Code of Ethics

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The CDI Code of Ethics covers the professional behaviour and practice required of all CDI members and informs the public of the ethical principles to which all CDI members adhere.

This Code of Ethics applies to individual career development professionals rather than organisations and all members must adhere to the highest standards of professional behaviour as set out in these principles.

Career development professionals have expertise in careers information, advice, guidance, coaching, development and education but more than this career development professionals must know how and when to apply their specialist knowledge. This Code of Ethics is not a rulebook, it does not list procedures to follow for every circumstance, but is intended as a guide to professionals in all aspects of their professional lives - especially relationships with clients, colleagues, employers and wider society.

Updated Code of Ethics

On 1st January 2019 we launched an updated Code of Ethics, researched and developed by our Professional Standards Committee (PSC), working with the Professional Development Manager, Claire Johnson. The main areas of difference between the updated code and the previous code are: 

  • Including the previous Justice principle in the overall purpose of the Code.
  • Adding that personal guidance interactions/interviews should be conducted in an agreed and suitably private environment. 
  • Changing the Equality principle to - Members must actively promote equality and diversity and work towards the removal of barriers to personal achievement resulting from prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination.
  • Emphasising that career development activities and services covered by this code are regardless of how they are delivered, e.g. face to face, in groups, by telephone or web-based.
  • Including a link to where the specific legislation relating to each principle can be found. 

We have updated the format of the Code. It is presented as:

  • 11 ethical principles which demonstrate the distinctiveness of CDI members and what they uphold.
  • Easy to remember for CDI members and easy to understand by members of the public.

The Code of Ethics can be downloaded as an A4 sheet and an A3 version which can be used for display purposes.

The career development profession in the UK is characterised by its diversity. Within this Code of Ethics reference to specific job roles or services has been avoided. Instead reference is made throughout to ‘career development activities and services’ which is taken as including all forms of careers information, advice, guidance, coaching, development and education. References to ‘clients/users’ should be taken to mean the direct users of career development activities and services, as distinct from purchasers of career development activities and services and from employers of career development professionals. ‘The career development profession’ refers to the entire profession, including both individual members and institutions.

CDI: Code of Ethics: a Guide for Employers and Partners (March 2021)

The purpose of this guide is to explain why employing CDI Members is important and how, with the support of employers, CDI Members can abide by the Code of Ethics and bring benefits and add value to the employing organisation. 

Complaints and Discipline Procedure

To accompany the updated Code of Ethics there is a Complaints and Discipline Procedure , which has been approved by our legal advisers. If you have any questions relating to the updated Code or the Complaints and Discipline Procedure please contact