Your organisation or professional body probably has a written code of ethics. Sometimes these are called codes of conduct. They are an important part of your policy and procedures manual.

Task - writing exercise

Question - In your own words, what do you think a code of ethics is for?

Try to obtain a copy of your organisation's code document to discuss with colleagues or other learners.

  • A code of ethics makes it clear what sort of behaviour is expected from workers

  • A code of ethics protects the privacy and rights of clients

  • A code of ethics attempts to ensure consistency and credibility in professional practice.
Keep in mind that a code of ethics cannot attempt to cover every conceivable situation and is designed as a framework for practice.

Different industry sectors have their own codes, which are applicable to each particular type of work.

All of these codes share the same basic principles but have different emphases.Top of page

Developing a code of conduct for AOD workers

Task - writing exercise/group activity

Ask learners to complete the following exercise in groups. In this exercise they will draft their own code of ethics for people who work with young people with AOD issues.

Question - What should a code of ethics for people who work with adolescents with AOD issues contain?

Question - Are there specific areas that need to be addressed?

Question - If your workplace has produced a code of ethics for AOD workers, analyse it and add your own comments. (For example, what does if cover? What should it cover?)

Question - Draft your own code of ethics for workers who respond to the needs of young people with AOD issues including at least four major principles.

Answer - To be effective, a code of conduct would need to address the needs and rights of young people, the needs and rights of workers and the needs and rights of the employer.

Instructions about how to behave in specific situations are dealt with by creating specific policy documents. These should be located in your policy and procedures manual.