Ethical Codes Of Practice In Social Work

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The profession of social work is comprised of multiple interrelated concepts that serve practical and bureaucratic purposes. Theories and ethics are two concepts that both guide daily social work practice and validate the profession of social work to external bodies. Theories for practice in social work provide frameworks for understanding and delivering social work interventions and for interacting with larger systems that impact services users and social workers (Healy, 2014, p.7). Ethical codes provide an outline concerning the general character of social workers and professional conduct. Ethical codes are utilized to guide social workers in daily practice and protect both service users and professional reputation (Banks, 2003, p.133). Theories…show more content…
As theories and ethical codes evolve over time, they incorporate past information and experiences while looking to address future problems and dilemmas (Banks, 2003, p.140). Across all types of social work practice, ethical codes and theories shape social workers view of situations and best practice strategies for individuals, families and communities. Unlike strict sets of rules or guidelines, theories and ethics generally provide overarching concepts in which social workers navigate ways to “enact professional purpose (Healy, 2014, p.7).” Without ethical codes, social workers would face an increasing number of dilemmas, fewer ideas for solutions and little consequence for unjust actions. Social workers could act based on personal discretion alone or based on dominant societal influences such as politics, religion or culture, which may serve as appropriate for some and discriminatory for other service users. Without theory, social workers may experience a lack of purpose and guidance in such a diverse and unpredictable…show more content…
The social work profession varies in it’s prominence and level of credibility across countries and establishing theories, ethical codes, methods and tools for social work practice help to develop or improve the profession. Social functions of these two concepts include the maintenance of a respect and value for social work as a profession. When considering the impact of neoliberalism and new public management in social service sectors, ethical codes and theories act to uphold certain standards and guidelines in regards to ensuring the best interest of service users is considered, despite changing political priorities (Healy, 2014, p.52). Social functions of ethical codes and theories ultimately aim to provide better working environments for social workers and better services for service users. When communities and governments see the value and legitimacy of the social work profession, an increase in resources will be allocated to these services. Social work theories and ethical codes are concepts which are interrelated with societal values and norms and adapt based on increased understanding of certain problems. Both theories and ethical codes serve cognitive functions, to support social workers understanding of complex issues as well as social functions, which focus on the legitimacy of social work as a profession (Healy, 2014; Banks, 2003).

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