New U.K. codes strive to restore falling trust, integrity


Codes of ethics and conduct are becoming ubiquitous, yet instilling high standards of corporate integrity still seems an elusive goal. Why is corporate culture such a challenge?

As the U.K. Institute of Directors consults on a new code of conduct for company directors, media headlines focus on politicians accused of using inside information to bet on the national election. Meanwhile, senior executives at the U.K. Post Office continue to come under fire for prosecuting employees who were victims of known technology glitches. British people’s trust that politicians, businesses, and media will behave ethically is the lowest in four years, according to a June survey by the Institute of Business Ethics, so are codes of practice working?

Directors’ conduct already falls under the U.K. Corporate Governance Code and Companies Act, which require directors to behave in accordance with the values of the organization and act with integrity, and most organizations and professional bodies also have codes of ethics and/or conduct. The Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors is currently updating its two Codes of Practice to create a single code that reflects the revised Corporate Governance Code and developing practice.

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