|Developing an Effective Code of Ethics: Content of a Code of Ethics
Stakeholder Model and Issues Model
The IBE publication, Developing a Code of Ethics
(2003), includes an Illustrative content for a code based around the stakeholder model. The Illustrative Code was updated in 2008 and is available here >>
It is summarised below.
Introduction (signed by the Chairman or Chief Executive Officer or both)
Start with a sentence on the purpose of this Statement and the code - mention the values that are important to the top management in the conduct of the business - such as integrity, responsibility and reputation – and what they mean for the business. Describe the leadership commitment in maintaining high standards both within the organisation and in its dealings with others. Set out the role of the organisation and end with a personal endorsement of the code and the expectation that the standard set out in it will be maintained by all involved in the organisation.
The Purpose, Values and Impacts of the Business
Describe the service which is being provided, the nature of the business, its location etc.
A. How to use this code Describe its purpose, relevance, audience and context. Describe other supporting documents, tools or sources of support. Provide a summarised ethical decision making framework.
B. Employees How the business values employees. the company's policies on: working conditions, recruitment, development and training, rewards, health, safety & security, equal opportunities, diversity, retirement, redundancy, discrimination and harassment. Use of company assets by employees.
C. Customer Relations The importance of customer satisfaction and good faith in all agreements, quality, fair pricing and after-sales service.
D. Shareholders or other providers of money The protection of investment made in the company and proper 'return' on money lent. A commitment to accurate and timely communication on achievements and prospects.
E. Suppliers Prompt settling of bills. Co-operation to achieve quality and efficiency. No bribery or excess hospitality accepted or given.
F. Society or the wider community Compliance with the spirit of laws as well as the letter. The company's obligations to protect and preserve the environment. The involvement of the company and its staff in local affairs. The corporate policy on sponsorship as well as giving to education and charitable appeals.
G. Implementation and reinforcement The process by which the code is issued and used. Means to obtain advice. Awareness raising examples (Q & As).Training programmes for all staff.
H. Assurance, reporting and reviews
Suggest ways of knowing if the code is effective. Report to the board or board committee at least annually. Review procedures for updating the code. The IBE publication Living Up to Our Values: developing ethical assurance
can be of assistance for Section H.
Key ethical issues to include
How we compete
Bribery and facilitation payments
Gifts and entertainment
Conflicts of interest
Use of company assets
Safeguarding important information
Political involvement and contributions
The application of human rights standards in our business
Our environmental responsibilities
Timely payments of suppliers