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CODE OF ETHICS K.SATHYAMURTHI, Asst. Prof. MSSW.

AN INTRODUCTION Ethics also called moral philosophy is concerned about what is right and what is wrong. It can be divided into two sections - normative ethics and Meta ethics. Normative ethics deals with the principles we live by. Meta ethics has a larger concern and its deals with the nature and methodology of moral judgments. In other words, it deals with the basis on which decisions should be made. Should the ultimate consequences of the decision, for example be promoting happiness or promoting perfectionism in society? Religious people base their decisions on what they believe to be the will of god and on god's word. As social workers we are interested in ethics so that of relationships with clients, ow colleagues, of superiors and our subordinates are within the framework of social work values. Social work rejects Social Darwinism and utilitarianism. Social work initially emerged in the Western countries including U. S. A. and was therefore influenced by Judeo Christian values. As the profession began to spread to Gulf and other parts of Asia, the religious traditions of these countries also influenced the social work profession in these regions. Social workers are trying to incorporate indigenous values into the profession so that the profession gets better recognition and acceptance from the people. This process will be an extended one, as most post-colonial societies are yet to recover, intellectually and academically, from the colonial experience. Scientific values and methods have also influenced the practice of social work. It may seem strange that social work is influenced by two seemingly contrary values of science and religion. Social work rejects those religious values that advocate that an individual suffers due to other- worldly reasons like god's anger or predestination. It believes that every individual has the capacity to solve his/ her problems if he/she is provided with the necessary resources. Consequently factors that cause an individual's problem or a social problem are identified using scientific methods namely observation, description, classification and explanation. Solutions based on rationality are identified and formulated. The following values are the basis of social work profession - social justice, the dignity and worth of the individual importance of human relationships; integrity, and competence. You must have notice that professionals who deal with the human body, human psyche and human relationships always have a code of conduct. Doctors have code of conduct which they have to follow while they are practicing. Doctors pledge to prescribe only

beneficial treatment, according to their abilities and judgment; to refrain from causing harm or hurt; and to live an exemplary personal and professional life. Lawyers have their own code, which they have to follow when they are interacting with clients, pleading before a judge and questioning witnesses. These codes have evolved over time during which these professions emerged in society. As these professions emerged there were several instances of misuse of these positions by unscrupulous individuals who harmed the professions. The codes were formulated so that behaivour of these professionals are controlled and society's trust in them is not lost. Professions that have ethical codes generally have a body of fellow professionals who are elected by the professional organisation to oversee their implementation. In advanced countries these bodies have wide ranging powers. These include the power to censure the offending member; impose a fine on the member and even revoke the member's license to practice. when one former American President was found guilty of perjury the Bar Association of his home state revoked his license to practice in the court and now he is not allowed to practice law in that state. In India the license of a doctor-actor was revoked by the Medical Council after it was alleged that he had advertised a medicine which did not meet the standards set by the Council. Of course in both these high profile cases there existed a political angle to the problem which lead the respective associations to take such drastic steps. But these examples do show that the ethical codes of professions are a serious matter and that professional bodies are powerful organizations. We shall now specifically take up the social work code of ethics.

NEED FOR ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR IN SOCIAL WORK Social work is a problem solving profession. The social worker comes across varied and complex situations. Ethics help professionals to act morally in difficult situations. The need for such behaviour in social work is important due to the following reasons. Social workers during their interaction with clients and their significant others have to sensitive information: The purpose of the client to share information is to enable the social worker to get better insight into the problem and then help the client to solve the problem. But if the social worker reveals this sensitive information inadvertently or purposely to others helshe will be damaging the client's cause and furthering complicate the problem. Strict observance of the principle of confidentiality is necessary in this situation.

Social workers are often in situations wltere their decisions can causeserious damage to the client: Social workers often deal with clients who are facing serious problems. Their personalities are often disintegrated and they may be vulnerable to emotional and physical abuse. Even otherwise there is a power relation between the social worker and the client. The case worker has more knowledge and is in greater control of his/ her emotions than the client. This power should not be used to the disadvantage of the client. In some cases the caseworker may unconsciously commit an error which causes damage to the client. The chances for such errors are minimized when the social worker has internalized the social work ethics. Basics of Social Work Social workers occupy positions of nutlzority in governmental and non governmental organisntions: Any position of authority has an element of accountability attached to it. Accountability means 'to give count of. You have been entrusted with certain goods and after use you have to account for what you have used, for what purpose, how and to what effect. Social workers, unlike others have an additional responsibility - they have to see that the human dignity and human self is preserved. Probably no other profession deals with these aspects as directly as social work. A policeman has to only think whether his action would reduce the crime rate and whether he is following the due process of law when he is acting. The lawyer has to only think whether hisher client's interests will be served by hisher actions. A priest has to only worry whether his actions will help hlfill the individual's religious needs. But the social worker's decisions should express concern for human dignity and human self. Social workers are often in positions where they can allocate resources: In most cases, allocating resources to one party means not allocating it to others who are also be needy. This is true of a country like India where scarcity exists almost everywhere. In an adoption center a social worker may be asked whether a particular couple can be allowed to adopt a child. The social worker's opinion will have a bearing on the lives of at least three individuals. Social workers have to preserve professional autonomy: In a democratic country the government is the ultimate authority and it plays an important role in regulating other institutions. But some times this regulation becomes an intrusion into the internal affairs of the professions which is not desirable. If the professionals themselves regulate their affaires, government action becomes unnecessary and their professional autonomy can be preserved. PURPOSE OF A CODE OF ETHICS

We have seen the importance of ethical behaivour in social work. Those countries in which social work has been hlly accepted as a profession by the society, have a code of ethics. A code is a systematic collection of regulations and rules of procedure or conduct. Code of ethics in social work can thus be defined as a set of rulers and regulations that should govern the conduct of the social worker in his/her relationships with hisl her clients, fellow professionals, colleagues, the agency and society in general. According to the National Association of Social Workers, USA (NASW) Code of Ethics serves six purposes: 1) The Code identifies core values on which social work's mission is based. 2) The Code summarizes broad ethical principles that reflect the profession's core values and establishes a set of specific ethical standards that should be used to guide social work practice 3) The Code is designed to help social workers identify relevant considerations when professional obligations codictual or ethical uncertainties arise. 4) The Code provides ethical standards to which the general public can hold the social work profession accountable. 5) The Code socializes practitioners new to the field, to social work's mission, values, ethical principles and ethical standards. 6) The Code articulates standards that the social work profession itself can use to assess whether social workers have engaged in unethical conduct. These codes have been formulated by experts in the profession and presented before the general assembly of the social work association of that country. In the general assembly, the issues are discussed word by word. Different points of view are expressed and debated upon. After such wide ranging discussions and several revisions, the final draft of the code is put to vote and accepted. The broad participation of social workers and the democratic procedure followed by the assembly ensures that the codes receive wide acceptance. It has a substantial influence on the social workers practice in these countries. If anyone is found breaking the code action is taken after a formal inquiry. In India however there exists no association, which commands such authority among the social workers. Some associations, which are basically regional based, have developed a code of ethics <3f their own. However as these associations have limited selected members and exclude a majority of the social workers of the country, their influence on social work practice is limited. The government has also not recognized any body and has not entrusted any one with the authority to regulate social work. Efforts were made to

formulate a Professional Social Workers' Bill that is aimed at regulating the social work practice in the country. However no results have been achieved. Here we have tried to present a model of a code of ethics, which can be used in social work practice in the Indian context. The social workers are encouraged to adhere to these codes even during their training period. As one goes through the code it will be noticed that ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual who has to maintain these standards in his or her behaivour. External agencies can only regulate the social worker's behaviour up to a certain extent. Therefore it is necessary that we internalize these values and make them a part of our personality. Code of Ethics National Association of Social Workers Preamble The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human wellbeing and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the professions focus on individual wellbeing in a social context and the wellbeing of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living. Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. Clients is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals needs and social problems. The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the professions history, are the foundation of social works unique purpose and perspective:

service

social justice dignity and worth of the person importance of human relationships integrity Competence.

This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession. Core values, and the principles that flow from them, must be balanced within the context and complexity of the human experience. Purpose of the NASW Code of Ethics Professional ethics are at the core of social work. The profession has an obligation to articulate its basic values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. The NASW Code of Ethics sets forth these values, principles, and standards to guide social workers conduct. The Code is relevant to all social workers and social work students, regardless of their professional functions, the settings in

1.2 Professional association


A professional association (also called a professional body, 'professional organization, professional association or professional society) is a non-profit organization seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession, and the public interest. The roles of these professional associations have been variously defined: "A group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of

the legitimate practice of the occupation;" also a body acting "to safeguard the public interest;" organizations which "represent the interest of the professional practitioners," and so "act to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body." Such bodies generally strive to achieve a balance between these two often conflicting mandates. Though professional bodies often act to protect the public by maintaining and enforcing standards of training and ethics in their profession, they often also act like a cartel or a labor union (trade union) for the members of the profession, though this description is commonly rejected by the body concerned. Therefore, in certain dispute situations the balance between these two aims may get tipped more in favor of protecting and defending the professionals than in protecting the public. An example can be used to illustrate this. In a dispute between a lawyer and his/her client or between a patient and his/her doctor, the Law Society of England and Wales or the General Medical Council will inevitably find itself plunged into a conflict of interest in (a) its wish to defend the interests of the client, while also (b) wishing to defend the interests, status and privileges of the professional. It is clearly a tough call for it do both. Many professional bodies are involved in the development and monitoring of professional educational programs, and the updating of skills, and thus perform professional certification to indicate that a person possesses qualifications in the subject area. Sometimes membership of a professional body is synonymous with certification, though not always. Membership of a professional body, as a legal requirement, can in some professions form the primary formal basis for gaining entry to and setting up practice within the profession; see licensure. Many professional bodies also act as learned societies for the academic disciplines underlying their professions. Professional associations There are a number of professional associations for social workers. The purpose of these associations is to provide advocacy, ethical guidance, and other forms of support for their members and social workers in general. Two of these are the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW).

At a national level there are organizations regulating the profession, as well. Some of these are the British Association of Social Workers (United Kingdom), the Australian Association of Social Workers (Australia), the Professional Social Workers' Association (India), the Hellenic Association of Social Workers (Greece) and so forth. The largest membership of professional social workers in the world is the National Association of Social Workers (NASW)[1] with 150,000 members. International Federation of Social Workers The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is an international professional organization for social workers. The society consists of 84 national chapters, divided into five regional groups, and has over 480,000 members. The goal of this body is to promote the profession of social work and the organization of professional social workers to facilitate their work through international cooperation. The current president is David N. Jones of the United Kingdom. History The organization began as the International Permanent Secretariat of Social Workers in Paris in 1928. This group became inactive after the onset of World War II. During the International Conference of Social Work of 1950 in Paris, the organization was reorganized as the International Federation of Social Workers. Originally, seven national social worker organizations agreed to become members. However, this new association was not officially founded until 1956 at the International Conference on Social Welfare in Munich, Germany International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) The International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) is the international association of schools of social work and other institutions of learning. The IASSW promotes the development of social work education throughout the world, develops standards to enhance quality of social work education, encourages international exchange, provides forums for sharing social work research and scholarship, and promotes human rights and social development through policy and advocacy activities. They also work in a consultative role with the United Nations. They host a biennial conference of social work educators called the IASSW Congress and publish a newsletter.

The IASSW was founded in 1928 at the First International Conference of Social Work, held in Paris. It initially comprised 51 schools, mostly in Europe, and was known as the International Committee. Revitalized after World War II, the organization expanded its membership to include a wider range of countries and was renamed the International Association of Schools of Social Work. The association has member schools in all parts of the world; 5 regional organizations in Africa; Asia and the Pacific; Europe; Latin America; and North America and the Caribbean are affiliated with the IASSW and represented on the Board of Directors. British Association of Social Workers (BASW) The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is the largest professional association of social workers in the United Kingdom.[1] It has created a code of ethics that outlines good social work practice and works to support social workers through education and resources. Headquartered in Birmingham, BASW has regional offices in England (Birmingham), Northern Ireland (Belfast), Scotland (Edinburgh), Wales (Swyddfa Cymru) (Penarth), and North Wales (Cymru Gogledd) (Pwllheli). BASW was formed in 1970 by the amalgamation of the Association of Child Care Officers, the Association of Family Case Workers, the Association of Psychiatric Social Workers, the Association of Social Workers, the Institute of Medical Social Workers, the Moral Welfare Workers' Association, and the Society of Mental Welfare Officers. These were all members of the Standing Conference of Organisations of Social Workers (SCOSW), which had been formed in 1962 to bring together the different branches of the profession and which was wound up on the formation of BASW (the National Association of Probation Officers was also a member, but decided against joining the new association). Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the professional representative body of social workers in Australia. It was formed in 1946 at the federal level, although a number of state branches had formed prior to this. The AASW created a code of ethics that governs the conduct of social workers and promotes the interests of social workers in Australia.[1] The Australian Association of Social Workers has a commitment to the international social work community, and is a member of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW)

Journal The AASW publishes the quarterly journal Australian Social Work. It publishes research and thinking by social workers on political, economic and social policies and programs and on professional practice and education. It is a professionally edited and refereed journal, led by a national committee of practitioners and academics. AASW Code of Ethics The Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics outlines the organizations view of the role and character of social work. In carrying out their professional tasks and duties, social workers strive to act in ways that give equal priority to respect for human dignity and worth and the pursuit of social justice. This commitment is demonstrated through service to humanity, integrity and competence, which characterise professional social work practice. Social work principles are derived from the values; together, they underpin ethical social work practice. They are further explained as below

Human dignity and worth - Every human being has a unique worth and each person has a right to well-being, selffulfilment and self-determination, consistent with the rights of others. Social justice - Each society has an obligation to pursue social justice, to provide maximum benefit for all its members and to afford them protection from harm. Service to humanity - To meet personal and social needs and to enable people to develop their potential. Integrity - honesty, reliability and impartiality in social work practice. Competence - proficiency in social work practice.

Professional Social Workers' Association (PSWA) The Professional Social Workers' Association (PSWA) is an association of Indian / Tamil Nadu social work professionals, headquartered at Chennai. It is a legally registered entity, formerly known as "Professional Social Workers' Forum" (PSWF).

The Association is functioning since 1985. They are also organizing an annual state level seminar pertaining to current social work challenges and practices.