Leave No Stone Unturned: The Inclusive Model of Ethical Decision-Making
Ethical decision-making is a core part of the work of social work and human service practitioners, who confront with regularity dilemmas of duty of care; confidentiality, privacy and disclosure; choice and autonomy; and distribution of increasingly scarce resources. This article details the development and application of the Inclusive Model of Ethical Decision making, created in response to growing awareness of the complexities of work in both public and private sectors. The model rests of four key platforms that are constructed from important foundational values and principles. These platforms are: Accountability, Consultation, Cultural Sensitivity and Critical Reflection, and underlie the dynamic five-step process that uses a reflective yet pragmatic approach to identify and analyse all relevant aspects of an ethical dilemma. The article begins by exploring the anatomy of an ethical dilemma, including the identification of competing ethical principles. It then moves on to highlight the different points in a decision-making process where difficulties typically arise for practitioners who may confront problems with interpretation of ethical codes, lack of access to needed resources and supports, or who may find themselves bound by legal or organisational restrictions. It is argued that this model has useful application for both social work education and practice.
Ethics and Social Welfare