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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 to the Code of Conduct

In joining the INCOSE UK, all members must agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and the INCOSE UK Addendum.

Members re-affirm their commitment to the Code of Conduct and the INCOSE UK Addendum through the annual renewal of their membership.

Suggestions that a member’s conduct has contravened the Code (including the Conduct and the INCOSE UK Addendum) are reviewed under the INCOSE UK’s Disciplinary and Appeals procedures.

Additional Rules of Conduct

  • Members shall keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date through planned professional development and seek to broaden and deepen that knowledge throughout their working life. Members shall keep adequate records of professional development undertaken. Members shall also encourage persons working under their supervision to do the same.
  • Members are expected to do everything in their power to avoid risk to both the physical and cyber security of the society and its member’s data and act in accordance to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016.
  • Members shall not undertake professional tasks and responsibilities that they are not reasonably competent to discharge.
  • Members are expected to report to their employers any suspected wrongdoing or dangers they identify in connection with the member’s professional activities. This includes:
    • any breach of professional obligations; and
    • bribery, fraud or other criminal activity, miscarriages of justice, health and safety risks, damage to the environment and any breach of legal obligations including any act of discrimination (in accordance with the Equality Act 2010).
  • Members shall be mindful of their obligation to exemplify professional behaviour in relation to any content that they publish in the public domain, including without limitation articles, blogs and all social media.
  • Members convicted of a criminal offence anywhere in the world are required to inform the Institution promptly, and to provide such information concerning the conviction as the Institution may require, but this rule 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 UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or equivalent legislation elsewhere.