Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct


In the Articles of Association of the Institute of Acoustics ("the Institute") there is a general requirement for members to be bound to further the aims of the Institute to the best of their abilities. The standing of the Institute is enhanced if its members are not only well qualified, but also have a professional commitment to a standard of excellence in their work and in their dealings with other people.

A Code of Conduct, designed to embody broad ethical principles, is necessarily drawn up in general terms. The Rules of Conduct indicate the manner in which members are required to conduct themselves in most situations. For situations not specifically encompassed by the Rules, the principle to be followed is that, in any conflict between a member's personal interests and those of the wider community, the latter should take precedence.

Code of Conduct - Revised December 2022

All members of the Institute shall at all times:
  • so, order their conduct as to uphold the reputation of the profession and of the Institute and of its members and officers.
  • safeguard the public interest in matters of safety, health and the environment.
  • exercise their professional skill and judgement to the best of their ability.
  • discharge their professional responsibilities with integrity, honesty and diligence.
  • treat all persons fairly and with respect.


The definitions set out below apply throughout these rules.

For the purposes of these Rules:

'members' includes a member or members of any class referred to in the By-laws.

'employer' includes client.

'complainant' is the member or non-member originating the complaint.

'defendant' is the member against whom the complaint is made.

'Council' is the Council of the Institute of Acoustics.

'Officers' are the Honorary Officers as defined in the Articles of Association

A    Rules of Conduct

For clarity, these Rules have been grouped into the principal duties which all members should endeavour to discharge in pursuing their professional lives.

A1. Professional competence and integrity

A1.1 Members shall avoid undertaking work which is beyond their capabilities. Therefore, members shall undertake to:

  • upgrade their professional knowledge and skills.
  • encourage others to advance their learning and competence.
  • maintain adequate awareness of technological developments, procedures, standards, laws and statutory regulations which are relevant to their field either by involvement in the Institute's Continuing Professional Development Scheme or by any other appropriate means.

A1.2 Members shall not knowingly act for a client for whom other members are acting in the same matter until either:

  • the first contract has been determined by the client; or
  • the member has sought an assurance from the client, in writing, that the first member is aware of their involvement.

A1.3 Members shall not maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure whether directly or indirectly the professional reputation of others, whether they are members or not.

A1.4 Members shall show proper regard for the sanctity of data. In particular members will:

  • not knowingly alter, manipulate, fabricate or misrepresent data.
  • ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, within any publication or report that sufficient details of any method by which the data were derived, are available for independent scrutiny or to allow others to replicate such experiments.

A1.5 If members are co-authors rather than primary authors of reports and publications then they should establish and agree the extent of their professional responsibility for the validity of the work with the primary author.

A2. Public interest

A2.1 Members shall act in accordance with the principles of sustainability and not do anything, or permit anything to be done under their authority, of which the probable and involuntary consequences would, in their professional judgement

  • endanger human life or safety; or
  • expose valuable property to the risk of destruction or serious damage; or
  • needlessly pollute the environment except when legally authorised to do so.

A2.2 In their work, members shall respect all relevant laws and statutory regulations. However, the Institute is not competent to judge the legality of any action nor to resolve disputes concerning non-technical aspects of any contract.

A2.3 Members shall raise a concern 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 who in good faith raises any such concern.

A2.4 Members shall notify the Institute if convicted of an indictable criminal offence or upon becoming bankrupt or disqualified as a Company Director.

A2.5 Members shall notify the Institute of any significant violation of the Institute’s Code of Conduct by another member.

A2.6 Members shall notify the Institute if they have had membership of another professional body terminated as the result of a disciplinary procedure.

A.3. Duty to Employers and Clients

A3.1 When discharging their professional duties members shall:

  • satisfy themselves as to their scope, obtaining in advance any necessary clarification or confirmation, and shall not accept professional obligations which they believe they have not sufficient competence or authority to perform.
  • accept responsibility for all work carried out by them, or under their supervision or direction, and shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that persons working under their authority are competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them and that they accept responsibility for work done under the authority delegated to them.
  • give advice that is objective and, as far as practicable, reliable and take all reasonable steps to ensure that any person who over-rules or disregards their advice is aware of the possible consequences.
  • disclose to their client or employer any benefits or interests that they may have in any matter in which they are engaged on their behalf.
  • observe the proper duties of confidentiality owed to appropriate parties.
  • neither communicate to any person, nor publish any information or matter not previously known by them or published in the public domain, which has been communicated to them in confidence by a client or employer without the express authority of that client or employer.
  • not offer, give or receive any inducement (financial or otherwise) to or from a third party in return for the introduction of clients or professional assignments without making such action known to the client.
  • reject bribery and all forms of corrupt behaviour, and make positive efforts to ensure others do likewise.
  • safeguard any funds or other resources managed for the benefit of any person and shall avoid any misrepresentation, whether financial or professional, of their own worth or that of their employer.
  • assess and manage relevant risks and communicate these appropriately.

4. Conflicts of interest

A4.1 Where a conflict arises or may arise between the members' own interests and those of any of their associates and the interests of a client, the members must:

  • disclose to the client as soon as practicable the possibility of the conflict.
  • inform the client that neither they personally nor their firm or company can act or continue to act for the client unless requested to do so having first advised the client to obtain independent professional advice; and confirm to the client in writing the above position.

Approved by Council December 2022


Download the IOA Code of Conduct Rules PDF version here