Today is Global Ethics Day, with the theme #EthicsEmpowered.
The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs launched the inaugural Global Ethics Day in 2014. It has become an annual moment for individuals, businesses, schools and governments to reflect upon and promote their ethical standards.
An ever-increasing number of issues affect daily life, such as climate change, the global refugee crisis, the war in Ukraine and its impact across Europe, the cost of living crisis, racism and increasing use of technologies, all of which have highlighted inequality in our societies. Ethics can help us navigate these challenges.
Ethics are often considered the preserve of philosophers and academics, yet they belong to us all. While people are often sceptical about ethics, believing they aim for some level of unrealistic idealism, ethics and ethical decision making help us to take account of differences between people and collaborate to reach solutions. The Carnegie Council states that ethics are ‘about how we learn to live together, celebrate our differences, and face the global challenges of both today and tomorrow’.
Collaboration and community, alongside integrity and continuous learning, are reflected within STEP’s core values, underpinning the work that STEP does as an organisation.
We often act intuitively, understanding what is right or wrong from a young age. However as we grow we begin to actively question and reinforce the moral values we hold. Our ethics rarely stay the same, as our values are influenced by our experiences and those around us. We therefore need to take the time to reflect.
Ethics allow us to identify our values and live by them but we also need to be aware of the moral values of those around us.
The high professional standards of our members are a hallmark that is recognised and sought after by employers, the public and governments globally. Our Code of Professional Conduct underpins the ethical standards expected of our members. Its 16 principles are designed to guide trust and estate practitioners in ethical decision making, taking account of both client and public interest.
As part of Global Ethics Day, we invite you to reflect upon the following:
• What do ethics mean to you?
• How can I take ethical action in my daily life?
• Is there such a thing as a global ethic?
• What ethical questions do I grapple with in my career?
The importance of ethics is also embedded within STEP’s CPD policy. We require members to undertake at least one hour of development activity that relates to professional ethics as part of their annual CPD requirement.
STEP uses an outcomes-based approach to CPD, which focuses on whether professionals are maintaining and building competence, rather than counting the number of hours spent in training. Members are required to use their job description/role as a basis for their CPD planning and recording.
We are currently developing a number of ethical resources. STEP’s CPD Working Group are currently working on three 15-minute bite-sized presentations covering:
• An introduction to ethics
• Code of Professional Conduct
• CPD and reflective practice
The presentations will be available to members within the next few months. We are also working on a number of online ethics modules that are scheduled to be released in 2023. More information will follow in due course.
So take the time today to familiarise yourself with our Code of Professional Conduct and reflect upon how you empower ethics in your day.
Sarah Manuel, Head of Professional Standards and Megan Jones, CPD Audit Manager