Code of Ethics and Complaints process
As a profession, members of the association agree to act professionally at all times and operate in line with a code of ethics reproduced below.
Code of Ethics of Professional Conduct:
We are one profession, the speaking profession. We cover many topics and opinions, many ideas, experiences and backgrounds. We will always value each other’s contributions and work as a profession, collectively and independently so that every member can have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Our reputation as a profession that clients, audiences and the public can trust is our most valuable asset, and it is up to every Associate, Member and Fellow (“Members”) of the Professional Speaking Association to make sure that we continually earn that trust. All professional speakers should strive to ensure that every communication improves the level of trust in which the profession is held.
In reaching a decision Members of the PSA are expected to ask themselves three questions:
- Am I aligned to the values of the Professional Speaking Association?
- Is my decision good for the profession?
- Would I feel happy if everyone knew all the details of my actions?
- Professional Requirements.
All Members of the PSA are expected to:
- Hold appropriate public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
- Comply with all relevant laws, regulations, and tax obligations in connection with operating their speaking business.
- Hold all necessary licences and permissions to use images, music, video, and other content used in their presentations.
- Act in accordance with this code at all times.
- Alert the PSA of any situations which they feel could affect the reputation of the PSA.
- Diversity and exclusivity .
The PSA welcomes and supports people of all backgrounds and identities including but not limited to members of any sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, culture, national origin, social and economic class, educational level, colour, immigration status, sex, age, size, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability.
- Professional Consideration.
As a profession, and as individual professionals operating in the profession we all depend on each other from time to time to uphold these values and to be respectful of the different business models and approaches that will happen in a diverse market. Your decisions will affect clients, peers and the association, and you should take those consequences into account when making decisions.
- Be respectful.
Professional speakers are often paid to be controversial and promote thought and motivate change. Members of the profession will not always agree. Disagreement is no excuse for disrespectful behaviour. We will all experience frustration from time to time, but we cannot allow that frustration to be perceived as a personal attack nor to bring the profession into disrepute in other ways.
- Professional conduct.
Always conduct yourself professionally. That includes being kind to others, and not intentionally insulting, belittling, or offending others (including on social media and other online interactions) harassment and exclusionary behaviour are not acceptable. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Making threats of, or using, any form of physical violence.
- Any unwelcome sexual attention.
- Making or using discriminatory jokes and language.
- Personal insults, especially those using racist or sexist terms.
- Persistent or unwelcome encroachment of personal space.
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behaviour.
If you are subjected to any of these behaviours, you should immediately tell the other party to stop, if you feel able at the time, and considering your own personal safety. If you observe behaviour that is causing discomfort to others you should intervene. If you consider the case to be serious then you should report the matter as soon as you can to the Professional Speaking Association, and the relevant authorities.
If someone asks you to stop doing something, then stop. When you disagree, try to understand why, but do not put yourself at increased risk. Differences of opinion and disagreements are mostly unavoidable. What is important is that members resolve disagreements and differing views constructively.
- Make differences into strengths.
We can find strength in diversity. Different people have different perspectives on issues, and that can be valuable for solving problems or generating new ideas. Being unable to understand why someone holds a viewpoint doesn’t mean that they’re wrong. Don’t forget that we all make mistakes and blaming each other doesn’t get us anywhere. Instead, focus on resolving issues and learning from mistakes.
Raising concerns or making complaints about Members of the Professional Speaking Association.
Please email [email protected] providing full details of your concerns.
It is important that anyone, whether it is another speaker, a booker, a client, a member of an audience or a member of the public who interacts with any Member of the PSA can raise a complaint without fear of retaliation or being ignored.
As a membership organisation we know it takes courage to come forward and share concerns and we treat all concerns with appropriate vigour and fairness. We won’t permit retaliation against anyone who raises questions or reports concerns about Professional Speaking activities.
The intention is to be as transparent as possible whilst protecting the innocent from perceptions of wrong doing.
Remit of the PSA.
The PSA is not an arbiter of personal or individual disputes between Members and their clients on commercial matters. The PSA will only become involved if all other normal resolution procedures have been exhausted, unless there is evidence of the profession being brought into disrepute beyond those involved.
Beyond that the PSA will investigate all concerns that directly concern the code of ethics and conduct, whether raised by a Member or a member of the public, about a Member or Members. Investigations will be conducted confidentially by all parties until concluded.
The PSA will observe the following process.
- The PSA will validate if the concern is within its remit to investigate.
- Illegality will be referred to the authorities, when it is identified, and any PSA investigation delayed until the legal process is complete
- All parties will be notified, and the PSA will request evidence.
- All investigations will be conducted in confidence until they are complete.
- Once the evidence has been provided the parties will have an opportunity to comment, this may be by any reasonable medium.
- The PSA may ask for any supporting information that is required and Members will not unreasonably withhold access to that information.
- Where the complaint is upheld the PSA may provide guidance to the Member, or impose sanctions, either with a formal warning or by temporary or permanent suspension of membership level, or expulsion from the Association. Sanctions will take account of the current membership status as the expectation of ethical behaviour is naturally higher for Fellows than for Professional Members and Associates.
- The results of investigations may be published where sanctions have been applied and where appropriate to do so.
- Any member who is found guilty of a serious criminal offence whilst a member will be suspended from the PSA without refund of fees paid.
Last updated October 2018