ZimLA Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct and Ethics for ZimLA Membership

The essential principle which lies behind the Code is that the professional Information Practitioner’s prime duty is to facilitate access to materials and information in order to meet the requirements of the client, irrespective of the Information Practitioner’s personal interests and views on the content of the material and the client’s requirements.

Therefore, the purpose of this Professional Code of Conduct is to set out the standards of professional conduct expected of members of ZimLA and to indicate what matters may be regarded by the Disciplinary Committee as being contrary to the aims, objects and interests of ZimLA or contrary to the profession of librarianship, documentation, information, records and archival management.  This Code shall apply to all classes of individual members of ZimLA.

1. Members of ZimLA must conduct themselves in such a way that their conduct would not be reasonably regarded by their professional colleagues within the field of librarianship, documentation, information, records and archival management (including provision of information services) as serious professional misconduct or as professional misconduct. It is by this overall test that the conduct will be judged.

2. Members must comply with the ZimLA Constitution and the provisions of this Code of Conduct

2.1 Members must not engage in conduct which may seriously prejudice the standing and reputation of the library, documentation, information, records and archival management professions or of ZimLA

2.2 Members must be competent in their professional activities including the requirement to keep abreast of developments in librarianship, documentation, information, records and archival management-in those branches of professional practice in which qualifications and experience entitle to engage

2.3 In respect of those ZimLA members responsible for supervising the training or duties of another Information Practitioner, to ensure that those whom they supervise are trained to carry out their duties in a competent manner

3. Members’ primary duty when acting in the capacity of an Information Practitioner is to their clients, i.e. the persons or groups of persons for whose requirements and use are intended the resources and services which the members are engaged to provide.  In all professional considerations the interests of the clients within their prescribed or legitimate requirements take precedence over all other interests.  It is recognized that the persons or groups of persons to whom this duty is owed will vary according to the nature of the employment which members undertake.  In particular it is recognized that different considerations will apply where members are working at a place to which the public has right of access from those where they are working in an environment where the public is excluded or given only limited access

4. In places to which the public has right of access, save where the flow of information must be restricted by reason of confidentiality, members have an obligation to facilitate the flow of information and ideas and to protect and promote the rights of every individual to have free and equal access to sources of information without discrimination and within the limits of the law of the country

5 Members must fulfill to the best of their ability the contractual obligations owed to their employer.  However circumstances may arise when the public interest or the reputation of the profession itself may be at variance with the narrower interests of an employer.  If it is found to be impossible to reconcile such differences then the public interest and the maintenance of professional standards must be the primary considerations

6 Members shall not knowingly promote material the prime purpose of which is to encourage discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, creed, gender or sexual orientation.  It shall not be regarded as promoting such material to divulge it for the purpose of studying the subject of that discrimination

Members must not divulge or permit to be divulged any materials, information or administrative record (in manual or electronic form) which has been entrusted to them in confidence, to any third party nor use such information without the prior consent of the client for any purpose other than that for which it was first obtained.  This duty to the client continues after the relationship of  the Information Practitioner and client ceases

7.1 Members are absolved from the duty set out in ZimLA constitution in so far as is required by the constitution and in so far as it is necessary to answer accusations before the Disciplinary Committee

7.2 Members’ actions and decisions should be determined solely by their professional judgment and they should not profit from their position otherwise than by normal remuneration or fee for professional services

7.3 Members must report the facts to the National Secretary if convicted of an offence involving dishonesty or one which brings the profession into disrepute

8. Members must:

8.1. Respond to any requirements from the Disciplinary Committee for comments or information on a complaint

8.2. Attend the committee proceedings when required to do so, with such representation as is provided for in the ZimLA constitution

8.3. Attend upon a nominated person for the purpose of receiving guidance as to future conduct if required to do so

9. Failure to comply with the requirements set out in the ZimLA constitution, including the requirements relating to competence, may if proved before the Disciplinary Committee be regarded by it as serious professional misconduct and if so shall render the member concerned liable to be expelled or suspended (either unconditionally or subject to conditions), to be ordered to repay or forego fees and expenses as appropriate, or to be reprimanded and/or to be ordered to pay costs of the hearing

9.1. Failure to comply with the requirements set out above, which, in the opinion of the Disciplinary Committee, falls short of serious professional misconduct may, if proved, render the member liable to be admonished or to be given appropriate guidance as to his or her future conduct

9.2.The provisions of the constitution shall apply in all cases that are brought before the Disciplinary Committee