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Professional Ethics

by G S Arun
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G S Arun
G S Arun
Handbooks 30c Guidelines on Professional Ethics Handbook for Users
Inquiries: Johanna Rantanen +358 29 551 1000 Layout: Marita Potila © 2014 Statistics Finland Quoting is encouraged provided Statistics Finland is acknowledged as the source. ISSN 1797–9439 = Handbooks ISBN 978–952–244–508–7 (pdf)
Contents Foreword. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 1 Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1 Why an ethical code for statistical professionals? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Who are statistical professionals? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.3 Who are customers?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4 What is professional ethics? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.5 What are the sources of ethical problems?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.6 Law and ethics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 2 Obligations to society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.1 Main principles of official statistics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 2.2 Impartial statistics for the benefit of society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.3 Statistics must be published. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.4 Quality and reliability are crucial. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 2.5 Official statistics must be relevant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 2.6 Good practice on information management. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 3 Obligations to respondents and to the individuals and communities described in statistics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3.1 Data collection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3.2 Linking data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3.3 Publishing data and other delivery to end users . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 3.4 Release of unit-level data. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 4 Obligations to customers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1 High standards of customer service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2 Data protection may prevent an assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 Customer rights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 12 12 12 5 Obligations to funders and employer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 5.1 Responsibility for performance, professional competence and quality . . . . . . . 13 5.2 Responsibility for corporate image and business secrets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Appendix 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Appendix 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Appendix 3 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Statistics Finland  3
Foreword Reliable statistics are based on the conventional values of official statistics, reliability, impartiality, independence and objectivity. Professional ethics are considered especially important in the statistical sector. Compliance with the principles of statistical ethics is the fundamental requirement for the activity of statistical authorities. Questions of ethics have attracted growing attention in recent years primarily because of the changes that have happened not only in people’s values and attitudes, but also in the environment in which companies and organisations go about their daily business. Many professions, business organisations and private companies have compiled their ethical principles into codes of conduct. Increasing attention has been given to the principles of statistical ethics in recent years and the key ethical principles have been raised both nationally and in the European Union to the level of legislation. Statistics Finland’s first version of the Code of Professional Conduct was compiled in 1993 on the basis of the Declaration on Professional Ethics adopted by the International Statistical Institute ISI in 1985. The Declaration of the ISI is intended particularly for statistical professionals and researchers. The volume at hand is the third revised edition of the handbook published in 1993. The most important changes include those following from the basic principles of the official UN statistics adopted in 1994 and revised in 2013, Finland’s membership of the European Union, and changes in national legislation, and recommendation issued by the European Commission in 2005 on the independence, integrity and accountability of the national and Community statistical authorities with minor amendments made to them in 2011. The basic principles of official UN statistics are mainly instructions intended for the activity of institutions, the European Statistics Code of Practice is a general set of instructions for both individual professionals and institutions. Statisticians have obligations to all individuals and communities described in statistics, to customers, funders and society at large. When compiling statistics attention has to be paid to the different end uses of statistics, questions of privacy and data protection, and the response burden on data suppliers. Stiffening competition in the information markets and in research is also throwing up new ethical problems. Ethical principles must be taken into account in selections made in work. This handbook is intended for Statistics Finland employees, customers and stakeholders. Where applicable, it is also recommended for people working in other organisations engaged in the production of statistics. Director General Marjo Bruun 4  Statistics Finland

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