MALTESE ASSOCIATION OF SOCIAL WORKERS
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
(in force following the Association's General Meeting held on 7th October 1996 and the adjournment of this meeting held on the 26th November 1996 )
Social Work is a professional activity. The code of ethics is intended to serve as a guide to the everyday conduct of Social Workers and as a basis for the adjudication of issues in ethics when the conduct of social workers is alleged to have deviated from the standards expressed or implied in this code. It represents standards of ethical behaviour for social workers in professional relationships with other individuals and professions, and with the community and society as a whole.
The Maltese Association of Social Workers subscribes to the following principles as basic to the practice of the profession and obliges members to observe them.
PRINCIPLES OF PROFESSIONAL ETHICS
1. Every human being has a unique value, irrespective of origin, status, sex, sexual orientation, beliefs, or contribution to society.
2. Each individual has the ultimate right for self-determination to the degree that it does not impinge upon the self-determination of others, or on any other right.
3. Professional Social Workers are to actively influence social conditions or policies to achieve the maximum benefits for all members of society.
4. The Professional Social Worker has the responsibility to devote objective and disciplined knowledge and skill to aid individuals, groups, and communities in the prevention and solution of personal-societal conflicts and their consequences.
5. The Professional Social Worker has a primary obligation to the objective of service, which must take precedence over self-interest, personal aims and views.
STANDARDS OF ETHICAL CONDUCT
Relative to Client
1. Primacy of Client's interests .
The Social Worker's primary responsibility is to the client.
2. Confidentiality and Privacy .
(i) The Social Worker is to respect the privacy of the client.
(ii) The Social Worker is to hold in confidence all information obtained in the course of professional service.
(iii) No information is to be released without prior knowledge and informed consent of the client except where the client or others may be seriously jeopardised.
(iv) Any client information shared shall be related only to the professional service function.
(v) Any other information obtained from other sources is not to be released without the consent of the informant except to prevent harm to third persons.
3. Fees .
When setting fees the Social worker is to ensure that they are fair, reasonable, considerate, and commensurate with the service performed and with due regard for the client's ability to pay.
Relative to Profession
1. Conduct .
The Social Worker is expected to maintain high standards of personal conduct in her/his capacity and identity as a social worker.
2. Competence and Professional Development .
The Social Worker is to strive to be proficient in professional practice and work for its advancement.
3. Scholarship and Research . The Social Worker engaged in study and research should be guided by scientific and ethical principles.
4. The Social Worker, both on a personal basis and as member of the Association, is to defend the profession against unjust criticism and work to increase awareness about the necessity of professional practice.
Relative to Colleagues
1. Respect, Fairness, and Courtesy . The Social Worker is to treat colleagues with respect, courtesy, fairness, and good faith.
2. Dealing with Colleagues' Clients . The Social Worker has the responsibility to relate to the clients of colleagues with full professional consideration.
3. The Social Worker shall bring any violations of clients' interest or professional ethics and standards to the attention of the appropriate bodies and defend colleagues against unjust actions.
Relative to own organisation and others
The Association should promote the practice among Social Workers to:
1. Responsibly execute the stated aims and functions of the Agency, contributing to the development of sound policies, procedures and practice in order to obtain the best possible standards of service.
2. After the appropriate channels have been exhausted, the Social Worker is to initiate appropriate appeals to higher authorities or the wider community.
3. Ensure periodic and professional accounting of client and organisation problems and self-performance.
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