount of their knowledge comes from gaining on-the-job experience. Ethical awareness is fundamental to the professional practice of social workers. She is currently researching ethical issues in youth work and the changing nature of professionalism in local authorities. They should value and respect the contribution of colleagues from other disciplines. Respecting the right to self determination Social workers should respect, promote and support people’s dignity and right to make their own choices and decisions, irrespective of their values and life choices, provided this does not threaten the rights, safety and legitimate interests of others. Social work practice addresses the barriers, inequities and injustices that exist in society. Social workers should promote and contribute to the development of positive policies, procedures and practices which are anti-oppressive and empowering. Social workers should respect the principles of confidentiality that apply to their relationships and ensure that confidential information is only divulged with the consent of the person using social work services or the informant. Challenge ethics and values that negatively affect practice You should constructively challenge colleagues when you believe their ethics and values are negatively affecting their methods in social work practice. The full text is available at the NASW website. They should respect people’s beliefs, values, culture, goals, needs, preferences, relationships and affiliations. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org In everyday usage, ‘values’ is often used to refer to one or all of religious, moral, cultural, political or ideological beliefs, principles, attitudes, opinions or preferences. Social workers should ensure the sharing of information is subject to ethical requirements in respect of privacy and confidentiality across agencies and professions, and within a multi-purpose agency. The Code of Ethics states the values and ethical principles on which the profession is based. Given that social workers constantly make moral judgements when they discern whether something is morally right or wrong, over the years, social work writers on ethics have argued for the importance of moral philosophy for social work (Goldstein, 1987; Gray, 1995, 1996; Siporin, 1983). BASW expects employers to ensure social workers’ learning and development needs are met and seek adequate resources to do so. Copyright © British Association of Social Workers A workshop day aimed at those considering a move into independent social work or new to self employment. The practice principles are not intended to be exhaustive as some ethical challenges and problems facing social workers in practice are common and others are specific to particular countries and settings. The Code comprises statements of values and ethical principles relating to human rights, social justice and professional integrity, followed by practice principles that indicate how the ethical principles should be applied in practice. Its mission is to enable all people to develop their full potential, enrich their lives, and prevent dysfunction. The secondary research method I used was semi-structured interviews with social work professionals. The Code of Ethics states the values and ethical principles on which the profession is based. Social work utilises a variety of skills, techniques, and activities consistent with its holistic focus on persons and their environments. The social work profession draws on theories of human development and behaviour and social systems to analyse complex situations and to facilitate individual, organisational, social and cultural changes. Ethics and values in social care research Ethics and values are a fundamental part of the way people work in social care, so much so that in social work they are one of the nine capabilities within the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). The holistic focus of social work is universal, but the priorities of social work practice will vary from country to country and from time to time depending on cultural, historical, legal and socio-economic conditions. Useful Tips. The Anti-Poverty Practice Guide for Social Work, IFSW and other international social work organisations, Influencing social work policy in the Commonwealth, Practice, policy and education groups (PPEGs), Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for Independents, Umbrella service companies & tax avoidance scheme investigations, Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF), Practice Educator Professional Standards (PEPS) 2020, Support for newly-qualified social workers, The international definition of social work (2014)*, Professional Support Service: Access support, Professional Support Service: Frequently Asked Questions, Copyright © 2021 British Association of Social Workers. "Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. This is an accessible and well-structured read. Treating each person as a whole Social workers should be concerned with the whole person, within the family, community, societal and natural environments, and should seek to recognise all aspects of a person’s life. Rather, by outlining the general ethical principles, the aim is to encourage social workers across the UK to reflect on the challenges and dilemmas that face them and make ethically informed decisions about how to act in each particular case in accordance with the values of the profession. In codes of ethics principles are often divided into two kinds: Ethical principles – general statements of ethical principles underpinning the work, relating to attitudes, rights and duties about human welfare, for example: ‘respect for the autonomy of service users’; ‘promotion of human welfare’. As part of the social work values outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics, each social worker must practice within his or her scope of competence and avoid misrepresenting his or her skills or experience to potential clients. Social workers should only take actions which diminish peoples’ civil or legal rights if it is ethically, professionally and legally justifiable. They need to keep up to date with relevant research, learning from other professionals and service users. Contact: Luke Geoghegan, Policy Team Social workers should take into account appropriate codes of practice, legislation, governance frameworks, professional practice and training standards in each UK country, provided they are consistent with the Code of Ethics. Standards can also be divided into two kinds, although often they are not clearly distinguished in codes of ethics: Ethical standards or rules – some general ‘do’s and don’ts’, sometimes framed as ‘standards’ for example: ‘do not permit knowledge to be used for discriminatory policies’; ‘protect all confidential information’. Making considered professional judgements Social workers should make judgements based on balanced and considered reasoning, maintaining awareness of the impact of their own values, prejudices and conflicts of interest on their practice and on other people. Being trustworthy Social workers should work in a way that is honest, reliable and open, clearly explaining their roles, interventions and decisions and not seeking to deceive or manipulate people who use their services, their colleagues or employers. However, they are … Social workers should be prepared to challenge discriminatory, ineffective and unjust policies, procedures and practice. Values and ethics in Social Work’ is an essential source for student social workers. Interventions also include agency administration, community organisation and engaging in social and political action to impact social policy and economic development. Ethical Case Studies. They should identify, develop, use and disseminate knowledge, theory and practice. They should exercise authority appropriately to safeguard people with whom they work and to ensure people have as much control over their lives as is consistent with the rights of others. Social workers should assist people to understand and exercise their rights including making complaints and other remedies. They should contribute to social work education, including the provision of good quality placements, and ensure students are informed of their ethical responsibilities to use the Code in their practice. About us. Social workers should identify dilemmas about confidentiality and seek support to address these issues. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.". Willingness to help. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics is a set of guiding principles to assist social workers in making decisions in the best interests of their clients, even if they might contradict what we might do in our personal lives. It is understood that social work in the 21st century is dynamic and evolving, and therefore no definition should be regarded as exhaustive. In the context of professional practice, the use of the term ‘belief’ reflects the status that values have as stronger than mere opinions or preferences. ethical. Social workers should recognise that people using social work services have the right to take risks and should enable them to identify and manage potential and actual risk, while seeking to ensure that their behaviour does not harm themselves or other people. These include counselling, clinical social work, group work, social pedagogical work, and family treatment and therapy as well as efforts to help people obtain services and resources in the community. Social workers should recognise the limits of their practice and seek advice or refer to another professional if necessary to ensure they work in a safe and effective manner. The British Association of Social Workers is the professional association for social workers in the United Kingdom (UK). Ethical behaviour is at the core of every profession. The Association has a duty to ensure as far as possible that its members discharge their ethical obligations and are afforded the professional rights necessary for the safeguarding and promotion of the rights of people who use social work services. The Code of Ethics for Social Work Values and ethical principles wwwww British Association of Social Workers 9 2.2 Social justice Value Social workers have a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work. They should challenge and seek to address any actions of colleagues who demonstrate negative discrimination or prejudice. Principles of professional practice – general statements about how to achieve what is intended for the good of the service user, for example: ‘collaboration with colleagues’. Social work values are embodied in the profession’s national and international codes of ethics. They should challenge the abuse of power and the exclusion of people from decisions that affect them. Social workers should reflect and critically evaluate their practice and be aware of their impact on others. The ethical practice principles apply across the UK but they are not intended to be exhaustive or to constitute detailed prescription. Social work grew out of humanitarian and democratic ideals, and its values are based on respect for the equality, worth, and dignity of all people. They should analyse and evaluate the quality and outcomes of their practice with people who use social work services. The term ‘social work values’ refers to a range of beliefs about what is regarded as worthy or valuable in a social work context (general beliefs about the nature of the good society, general principles about how to achieve this through actions, and the desirable qualities or character traits of professional practitioners). Professional ethics are at the core of social work. Brendan Wood. This includes the duty to ascertain and respect a child’s wishes and feelings, giving due weight to the child’s maturity and understanding, where the law invests power of consent in respect of a child in the parent or guardian. Social workers have a responsibility to promote social justice, in relation to society generally, and in relation to the people with whom they work. Social workers should recognise their own prejudices to ensure they do not discriminate against any person or group. These ethics are of great importance to all social work students as well. This is to make sure that ethics and values are upheld by all social workers. Challenging unjust policies and practices Social workers have a duty to bring to the attention of their employers, policy makers, politicians and the general public situations where resources are inadequate or where distribution of resources, policies and practice are oppressive, unfair, harmful or illegal. social work. Aspects of control and dominance are inevitable in the work. Implications for Social Work. Reflect on recent decisions you’ve made Social work is based on respect for the inherent worth and dignity of all people as expressed in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and other related UN declarations on rights and the conventions derived from those declarations. Professional practice standards – very specific guidance relating to professional practice, for example: ‘declare a bequest in a client’s will’; ‘advertising should not claim superiority’. Social workers should strive to carry out the stated aims of their employers or commissioners, provided they are consistent with the Code of Ethics. These decisions are not always easy – especially when two guiding principles come into conflict. The NASW Code of Ethics continues to be the most accepted standard for social work ethical practice worldwide. The Code is also supported by other BASW policy documents. They should endeavour to seek changes in policies, procedures, improvements to services or working conditions as guided by the ethics of the profession. Exceptions to this may only be justified on the basis of a greater ethical requirement such as evidence of serious risk or the preservation of life. BASW expects all employers to provide appropriate professional supervision for social workers and promote effective team work and communication. The NASW Code of Ethics offers a set of values, principles and standards to guide decision-making and everyday professional conduct of social workers. This Code includes four sections: The first Section, "Preamble," summarizes the social work profession's mission and core values. Social workers should communicate effectively and work in partnership with individuals, families, groups, communities and other agencies. BASW’s Code of Ethics first adopted in 1975, has been revised and updated on several occasions. The term ‘ethics’ may be used in a singular sense to refer to the study of right and wrong norms of behaviour, good and bad qualities of character; or in a plural sense, to refer to the actual norms and qualities. Working definitions of ethics and values are given in the Appendix. As such, social workers are change agents in society and in the lives of the individuals, families and communities they serve. The following is an outline of the etiology of its creation and major points. Social work is an interrelated system of values, theory and practice. They should work towards promoting the best interests of individuals and groups in society and the avoidance of harm. For good reasons, the ethics of care perspective is compatible with the social work profession's overriding concern about human well-being, relationships, and interdependency. The British Association of Social Workers is the professional association for social workers in the United Kingdom (UK). Recognising diversity Social workers should recognise and respect the diversity of the societies in which they practise, taking into account individual, family, group and community differences. The Association has a duty to ensure as far as possible that its members discharge their ethical obligations and are afforded the professional rights necessary for the safeguarding and promotion of the rights of people who use social work services. In social work code of ethics, an ethical dilemma is a situation requiring action on part of the social worker wherein there is no clean success – that is, two or more ethical principles are in conflict with one another. These key documents were reviewed and agreed in 2010 by IFSW and IASSW. So, for example, ‘social workers should respect the autonomy of service users’ is an ethical principle; whereas, ‘social workers should not disclose confidential information to third-party payers unless clients have authorised such disclosure’ might be regarded as an ethical standard or rule. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers’ conduct. Social workers should support people to reach informed decisions about their lives and promote their autonomy and independence, provided this does not conflict with their safety or with the rights of others. Standards 3 and 5, The Professional Standards (Social Work England, 2019) state the ethical conduct that is expected of social workers in record keeping and technology use (including social media). The Code of Ethics states the values and ethical principles on which the profession is based. Ethical awareness is a necessary part of the professional practice of any social worker. People who use social work services may be individuals (children, young people or adults), families or other groups or communities. Promoting the right to participation Social workers should promote the full involvement and participation of people using their services in ways that enable them to be empowered in all aspects of decisions and actions affecting their lives. They should act with integrity and treat people with compassion, empathy and care. Social workers should contribute to the education and training of colleagues and students by sharing knowledge and practice wisdom. * The definition was revised in 2014. This is a method of qualitative research which varies markedly in its theoretical framework, structure, process and orientation from those employed in quantitative methodology (Sarantakos 1997). Sections 1 and 2 of this document draw on the background, definition and statement of ethical principles of the IFSW/IASSW (2004) document, with amendments including the addition of ‘professional integrity’ as a value alongside human rights and social justice. … Social workers should give people the information they need to make informed choices and decisions. The Association commends and promotes the Code of Ethics to all social workers, educators and employers of social workers in the UK. The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Ethics and Values is a comprehensive exploration and assessment of current and future issues facing social work practice and education. 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