A Member of the IITPSA (Institute of Information Technology Professionals South Africa):
- Will behave at all times with integrity. A member will not knowingly lay claim to a level of competence not possessed and will at all times exercise competence at least to the level claimed.
- Will act with complete loyalty towards a client when entrusted with confidential information.
- Will act with impartiality when purporting to give independent advice and must disclose any relevant interests.
- Will accept full responsibility for any work undertaken and will construct and deliver that which has been agreed to.
- Will not seek personal advantage to the detriment of the Institute and will actively seek to enhance the image of the Institute.
- Will not engage in discriminatory practices on any basis whatsoever.
Notes for Guidance
The six ethical principles set out above form the underlying foundation of the IITPSA’s Code of Conduct, and each member of the Institute, as a condition of membership, undertakes to adhere to these ethical principles. The ethical principles are clear, but have an inevitable appearance of generality. In the following pages each ethical principle is supported by a number of notes for guidance which will help in specific interpretation. Members of the Institute will readily appreciate that continued evidence of the determination to abide by the Code will ensure the public trust and confidence in computer professionals which is so necessary to the continuing effective use of computers.
The Institute is ready at all times to give guidance in the application of the Code of Conduct. In cases where informal resolution of difficulties is not possible, the Institute will invoke the disciplinary procedures defined in its Articles of Association. These procedures involve initial discussion to establish the background for a formal complaint, the appointment of a Committee of Enquiry and, if the latter find a case to answer, a Disciplinary Committee. The Disciplinary Committee is empowered to exclude from the Institute; to suspend from membership for a given period; to reprimand; to admonish or; of course, to dismiss the case.
NOTE: In case of conflict in the interpretation of any provision contained in this document, the English version will prevail.
The following conventions apply to the reading of this Code:
- “A member” includes all categories of corporate membership defined in the Institute’s Memorandum of Incorporation and accompanying Rules.
- “Client” is any person, or organisation for whom the member works, or undertakes to provide computer-based aid, in any way.
- “User” is any person, department or organisation served by computer-based systems.
- “System” means all applications involving the use of computer and information technology. The term does not imply any particular mode of processing, e.g. local batch or remote real time, etc. “System” may be interpreted as encompassing non-computer procedures and disciplines, e.g. clerical, manual, etc.
Ethical Principle 1 – Integrity:
“A member will behave at all times with integrity. A member will not knowingly lay claim to a level of competence not possessed, and will at all times exercise competence at least to the level claimed.”
- Integrity implies wholeness, soundness, completeness: anything the member does should be done competently. Where necessary, additional guidance or expertise should be obtained from qualified advisers.
- While claims to competence should not be made lightly, a member shall not shelter behind this principle to avoid being helpful and co-operative; any guidance or advice that can be provided from experience should be readily given.
- A member should act in a manner based on trust and good faith towards clients or employers and towards others with whom he or she is associated.
- A member should express an opinion on a subject only when it is founded on adequate knowledge and honest conviction, and will properly qualify any opinion expressed outside the level of professional competence attained.
- A member should not deliberately make false or exaggerated statements as to the state of affairs existing or expected regarding any aspect of the construction or use of computers.
- A member should comply with the IITPSA Code of Practice and any other codes that are applicable and ensure that clients are aware of the significance of his or her work.
- A member has an obligation to be aware of relevant developments in information technology.
- A member should not engage in any illegal activities, including copyright or patent violations.
Ethical Principle 2 – Confidentiality:
“A member will act with complete loyalty towards a client when entrusted with confidential information.”
- A member shall take adequate measures to ensure the confidentiality of a client’s information.
- A member should not disclose, or permit to be disclosed, or use to personal advantage, any confidential information relating to the affairs of present or previous employers or customers without their prior permission. The principle covers the need to protect confidential data.
- Various kinds of information can be considered by a client or employer to be confidential. Even the fact that a project exists may be sensitive. Business plans, trade secrets, personal information are all examples of confidential data.
- Training is required for all staff on measures to ensure confidentiality, to guard against the possibility of a third party intentionally or inadvertently misusing data, and to be vigilant for leaks of confidentiality arising from careless use of data or indiscretions.
Ethical Principle 3 – Impartiality:
“A member will act with impartiality when purporting to give independent advice and will disclose any relevant interests.”
- This principle is primarily directed to the case where a member or member’s relatives or friends may make a private profit if the client or employer follows advice given. Any such interest should be disclosed in advance.
- A second interpretation is where there is no immediate personal profit but the future business or scope of influence of the department depends on a certain solution being accepted. Whereas salespersons are assumed to have a bias towards their own company, an internal consultant should always consider the welfare of the organisation as a whole and not just the increased application of computers.
Ethical Principle 4 – Responsibility:
“A member will accept full responsibility for any work undertaken and will construct and deliver that which has been agreed to.”
- Trust and responsibility are at the heart of professionalism. A member should seek out responsibility and discharge it with integrity. A member should complete the work accepted within the agreed time and budget. If that which has been promised cannot be achieved then the client or employer must be alerted at the earliest possible time so that corrective action can be taken.
- Members should have regard to the effect of computer based systems insofar as they are known to them. On the basic human rights of individuals, whether within the organisation, its customers or suppliers, or among the general public.
- Subject to the confidential relationship between themselves and their customers, members are expected to transmit the benefit of information acquired during the practice of the profession, as a result of technical knowledge, to alleviate any situation that may harm or seriously affect a third party.
- A member should combat ignorance about technology wherever it is found, and in particular in those areas where application of technology appears to have dubious social merit.
Ethical Principle 5 – Relationship to the Institute:
“A member will not seek personal advantage to the detriment of the Institute and will actively seek to enhance the image of the Institute.”
- It is necessary to write this principle into the Code of Conduct to prevent misuse of the considerable influence that a professional Institute can have. Nevertheless, its impact is largely internal and the points that have been made should be read in that light.
- A member should not bring the Institute into disrepute by personal behaviour or acts when acknowledged or known to be a representative of the Institute.
- A member should not misrepresent the views of the Institute nor represent that the views of a segment or group of the Institute constitutes the view of the Institute as a whole. When acting or speaking on behalf of the Institute, members should, if faced with conflict of interest, declare their position. Members should not serve their own pecuniary interests or those of the company which normally employs them when purporting to act in an independent manner as representatives of the Institute, save as permitted by the Institute following a full disclosure of all the facts.
- Members are expected to apply the same high standard of behaviour in their social life as is demanded of them in their professional activities insofar as these interact. Confidence is at the root of the validity of the qualifications of the Institute and conduct which in any way undermines that confidence (eg. a gross breach of a confidential relationship) is of deep concern to the Institute.
- Members should conduct themselves with courtesy and consideration towards everyone they come into contact with in the course of their professional work.
Ethical Principle 6 – Non-discrimination:
“A member will not engage in discriminatory practices in professional activities, on any basis whatsoever.”
- Members should ensure that their dealings with others are at all times entirely professional and free from unfair discriminatory behaviour.
- Wherever they have the opportunity to control or influence the hiring and management of employees, their decisions should be based solely on the skills, experience and performance of the employee. This implies hiring and remuneration on an equal opportunity basis.
- Wherever possible, members should support and/or initiate programmes that encourage the development and training of professionals and managers on an equal opportunity basis.