Adam Donnan
29 January 2019

Minor updates to the Code of Conduct

Members should be aware that the Institution has made some minor changes to our Code of Professional Conduct.

Every five years, the IES Council reviews the Code to ensure that it remains up to date and reflects any change in legislation or societal attitudes.

The Code was reviewed in a workshop made up of Council members in October 2018. At the workshop the attendees reviewed codes from other professional bodies and discussed any unique aspects that may be part of environmental sciences that needed to be reflected in the Code.

The workshop determined that the Code was still fit for purpose, but several small tweaks were made to the wording notable:

Rule 1
Sentences added to the guidance:

  • [Members] should be responsible and accountable for their own actions and decisions.
  • Members must comply with all relevant legislation and regulations in the countries where they are operating.
  • [Members] should respect, and not seek personal advantage from, all confidential, personal and commercially sensitive information that comes into their possession.
  • Members should neither offer nor accept gifts, hospitality or services which could create or imply an improper obligation.

The previous long list of groups that members should not discriminate against has been replaced by the phrase “of any protected characteristics”.

Rule 2
Wording of the rule changed from “have full regard” to “strive to ensure”.

Rule 4
Insertions to existing sentences in the guidance (insertion shown in italics):

  • Members should strive for excellence and serve as an example to others.
  • All members have a duty to improve and update technical knowledge and competence, and to keep abreast of relevant developments, including new or changed statutory provisions.

New sentences in the guidance

  • [Members] should seek support if they are asked to act beyond their current level of capability.
  • [Members] should value and recognise others’ contributions and achievements, and support colleagues to fully understand their responsibilities, areas of authority and accountability.

Rule 5
A new rule 5 that now states “Members shall promote the Institution’s charitable objects, aims, values and standing.”

The previous rule 5 on notifying the Institution of criminal offences or breaches of the Code have been subsumed into the guidance for the new rule 5.


The new wording was approved by the Council in January 2019, and the new Code of Conduct will come into force from 1st February.

Members are reminded that they must abide by this Code of Conduct. You are urged to download the new Code (pdf) and familiarise yourself with its contents. It may also be useful to reread this analysis piece from last year outlining the purpose of the Code.

If a Member is confronted by an ethical problem, or put into a position where a breach of the Code of Professional Conduct may arise, they should contact the IES Office who will arrange a confidential discussion with one or more senior members of the Institution to assist in reconciling the problem confronted by the member.