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IOP Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct sets out expectations of behaviour that the IOP requires to be upheld and which all members are expected to adhere to.



1. This Code of Conduct (Code) is published by the Council of the Institute of Physics (IOP) in accordance with its Bylaws and applies to all members of the IOP and regulates all interactions and activities relating to its vision, mission and strategy. The Code sets out expectations of behaviour that the IOP requires to be upheld and which all members are required to adhere to.

2. Many of the principles set out in this Code are designed to ensure that individuals are safe and comfortable when interacting with the IOP and, for that reason, much of what is set out below is relevant to others who may not be members, but who have contact with the IOP. This Code will apply to such individuals when interacting with the IOP, as appropriate.

3. The Disciplinary Committee of the IOP will investigate any alleged breaches and take appropriate action where necessary.

Overview and applicability

4. Every member of the IOP regardless of their role and area of responsibility is required to uphold the IOP’s values of:

  • being objective, led by evidence;
  • being rewarding, open and engaging to work with;
  • confronting barriers to inclusiveness and participation wherever encountered; and
  • exemplifying the highest standards in all that they do.

5. The Code applies to all members acting on behalf of, or promoting the work of, the IOP, including, for example, members who volunteer for the IOP and members who engage in any form of online activity for the IOP. The IOP also requires the standards set out in the Code to be upheld by its members in all day-to-day interactions with colleagues and members of the public, especially at conferences, meetings, events and other social activities, regardless of the capacity in which the member is attending (be it as an organiser, delegate, speaker, sponsor, exhibitor, or in any other capacity). Members are required to uphold the principles set out in the Code at all times during the relevant event, including at all conference venues, conference accommodation and conference-related social activities.

6. Much of what is set out in the Code is relevant to others who, although not members, have contact with the IOP. This Code will apply to meetings, conferences and other similar events and such individuals who participate in them.

Extract from the Bylaws

7. This Code is established under Bylaw 15 and is as referred to in paragraph 10 of the Regulations.


1. Professional conduct

Members shall:

  • promote the study, application and understanding of physics and shall promote the work of physicists at every appropriate opportunity in their professional lives and in any volunteering capacity;
  • treat others with dignity and respect, act with integrity and shall not intentionally bring the IOP or the staff/other members of the IOP, into disrepute;
  • ensure that any professional activities do not unnecessarily put at risk the health, safety or welfare of any person, and they shall have due regard for the effects on the environment and for the sustainability of any resources;
  • support a colleague or any other person for whom they have a duty of care who in good faith raises any concern about a danger, risk, malpractice or wrongdoing that affects others;
  • strive to be objective, unbiased and truthful in all aspects of their work, exercising all reasonable due diligence, in presenting quality work to the best of their ability, by critically assessing the likelihood of experimental, methodological, systematic or human errors and avoiding bias or unfair influence;
  • properly acknowledge and correct any technical errors in their work at the earliest opportunity, and shall never plagiarise nor claim the credit or benefit for the work of others, nor fabricate, falsify or misrepresent data or results;
  • record the source material of their work in an auditable trail for the purposes of any professional scrutiny or quality-based verification and shall ensure that those who have made a significant contribution to any piece of work are appropriately acknowledged;
  • exhibit honesty, integrity and transparency when applying for grants, financial funding or project approval; and
  • be mindful of their obligation to exemplify professional behaviour in relation to any content that they publish in the public domain, including without limitation articles, blogs and on all forms of social media.

2. Professional development

2.1 All members are required to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) activities necessary to maintain and develop their competence and shall encourage persons working under their direction, management or supervision to do likewise. Recording evidence of CPD undertaken and being prepared to submit this to the IOP on request is mandatory for all members who want to retain their professional registration(s).

2.2 No one shall use designatory letters to which they are not entitled. Members can state that they are a member of the IOP and are professionally registered, but shall not use the IOP logo, the coat of arms or seal in a business capacity or that implies that they are acting on behalf of, or with the authority of, the IOP, except where they have express permission to do so or when conducting IOP business in the capacity of a Trustee of Council.

3. Treating all with dignity and respect

3.1 Members shall treat everyone with dignity and respect, not using their position or personal belief/opinion to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others. Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. It can be physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct and includes, but is not limited to, abusive spoken or written words, offensive emails, tweets or comments on social networking sites, offensive images or graffiti, and physical gestures or jokes. It also includes treating someone less favourably because they have submitted or refused to submit to such behaviour in the past. The aforementioned are some examples of harassment under the Equality Act 2010 and it does not necessarily mean that a member has to be in breach of the Equality Act 2010 to be in breach of the Code.

3.2 The IOP will not tolerate harassment based on any basis, including conduct of a sexual nature (sexual harassment), related to age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, social status, and background or actual or perceived intellect. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not fall within any of these categories.

3.3 Members shall not recklessly or maliciously damage, or attempt to harm, directly or indirectly, the reputation, prospects, businesses or property of others.

3.4 Members shall not advertise nor write articles for publication in any manner, whether it is in physical copy or in a digital/multimedia format, that brings the IOP into disrepute, is derogatory or could reasonably have expected to cause offence to any individual member or community of members, or to the dignity of their profession. Neither shall members authorise any such advertisement or article to be written or published by others.

4. Providing guidance or an opinion

4.1 Members who are called upon to give an opinion in their professional capacity shall, to the best of their ability, give an opinion that is objective and based upon the best available knowledge and information, and shall state clearly any limitations or qualifications to such opinion.

4.2 Members who believe that they have a professional or personal conflict of interest that may impair their ability to make objective judgment, shall disclose such interests, where relevant, to their employer, the IOP or any relevant authority.

4.3 Members shall not claim expertise or skill in any area of knowledge or professional practice in which they have insufficient qualifications or experience.

5. Other memberships and criminal convictions

5.1 Members who have had membership of another professional body terminated as the result of a disciplinary procedure are required to inform the IOP, and to provide information pertaining to the matter as the IOP may require.

5.2 Members convicted of a criminal offence or in receipt of an adverse civil court or tribunal judgment related to any aspect of the Code anywhere in the world are required to inform the IOP, and to provide such information concerning the conviction as the IOP may require. (Note: this does not apply to an offence that is regarded as ‘spent’ within the meaning of the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 or equivalent legislation elsewhere.)

6. Confidential reporting and self-reporting

6.1 If a person feels they have been bullied, harassed or discriminated against by a member, volunteer or conference participant (e.g. organiser, delegate, sponsor, speaker, exhibitor) or if they are being asked themselves to break the Code, and there are no obvious and reasonable steps being taken to put the matter right, that person should raise their concerns or grievance confidentially with the Vice-President of Membership, through the senior manager responsible for membership, in line with the IOP’s procedures.

6.2 Where a breach of the Code is also a breach of their employer's internal code of conduct or the law, the individual has an obligation to inform the relevant employer/authorities of such a breach.

6.3 Where a member has breached their own employer’s code of conduct and this is also a breach of the IOP’s Code, the member must self-report said breach to the IOP through the senior manager responsible for membership, in line with the IOP’s procedures. Failure to make a self-report is, in itself, a breach of the Code.

6.4 If an individual feels that they have been harassed or discriminated against at an IOP conference, meeting or event (whether that is at the venue, accommodation and/or during any related social activities), or has witnessed this occurring, this can be reported to a member of the IOP’s staff at the conference or to the senior manager responsible for membership, as soon as reasonably practicable. Any report will be treated sensitively, appropriately, and in a timely fashion.

6.5 Conference, meeting or event participants asked to stop any harassment or discriminatory behaviour are required to comply immediately. If a participant engages in harassment or discriminatory behaviour, the IOP/event organisers retain the right to take any necessary action including expulsion from the conference, meeting or event with no refund and/or refusal of future registration.

7. Disciplinary procedures

7.1 The IOP’s disciplinary procedures outline the formal process that will be followed in the event of the Code being breached. The procedures have been created to ensure that all members are treated in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner. The procedures set out examples of misconduct, examples of issues which fall outside the remit of the Disciplinary Committee, and the action the Disciplinary Committee will take if a complaint is upheld. Further details about discipline and expulsion can be found in the Regulations.

7.2 Non-members who behave in a manner outside of our principles set out in the Code may face the prospect of being prevented from engaging in all future IOP activities/events, and may not be able to apply for membership, professional registration and any grants administered by the IOP and/or its partners. Furthermore, the IOP reserves the right to inform relevant professional regulatory bodies for which the non-member may hold a professional registration.

Approved by Council 19 May 2022

Effective from 1 June 2022