This is our code of ethics. All members of the Institute for Youth Work must agree to the following statements and twelve principles when they sign up for membership.
Youth work enables young people to develop holistically, working with them to facilitate their personal, social, and educational development. Youth work enables young people to develop their voice, influence, and place in society and to reach their full potential.
The Institute for Youth Work recognises the diversity of the youth work sector. It includes those that work with young people, who engage on a voluntary basis, in public, private and third sector (including faith-based) organisations.
The work may be paid or unpaid and includes face-to-face workers, youth work managers and educators.
Our members, whatever their role or setting, make judgements and conduct themselves in their work based on the following ethical principles:
- We have a duty of care to young people. In the youth work relationship the best interests of young people have priority.
- We do not seek to advance ourselves, our organisations, or others – personally, politically, or professionally – at the expense of young people.
- Our relationship with young people remains within professional boundaries at all times, to protect the young person and the purpose of the work.
- We work in a fair and inclusive way, promoting justice and equality of opportunity, challenging any discriminatory or oppressive behaviour or practice.
- We seek to enhance young people’s personal and social development by:
- Enabling them to make informed decisions and pursue their choices;
- Supporting their participation and active involvement in society;
- Helping them to become independent and move on when the time is right.
- We promote the welfare and safety of young people, while permitting them to learn through undertaking challenging educational activities. We avoid exposing young people to the likelihood of harm or injury. This includes implementing safeguarding policies and procedures.
- When we receive or collect personal information about young people, we make them aware of with whom and for what purpose that information will be shared. We do not disclose confidential information unless this is necessary to prevent harm or is legally required.
- In our engagement with young people, and in our resulting relationship, we strive to be honest and non-judgemental.
- We respect the contribution of others concerned with the welfare and well-being of young people and will work in partnership to secure the best outcomes for young people.
- We encourage ethical reflection and debate with colleagues, managers, employers and young people.
- We make sure we have the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with young people. We work in a reflective way to develop our abilities. We take account of the impact of work on ourselves.
- We maintain consciousness of our own values, beliefs and interests, are aware when these conflict with those of others, and approach difference respectfully.