FAQs - About St James Ethics Centre
Learn more about St James Ethics Centre.
St James Ethics Centre seeks to provide a secure and non-judgemental forum for individuals and organisations to explore ethics and ethical decision-making on a very practical level. Our vision is:
We seek to bring about a world in which people feel free to include the ethical dimension in their daily lives.
Learn more about the purpose and aims of St James Ethics Centre and its various ethics-related services which may be of help to you as an individual or to your organisation.
Despite the fact that it has ‘saint’ and ‘ethics’ in its name, St James Ethics Centre is not a religious organisation. It is instead is an independent not-for-profit which is open to all and committed to promoting the ‘examined life’.
To put things in perspective, the Ethics Centre's name is an indication of its origin in the community of St James' Anglican Church in King Street, Sydney, Australia. However, the genius of its founders was to recognise that if it were to succeed, the organisation would need to be fully independent and open to people of all faiths and no faith at all. This is now formally the status of St James Ethics Centre. Learn more about the history of the Ethics Centre.
Given this need for independence, the Ethics Centre is also not a political organisation. It has no formal political affiliations. Instead it relies entirely on the public sector for funding.
Learn more about how you or your organisation can support the work of the Ethics Centre by way of membership, donations and other kinds of support.
St James Ethics Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation. It was incorporated in February 1990 under the Associations Incorporation Act of New South Wales, Australia. It is also recognised as a public benevolent institution in Australia.
The Ethics Centre has a Board of Management made up of volunteers. Learn more about our Board members.
The Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre is Dr Simon Longstaff. The Ethics Centre is operated on a day-to-day basis by a small and dedicated group of paid staff and volunteers. Learn more about our people.
The Ethics Centre also provides membership to individuals and organisations, who can participate in the Centre's Annual General Meetings.
Learn more about the Centre's corporate information, where you can also download our recent Annual Reports.
The short answer is, “no”.
An independent, non-government organisation the Ethics Centre has no formal power to conduct investigations into allegations of unethical conduct or ethical failings. Given this we are unable to pursue individual cases - whatever their merits may be.
The Ethics Centre also seeks to be a non-judgemental organisation. Its role is not to pass judgement, but instead the Ethics Centre facilitates and encourages organisations and individuals to make their own ethical decisions and judgements based on their own unique values and principles.
However, one of the Ethics Centre's principal roles is to offer guidance to people wishing to resolve or understand issues of ethical concern. We seek to help people to securely explore the options available to them for the effective resolution of their concerns. Learn more about our free and confidential 'good decision line' Ethics Counselling service and how it can assist you.
The Ethics Centre also provides an Ethics Consulting service which works with organisations seeking to establish ethical processes in keeping with their own values and principles. If you feel this service may be of assistance to an organisation, please feel free to recommend us.
If you do wish to have an allegation of unethical behaviour formally investigated, you will need to contact the relevant authorities which have the ability to make such an investigation, such as industry or professional bodies, ombudsmen services or even the police where appropriate.
The Ethics Centre provides practical assistance to anyone facing the uncertainty and discomfort of an ethical dilemma, whether personal or work-related. Our free and confidential 'good decision line' service can assist you to make your own 'good decision' based on your own values and principles.
The issues our Ethics Counselling service assists people with are often very complex, where the choices may involve ‘right’ versus ‘right’, or ‘wrong’ versus ‘wrong’. These are situations where there are no easy answers.
Learn more about our Ethics Counselling service or call 1800 672 303 (Australian free-call number) to make arrangements to speak with one of our specially trained Ethics Counsellors.
You can also learn more about the principles of ethical decision-making on this website, including about some suggested ethical decision-making 'tools'.
St James Ethics Centre's aim not to determine what may or may not constitute an ethical organisation, indivdidual or investment, but rather the Centre works to encourage people and organisations to determine their own unique values and principles so that that they can then make their own ethical decisions.
If you do have an idea of what would constitute an ethical investment for yourself, we can suggest you have a look at the following sources of information for ethical investors, particularly in Australia:
nb. St James Ethics Centre does not necessarily endorse these organisations nor is it responsible for content on external websites.
If you would like assistance in making ethical decisions which fit your own unique values and principles, then learn more about Ethi-Call - the good decision line, our free and confidential Ethics Counselling service.
Absolutely! Our Ethics Consulting team can work with your organisation to develop ethical frameworks, such as codes of ethics or conduct.
Learn more about our thoughts in relation to developing codes of ethics - including why we do not provide sample or 'off the shelf' codes for organisations to use.
Yes. The Ethics Centre has its own Ethics Training service, which is primarily open to organisations and offers a diverse array of programs, including Business Ethics for Leaders and Managers, to Ethical Intelligence and Good Decision-Making.
The short answer is, “no”.
The Ethics Centre's aim is to provide a non-judgemental forum for the promotion and exploration of ethics, rather than to play a role of determining what may or may not constitute an ethical organisation or individual. We work to assist people and organisations to make their own ethical decisions based on the unique values and guiding principles that inform them or their organisations.
St James Ethics Centre is, however, the trustee of the Corporate Responsibility Index in Australia. The Index is a strategic management tool to enhance the capacity of businesses to develop, measure and communicate best practice in the field of corporate social responsibility in Australia.
If you would like to learn more about how the Index works, the philosophy behind it and the most recent Index results, please visit www.corporate-responsibility.com.au.
The easiest way to support us is simply to become an individual or corporate member of the organisation. We also more than welcome donations big and small and other types of financial and in-kind support.
Opportunities to additional volunteers at the Ethics Centre are only occasionally available, but this is dependent on various projects and our capacity to manage additional people. Contact us if you have any queries.
The values that you hold as an individual and believe are important and/or relevant to the dilemma you are facing, are the values which will play a key role in your Ethics Counselling session.
We do not seek to impose our own values: in our Ethics Counselling both the values involved in the discussion and the final decisions must be your own.
Note that St James Ethics Centre is a secular organisation with no religious affiliations.
Visit our 'about us' section to read more about the Ethics Centre, our work and how to support us.