There are important ethical issues concerned with community development which involves sensitive personal information and ideas and all workers in the sector have to be scrupulous about their behaviour.
Participatory initiatives have to follow certain principles if they are to be genuine and lead to real involvement and useful change. We have worked with the PPfC and Creative Communities Unit at Staffordshire University to develop ethical guidelines which inform all good quality participatory work.
These principles underpin all our work.
Here is a short version of the PPfC core principles. The full version is here.
People are experts in their own lives - others learn from them.
Participatory work tries to include everyone relevant to the activity.
In good participatory work people take ownership of the process and use their own words and follow their own ideas.
Participatory work follows cycles of learning.
Participatory work requires people to be self-critical.
Participatory work is rigorous and ethical.
Participatory work should lead to action.
Good participatory work identifies the role of power in relationships and seeks to lead to empowerment of those disadvantaged by the existing situation.