3.01 Supervision and Consultation
(a) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation (whether
in-person or remotely) should have the necessary knowledge and skill to
supervise or consult appropriately and should do so only within their
areas of knowledge and competence.
(b) Social workers who provide supervision or consultation are responsible
for setting clear, appropriate, and culturally sensitive boundaries.
(c) Social workers should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships
with supervisees in which there is a risk of exploitation of or potential
harm to the supervisee, including dual relationships that may arise while
using social networking sites or other electronic media.
(d) Social workers who provide supervision should evaluate supervisees’
performance in a manner that is fair and respectful.
3.02 Education and Training
(a) Social workers who function as educators, field instructors for
students, or trainers should provide instruction only within their areas of
knowledge and competence and should provide instruction based on the
most current information and knowledge available in the profession.
(b) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for
students should evaluate students’ performance in a manner that is fair
(c) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for
students should take reasonable steps to ensure that clients are routinely
informed when services are being provided by students.
(d) Social workers who function as educators or field instructors for
students should not engage in any dual or multiple relationships with
students in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm to the
student, including dual relationships that may arise while using social
networking sites or other electronic media. Social work educators and
field instructors are responsible for setting clear, appropriate, and
culturally sensitive boundaries.
3.03 Performance Evaluation
Social workers who have responsibility for evaluating the performance
of others should fulfill such responsibility in a fair and considerate
manner and on the basis of clearly stated criteria.
3.04 Client Records
(a) Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that
documentation in electronic and paper records is accurate and reflects
the services provided.
(b) Social workers should include sufficient and timely documentation in
records to facilitate the delivery of services and to ensure continuity of
services provided to clients in the future.
(c) Social workers’ documentation should protect clients’ privacy to the
extent that is possible and appropriate and should include only
information that is directly relevant to the delivery of services.
(d) Social workers should store records following the termination of
services to ensure reasonable future access. Records should be
maintained for the number of years required by relevant laws, agency
policies, and contracts.
Social workers should establish and maintain billing practices that
accurately reflect the nature and extent of services provided and that
identify who provided the service in the practice setting.
3.06 Client Transfer
(a) When an individual who is receiving services from another agency or
colleague contacts a social worker for services, the social worker should
carefully consider the client’s needs before agreeing to provide services.
To minimize possible confusion and conflict, social workers should
discuss with potential clients the nature of the clients’ current relationship
with other service providers and the implications, including possible
benefits or risks, of entering into a relationship with a new service provider.
(b) If a new client has been served by another agency or colleague,
social workers should discuss with the client whether consultation with
the previous service provider is in the client’s best interest.
(a) Social work administrators should advocate within and outside their
agencies for adequate resources to meet clients’ needs.
(b) Social workers should advocate for resource allocation procedures
that are open and fair. When not all clients’ needs can be met, an
allocation procedure should be developed that is nondiscriminatory and
based on appropriate and consistently applied principles.
(c) Social workers who are administrators should take reasonable steps
to ensure that adequate agency or organizational resources are available
to provide appropriate staff supervision.
(d) Social work administrators should take reasonable steps to ensure
that the working environment for which they are responsible is
consistent with and encourages compliance with the NASW Code of
Ethics. Social work administrators should take reasonable steps to
eliminate any conditions in their organizations that violate, interfere
with, or discourage compliance with the Code.
3.08 Continuing Education and Staff Development
Social work administrators and supervisors should take reasonable steps
to provide or arrange for continuing education and staff development for
all staff for whom they are responsible. Continuing education and staff
development should address current knowledge and emerging
developments related to social work practice and ethics.
3.09 Commitments to Employers
(a) Social workers generally should adhere to commitments made to
employers and employing organizations.
(b) Social workers should work to improve employing agencies’ policies
and procedures and the efficiency and effectiveness of their services.
(c) Social workers should take reasonable steps to ensure that employers
are aware of social workers’ ethical obligations as set forth in the NASW
Code of Ethics and of the implications of those obligations for social
(d) Social workers should not allow an employing organization’s
policies, procedures, regulations, or administrative orders to interfere
with their ethical practice of social work. Social workers should take
reasonable steps to ensure that their employing organizations’ practices
are consistent with the NASW Code of Ethics.
(e) Social workers should act to prevent and eliminate discrimination in
the employing organization’s work assignments and in its employment
policies and practices.
(f) Social workers should accept employment or arrange student field
placements only in organizations that exercise fair personnel practices.
(g) Social workers should be diligent stewards of the resources of their
employing organizations, wisely conserving funds where appropriate and
never misappropriating funds or using them for unintended purposes.
3.10 Labor–Management Disputes
(a) Social workers may engage in organized action, including the
formation of and participation in labor unions, to improve services to
clients and working conditions.
(b) The actions of social workers who are involved in labor-management
disputes, job actions, or labor strikes should be guided by the profession’s
values, ethical principles, and ethical standards. Reasonable differences
of opinion exist among social workers concerning their primary
obligation as professionals during an actual or threatened labor strike or
job action. Social workers should carefully examine relevant issues and
their possible impact on clients before deciding on a course of action.