Objectivity in the IET rules of conduct

Examples of specific rules that are relevant to the value of objectivity.

14. Members who are called upon to give an opinion in their professional capacity shall, to the best of their ability, give an opinion that is objective and based upon the best available knowledge and information.

Deciding whether your opinion is objective or not can be difficult. Before giving your opinion, ask yourself what factors are behind that opinion. Can you honestly say that all of these factors are objectively applicable?

16. Members shall not make any public statement in their professional capacity without ensuring that:

(a) they are qualified to make such a statement and
(b) any association that they may have with any party who may benefit from
the statement are known to the person or persons to whom it is directed.

18. Members shall inform their employer in writing of any conflict or potential conflict that may exist or arise between their personal interests and the interests of their employer.

Rule 18, and the second clause of rule 16, are there to avoid conflicts of interest which may cloud your objectivity. Sometimes being open about these potential conflicts of interest will be enough to allay worries about objectivity. It is essential that you are honest about these matters in order to allow others to use their judgement clearly in deciding whether to accept your opinions and advice.

20. Members shall not without their employer’s consent accept any payment or benefit in money or moneys worth from any person other than their employer in connection with professional services rendered to their employer. Neither shall they without such consent receive directly or indirectly any such payment or benefit in respect of any article or process used in or for the purpose of the work in respect of which they are employed.

21. Members shall not offer improper inducement to secure work as independent advisers or consultants, either directly or through an agent. Neither shall they improperly pay any person, whether by commission or otherwise, for the introduction of such work.

22. Members acting as independent advisers or consultants shall not be the medium of payment made on their employer’s behalf unless so requested by their employer. Neither shall they place contracts or orders in connection with work on which they are employed, except with the authority of and on behalf of their employer.

Restrictions (legal or otherwise) on when it is legitimate to accept payment often have the aim of avoiding conflicts of interest which may compromise objectivity.