top of page

Social Work Code of Ethics

The MASW Code of Ethics is to be adhered to by any individual who is practising social work, and any organisation which is providing social work services and employing social workers. Professional social workers must be accountable for upholding the values, principles and standards of the Code while engaging in social work practice.

Ethical Responsibilities to the Client

  1. Social workers’ primary responsibility is the well-being of clients, with due regard to the respective interests of others

  2. Social workers will safeguard clients’ rights to a relationship of mutual trust, privacy, confidentiality, decision making and the responsible use of information.

  3. Social workers will ensure clients understand the obligations and implications of utilising the service

  4. Social workers will engage clients when re-negotiating or terminating the relationship, and respect the voluntary clients’ rights to discontinue the service or engage another practitioner

  5. Social workers will be responsible for keeping professionally impartial and accurate records of cases, and ensuring their privacy

  6. Social workers will not practise discrimination of any kind in any form

Ethical Responsibilities to Colleagues, Students and Others

  1. Social workers will respect the professional expertise and differences in viewpoints of colleagues in social work and other disciplines, and work in collaboration with them in the interests of clients

  2. Social workers will ensure clear communication to avoid misunderstandings in the event of accepting another colleague’s client.

  3. Social workers will defend colleagues against any unjust actions

  4. Social workers should avoid negative and discriminating criticisms of colleagues in communications with clients and other professionals

  5. Social workers have a responsibility to address confirmed professional incompetence or unethical behaviour through appropriate professional,organisational or legal channels, if direct consultation did not result in that colleague taking remedial action

 Ethical Responsibilities to the Agency

  1. Social work practitioners shall be committed to the policies, objectives regulations and practices of their employing organisations, provided these do not conflict with the ethics of social work practice

  2. Social workers will ensure that employers are aware of the obligations and implications of the MASW Code of Ethics

  3. Social workers will act to influence policies and practices of the employing agencies in order to obtain the best possible standards of services for clients

  4. Social work administrators should ensure policies, structures, systems, procedures and regulations will support ethical and competent practice, appropriate services and resources, effective teamwork, professional supervision and staff development

  5. Social work educators, tutors and trainers should provide instructions only within their areas of competence based on the most current information and knowledge, and ensure fairness towards their students

Ethical Responsibilities to the Profession

  1. Social workers will uphold the dignity, integrity, value and purpose of the profession

  2. Social workers should work towards the promotion of competency standards in social work practice and administration, and in social work education, training and research

  3. Social workers who speak on behalf of the profession or professional association should accurately represent its official and authorised views and positions

  4. Social workers will obtain and maintain professional membership with MASW and contribute to its growth and development

Ethical Responsibilities to the Professional Self

  1. Social workers should accept job responsibilities only on the basis of existing competence and experience

  2. Social workers should keep abreast with emerging knowledge and new development in social work through continuing professional education and training

  3. Social workers should engage in frequent reflection of own practice,have regular professional supervision, and seek debriefing when necessary

  4. Social workers will ensure that their private conduct will not jeopardise their professional responsibilities, the integrity of the profession and that of the Association

  5. Social workers should not engage in relationships which harass,oppress, compromise or exploit clients in any manner or form

  6. Social workers should seek appropriate help if personal problems or conflict with colleagues are adversely affecting their work performance and well-being

  7. Social workers should take responsibility and credit, including authorship credit, only for work they have actually performed and to which they have contributed

Ethical Responsibilities to Society

  1. Social workers should advocate for social development to meet basic human needs and social justice for all citizens

  2. Social workers should facilitate informed participation by the public in shaping social policies, programmes, services and institutions

  3. Social workers shall be committed to uphold the tenets of universal declarations on human rights, the rights of children, women, older persons, persons with disabilities, persons living with HIV/AIDS, and the rights of indigenous people

bottom of page