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Overview of CILIP's Ethics review and new Ethical Framework


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The purpose of the Ethical Principles and Code is to provide a framework to help library and information professionals, who are members of CILIP, to manage the responsibilities and sensitivities which figure prominently in their work in line with the enduring values of the profession.

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Overview of CILIP's Ethics review and new Ethical Framework

  1. 1. The new CILIP ethics framework • Reworked and refreshed ethical principles launched on October 11th • New framework the product of an extensive project that examined and reformulated the existing principles • Framework is now fit for purpose for the 21st century library and information worker
  2. 2. CILIP’s mandate • Royal Charter mandates CILIP to “represent and act as the professional body for persons working in or interested in library and information services” • Mandate extends to maintenance of a Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB) on behalf of the sector. Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Practice at its heart
  3. 3. Responding to a rapidly changing profession • Library & information profession changing rapidly and significantly in response to digital disruption and wider trends • Information professionals increasingly part of an embedded workforce working across the public, private and 3rd sector • This recognition prompted the need to review our ethical principles
  4. 4. Ethics Review • Review launched in May 2017 • Overseen by CILIP’s Ethics Committee, chaired by Dawn Finch • New Framework approved by CILIP Board in September 2018
  5. 5. Examining the key issues The Ethics Review examined: • How professional ethics are currently operating within the profession • How aware the profession is of the ethical principles • The extent to which the principles reflect the wider range of professional contexts • Whether the principles play an active and positive role in the development of the profession • The interaction between professional ethics of individuals and institutional ethics
  6. 6. Methodology • Big Conversation on social media • Survey - 1556 responses • 12 workshops all over the UK • Ethics Summit at CILIP in May
  7. 7. Marshalling the evidence • Landscape of issues paper produced - major workplace and professional issues expressed in the surveys, workshops and social media • Digest of comments published – comments on each of the existing ethical principles Survey findings confirmed existing ethical principles should form the basis of a new Ethical Framework, but in an amended form. Segmented data allowed the Committee to better understand exactly what library and information workers were looking for in their ethical principles.
  8. 8. Key findings from the survey and workshops • 89% of survey respondents have values and ethical principles they wish to see upheld within the information profession • Values have been built up through a personal code or from the CILIP’s Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Practice
  9. 9. Work-based issues The following professional issues surfaced from the evidence: • Privacy • Censorship • Funding • Copyright • Volunteers • Barriers to accessing information • Standards and skills • Employment related issues 76.79% of respondents thought a professional ethical framework should help in addressing these issues.
  10. 10. Ethics Summit Top level Ethical Framework was presented to summit participants. They recommended: • Streamlined ethical principles • Reordering of points so priorities could become clearer • Greater clarification of key elements • Further explanatory materials and supporting documents
  11. 11. Intended outcomes of the review • Increased awareness of, and engagement with the ethical principles by library and information professionals. • Increased relevance and applicability across a wide range of sectors • Clarify the role of CILIP as steward of the principles on behalf of the profession • Consider the role of sanctions for violations of the principles. A majority of these outcomes and deliverables have been achieved!
  12. 12. New Ethical Framework: design principles • Fewer • Shorter • More direct language • Easy to remember • Build on existing principles – continuity • Include important values even if not prominent in consultation • Beware of fashion – enduring values • Explicit commitment of individual information professionals • Framework to support professional judgment when tackling difficult issues
  13. 13. New Ethical Framework: what’s changed? • Fewer principles using more direct language • Express commitment from individual information professionals required • New ethical principle on information literacy • Shorter Code of Professional Conduct – code focuses more on general behaviours rather than specifically information profession values • New section expressing CILIP commitments, illustrating that: • Ethics and values are a whole profession matter • Ethical conduct of individual professional contributing to greater whole • Mutual responsibility to deliver
  14. 14. Commitment to Professional Ethics by CILIP Members As an ethical Information Professional I make a commitment to uphold, promote and defend: Human rights, equalities & diversity1 2 Public benefit 3 Preservation 4 Intellectual freedom 5 Impartiality 6 Confidentiality 7 Information skills & information literacy
  15. 15. Commitment to Professional Ethics by CILIP Members As an ethical Information Professional I make a commitment to uphold, promote and defend: • Human rights, equalities and diversity, and the equitable treatment of users and colleagues • The public benefit and the advancement of the wider good of our profession to society • Preservation and continuity of access to knowledge • Intellectual freedom, including freedom from censorship • Impartiality and the avoidance of inappropriate bias • The confidentiality of information provided by clients or users and the right of all individuals to privacy • The development of information skills and information literacy
  16. 16. Code of Professional Conduct At all times I will work to uphold and advance: • The reputation of the profession • The currency and relevancy of my skills • Engagement with, and learning from, colleagues, my professional bodies, and those in other related professions • Integrity in the management of information, human and financial resources
  17. 17. CILIP’s Commitments I expect my professional body to support me in this by upholding promoting and defending: • Human rights • Equalities and diversity • Information governance and practice that protects the privacy of individuals • The value of information professionals’ work to government, employers and other key stakeholders • The contribution of information professionals to the public benefit • The provision of excellent information services, relevant to the needs of all members of society • The development of balanced and fair open access and copyright systems Continued…
  18. 18. CILIP’s Commitments continued And by advocating for: • Changes to regulation and legislation to advance good information services and ethical practice • Intellectual freedom, including freedom from censorship And by supporting: • CILIP members in their continuing professional development CILIP will act as steward of the Ethical Framework and support its embedding in professional life
  19. 19. The Ethics Hub You will find the new Ethical Framework and supporting resources at: