We've noticed you're using an outdated browser. For full compatibility, please ensure you're running a modern browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge.

Code of Conduct

This Code is concerned with how certain fundamental imperatives apply to one’s conduct as an engineering professional. These imperatives are expressed in a general form to emphasize that principles which apply to engineering ethics are derived from more general ethical principles.

It is understood that some words and phrases in a code of ethics are subject to varying interpretations, and that any ethical principle may conflict with other ethical principles in specific situations. Questions related to ethical conflicts can best be answered by thoughtful consideration of fundamental principles, rather than reliance on detailed regulations.


Engineering is a profession that requires its practitioners to be well educated and knowledgeable. Systems Engineering, in particular, is a unique discipline in that 1) it is highly integrative, spanning elements of many activities, 2) often provides representation of stakeholders' interests other than employer or client, and 3) operates in largely international arenas where value systems, beliefs and customs vary widely. The practice of Systems Engineering can result in significant social and environmental benefits, but only if unintended and undesired effects are considered and mitigated. Fundamental Principles Systems Engineers uphold and advance the integrity, honour and dignity of the engineering profession by:

  1. Being honest and impartial;
  2. Maintaining the highest levels of integrity and keeping abreast of the knowledge of their disciplines;
  3. Striving to increase the competence and prestige of the engineering profession; and
  4. Supporting the educational institutions, the professional societies and technical societies of their disciplines.

Fundamental Duties to Society and Public Infrastructure

  • Guard the public interest and protect the environment, safety and welfare of those affected by engineering activities and technological artefacts.
  • Accept responsibility for your actions and engineering results, including being open to ethical scrutiny and assessment.
  • Proactively mitigate unsafe practice.
  • Manage risk using knowledge granted by a whole system viewpoint and understanding of systemic interfaces.
  • Promote the understanding, implementation, and acceptance of prudent Systems Engineering measures.

Rules of Practice

  • Act legally, honourably, honestly, justly, and responsibly.
  • Respect, protect, and preserve the intellectual properties of others.
  • Honour all legal contracts and agreements.
  • Treat all constituents fairly.
  • Give prudent advice. Be truthful, objective, and maintain your professional and technical integrity.
  • Provide diligent and competent services to the best of your ability.
  • Respect the trust and the privileges granted to you.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and the appearance thereof.

INCOSE UK Addendum for all members

Additional obligations are placed upon INCOSE UK members to meet the additional standards required by INCOSE UK and the UK Engineering Council.

INCOSE UK Members are obliged to:

  • Act with due skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for professional standards.
  • Act in accordance with principles of sustainability, and prevent avoidable adverse impact on the environment and society.
  • Maintain and enhance their competence, undertake only professional tasks for which they are competent, and disclose relevant limitations of competence.
  • Accept appropriate responsibility for work carried out under their supervision.
  • Encourage others to advance their learning and competence.
  • Do everything in their power to avoid risk to both the physical and cyber security of the INCOSE UK and its member’s data; and act in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016.
  • Observe the proper duties of confidentiality owed to appropriate parties.
  • Reject bribery and all forms of corrupt behaviour; and make positive efforts to ensure others do likewise.
  • Raise concerns about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing which affects others (‘blow the whistle’) and support a colleague or any other person to whom they have a duty of care and who in good faith raises any such concern.
  • Exemplify professional behaviour in relation to any content that they publish in the public domain, including without limitation articles, blogs and all social media.
  • Assess relevant liability, and if appropriate hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Notify INCOSE UK if convicted of a criminal offence anywhere in the world, and to provide such information concerning the conviction as the Institution may require. This does not apply to either a conviction for a motoring offence for which no term of imprisonment (either immediate or suspended) is imposed or an offence which is regarded as “spent” within the meaning of The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or equivalent legislation outside of the UK.
  • Notify INCOSE UK upon becoming bankrupt or disqualified as a Company Director.
  • Notify INCOSE UK if membership of another professional body has been terminated as the result of a disciplinary procedure.
  • Not claim to act on behalf of INCOSE UK, or commit INCOSE UK to any activities, events or third-party agreements, or otherwise expose INCOSE UK to un-planned costs or use of resources without the quorate, minuted agreement of the INCOSE UK Council. Note that this excludes Working, Interest Group or Local Group events that are in accordance with the Groups Policy.
  • Act with professional respect and courtesy to others, including other members and to the INCOSE UK Secretariat. No member may act in a manner or use language that would be considered bullying or discriminatory (in accordance with the Equality Act 2010).
  • Notify INCOSE UK of any significant violation of this Code of Conduct by another member.

INCOSE UK Addendum for Council Members and Officers and Directors of INCOSE UK.

Additional obligations are placed upon council members, and officers and directors of INCOSE UK.

Council members, and directors and officers of INCOSE UK are additionally obliged to:

  • Commit sufficient time and effort to fulfil the requirements of their role. This includes regular attendance at meetings of INCOSE UK Council (and INCOSE UK for the appropriate directors) submission of required reports prior to each Council meeting and timely completion of any activities required for the successful delivery of their responsibilities.
  • Observe the proper duties of confidentiality owed to INCOSE UK Council, INCOSE UK; the Members, Directors and Officers of INCOSE UK and the INCOSE UK Secretariat.
  • Not make any commitments on behalf of INCOSE UK outside of the remit of their role and/or their agreed, assigned budget, without the minuted, quorate agreement of INCOSE UK Council. This includes events, publications, joint working with third-party organisations, programmes of work, etc.
  • Not make any financial or legal commitments on behalf of INCOSE UK that do not have minuted, quorate agreement of the INCOSE UK. Board of Directors unless already within the scope of their agreed, assigned budget.
  • Notify INCOSE UK Council and/or INCOSE UK. of any real or perceived conflict of interest; and remind INCOSE UK Council/INCOSE UK. of any such conflict if relevant to immediate discussions or agreements.