CIPFA updates ethics guidance

1 Nov 18

CIPFA has updated its guidance on ethics to support members and spread international best practice.

The institute today formally introduced a new Statement of Professional Practice (SOPP) on ethics, which aligns with the International Ethical Standards Board of Accountants Code released in April.

A supporting document – Ethics and you – provides members with clarity and further guidance on the updated standards and practical case studies.

Don Peebles, CIPFA’s head of policy and technical, said: “With public finances having been under an incredible amount of strain following ten years of fiscal retrenchment, many of our members have been put into very difficult situations, making ethics an increasingly pressing issue in public finance.”

He cited the institute’s recent ethics survey, carried out via PF this summer, which found that almost 60% of public finance professionals had come under pressure to act unethically.

Common unethical practices uncovered by the survey included supporting over-optimistic budgets and business cases, avoiding regulations and policies, and unreasonably downplaying risks.

“By updating our SOPP to the latest code based on internationally recognised principles, and by providing relevant modern case studies, we want to ensure that every one in public sector finance is supported to act ethically in their roles, and in line with the public good,” Peebles said.

“At its most basic, for public sector accountants this means being straightforward in all professional relationships, acting without any bias or undue influence, taking care to be up to date on all standards, respecting confidentiality, and behaving professionally.”

CIPFA expects all members to uphold the five fundamental principles detailed in the code. These are: integrity; objectivity; professional competence and due care; confidentiality; and professional behaviour.

Read PF’s in-depth coverage of the 2018 ethics survey here.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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