Code of ethics updated

In October 2019 UKCP launched a new code of ethics.

The UKCP Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (2019) was a four-and-a-half-year project by our Ethics Committee and other UKCP stakeholders, including the Complaints and Regulation and Quality Assurance Teams.

The task set for the Ethics Committee was to review the 2009 code and either update it or rewrite it. The Committee undertook a project to rewrite the code and modernise the language used. After three consultations with members and considerable drafting, the 2019 code is finally complete.

From 1 October 2019 all UKCP registrants will be subject to the new code. This means that if a complaint about a registrant is received for something that happened on or after 1 October 2019, it will be reviewed against the new code. (Complaints about something that happened before that date will be reviewed against the 2009 Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Practice.)

For more information, download the new and old codes and see our frequently asked questions below.

We are working to update our Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (2019) to reflect UKCP’s withdrawal from the Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK v2. While we do this members are advised to discount the MoU as a published policy of UKCP (as referenced in point 36 of the Code) from 5 April 2024. More information about the withdrawal is available in our update on conversion therapy.


UKCP Code Of Ethics And Professional Practice 2019

UKCP Code of Ethics and Professional Practice (2019)

UKCP Ethical Principles And Code Of Professional Conduct 2009

UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Practice (2009)

Frequently asked questions

The new Code comes into effect (goes live) on 1 October 2019, but it is available now for you to review.

Any complained-of behaviour that occurred on or after 1 October 2019 will be judged against the new code. Behaviours which occurred prior to 1 October 2019 will be considered against the code which was in existence at the time (UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct (2009)).

UKCP full clinical members.

UKCP colleges and organisational members are required to update their own codes to reflect the new code.

The document’s language and tone reflect a more modern and accessible approach. For example, the use of the word ‘safeguard’ in relation to children and vulnerable clients is new and did not exist in the previous code.

The structure of the document has changed and includes different headings.

Many points of the previous code were re-written, simplified, or made more explicit to ensure clarity, such as for example point 23.

Repetitions have been removed and some points combined to provide a more succinct and comprehensive code.

No single principle was deleted, only re-written, updated, combined, made more explicit or simplified. However, a few new points have been added to the code:

7. Decline any gifts, favours, money or hospitality that might be interpreted as exploitative.

32. Act in a way which upholds the profession’s reputation and promotes public confidence in the profession and its members, including outside of your professional life as a UKCP practitioner.

Point 39 existed previously but has expanded to include a new point a) which requires the registrant to inform UKCP and any relevant organisational member if they are charged with a criminal offence.

Questions for UKCP full clinical members

You are responsible for understanding and adhering to the new code, and you will need to provide the new code to your clients. If you are a supervisor, you have a responsibility to ensure your supervisees are working to the most current code.

This will be considered by the Complaints and Conduct Process (CCP), and it may have implications on your membership.

Questions for UKCP colleges and organisational members

Yes. You can also adapt your current code to include any changes OR you can include a brief statement at the beginning of your code which says something along the lines of: this code must be read in conjunction with UKCP’s code of ethics document.

Updates to your college/organisation’s code must be completed by the end of 2019.

Yes. As the new code will come into effect as of 1 October, it is best for trainees and members to start reviewing the code now.

Because the title of the UKCP code has changed, some of your college/organisation’s documents (such as reaccreditation or CPD, curriculum, and renewal forms) may need updating to reflect the new title.

Name of the 2009 code: UKCP’s Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct

Name of the 2019 code: UKCP’s Code of Ethics and Professional Practice

Or you may refer to generically as UKCP’s code of ethics document.

This should be completed by 1 October 2019. We’ve already started updating our own to reflect the new code’s title too.

Please email any queries to

Organisations and colleges are asked to complete a declaration acknowledging the new code and agreeing to complete of changes to your codes (or adoption of the new code) no later than 31 December 2019. Download the declaration here.

Please complete the declaration by 1 August 2019 and email it to

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