Code of Conduct for BCS Members (2011)


British Computer Society


Code of Conduct for BCS Members

Date Approved: 

June 2011

Other Versions: 

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Code of Conduct for BCS Members


As a professional body the British Computer Society (known as BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT), has a responsibility to set rules and professional standards to direct the behaviour of its members in professional matters. It is expected that these rules and professional standards will be higher than those established by the general law and that they will be enforced through disciplinary action which can result in expulsion from membership.

Members are expected to exercise their own judgement (which should be made in such a way as to be reasonably justified) to meet the requirements of the code and seek advice if in doubt.

Appendix 1 to the code sets examples of interpretation of the tenets of professional conduct and form part of this Code of Conduct.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct

If a member of BCS should know of, or become aware of, any breach of this Code of Conduct by another member they are under an obligation to notify BCS.

Breaches of the Code of Conduct may also be brought to the attention of BCS by others who are not members of BCS.

Any breach of the Code of Conduct brought to the attention of BCS, or of which BCS becomes aware, will be considered under the Institute’s Disciplinary procedures.

Where BCS receives information that a member has been convicted of a criminal offence, the member, when asked will provide a Standard Disclosure Certificate or other similar notice providing evidence of their criminal record (if any) within 28 days. Note that not all convictions are seen as relevant to membership in BCS and each case will be considered individually.

Correspondence in connection with this Code of Conduct should be directed to:

Customer Service team

BCS,The Chartered Institute for IT,

First Floor, Block D,

North Star House,

North Star Avenue,

Swindon SN2 1FA



This Code of Conduct:

  •  sets out the professional standards required by BCS as a condition of membership.
  •  applies to all members, irrespective of their membership grade, the role they fulfil, or the jurisdiction where they are employed or discharge their contractual obligations. 
  • governs the conduct of the individual, not the nature of the business or ethics of any Relevant Authority * . 

1. Public Interest

You shall:

  •  have due regard for public health, privacy, security and wellbeing of others and the environment. 
  •  have due regard for the legitimate rights of Third Parties * . 
  •  conduct your professional activities without discrimination on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, nationality, colour, race, ethnic origin, religion, age or disability, or of any other condition or requirement 
  •  promote equal access to the benefits of IT and seek to promote the inclusion of all sectors in society wherever opportunities arise. 

2. Professional Competence and Integrity

You shall:

  1.  only undertake to do work or provide a service that is within your professional competence. 
  2.  NOT claim any level of competence that you do not possess. 
  3.  develop your professional knowledge, skills and competence on a continuing basis, maintaining awareness of technological developments, procedures, and standards that are relevant to your field. 
  4.  ensure that you have the knowledge and understanding of Legislation * and that you comply with such Legislation, in carrying out your professional responsibilities. 
  5.  respect and value alternative viewpoints and, seek, accept and offer honest criticisms of work. f. avoid injuring others, their property, reputation, or employment by false or malicious or negligent action or inaction. g. reject and will not make any offer of bribery or unethical inducement.

3. Duty to Relevant Authority

You shall:

  1.  carry out your professional responsibilities with due care and diligence in accordance with the Relevant Authority’s requirements whilst exercising your professional judgement at all times. 
  2.  seek to avoid any situation that may give rise to a conflict of interest between you and your Relevant Authority. 
  3.  accept professional responsibility for your work and for the work of colleagues who are defined in a given context as working under your supervision. 
  4. NOT disclose or authorise to be disclosed, or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party, confidential information except with the permission of your Relevant Authority, or as required by Legislation. 

 NOT misrepresent or withhold information on the performance of products, systems or services (unless lawfully bound by a duty of confidentiality not to disclose such information), or take advantage of the lack of relevant knowledge or inexperience of others. 

4. Duty to the Profession

You shall:

  1.  accept your personal duty to uphold the reputation of the profession and not take any action which could bring the profession into disrepute. 
  2.  seek to improve professional standards through participation in their development, use and enforcement. 
  3.  uphold the reputation and good standing of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. 
  4.  act with integrity and respect in your professional relationships with all members of BCS and with members of other professions with whom you work in a professional capacity. 
  5.  notify BCS if convicted of a criminal offence or upon becoming bankrupt or disqualified as a Company Director and in each case give details of the relevant jurisdiction. 
  6.  encourage and support fellow members in their professional development. 


Interpretation of the BCS Code of Conduct

The explanatory notes below are offered for guidance only. The examples are not, and not intended to be, exhaustive.

If you are in a leadership position and especially if you hold an executive position you are expected to:

  •  encourage and facilitate colleagues to develop as professionals. 
  •  seek to ensure that no one is penalised for raising areas of concern or conflicts of interest. 
  •  encourage colleagues to follow this code of conduct.



The term “Legislation” means any applicable laws, statutes and regulations.

Third Parties

The term “Third Parties” includes any person or organisation that might be affected by your activities in your professional capacity, irrespective of whether they are directly aware or involved in those activities.

Relevant Authority

The term “Relevant Authority” in this document is used to identify the person(s) or organisation(s) which has/have authority over the activity of individuals in their professional capacity. For practising BCS members this is normally an employer or client. For student members, this is normally an academic institution.

Public Interest

  •  Acting in the public interest may be governed by Legislation. 
  •  Legitimate rights of third parties include protecting personal identifiable data to prevent unlawful disclosure and identity theft, and also respect for copyright, patents and other intellectual property. 

Professional Competence and Integrity

  •  All members are required to undertake professional development activities as a condition of membership. Continuing professional development activities should broaden your knowledge of the IT profession and maintain your competence in your area of specialism.  You should seek out and observe good practice exemplified by rules, standards, conventions or protocols that are relevant in your area of specialism
  •  You should only claim current competence where you can demonstrate you have the required expertise e.g. through recognised competencies, qualifications or experience. 
  •  Legislation that may apply in carrying out your professional responsibilities might include that applicable to: 
    •  your Relevant Authority. 
    •  the geographic area in which you are carrying out your professional responsibilities. 
    • the geographic area in which your responsibilities will be discharged.   You may need to seek guidance from your Relevant Authority.
  •  Where you are leading a first of kind project you will ensure that you make use of peer review and support where appropriate.

Duty to Relevant Authority

  •  Exercising of your professional judgement:
    •  Where there is conflict between full and committed compliance with the Relevant Authority’s instructions and the independent and considered exercise of your professional judgement, you will indicate the likely risks and consequences.
    •  If any conflict is likely to occur or be seen by a third party as likely to occur you will make full and immediate disclosure to your Relevant Authority. 
    •  If for any reason you are unable to complete any assigned tasks in accordance with their requirements (e.g. on time or within budget) you will advise the Relevant Authority as soon as practicable. 

Duty to the Profession

  • As a member of BCS you have a responsibility to: 
    •  share knowledge and understanding of IT and support inclusion of every sector of society. 
    •  encourage and support fellow members in their professional development. 
  •  In circumstances where a member is also a member of another professional body the clauses of any other applicable code of conduct cannot be employed to diminish or negate the clauses of the BCS Code of Conduct. 
  •  You will not make any statement on behalf of BCS or purport to represent BCS through any public medium, including digital social media, unless authorised to do so by BCS.