University of Edinburgh

Lipreading Issues

Presented in December 2005

The CACDP Ethical Code of Practice for Lipspeakers


In this document, the term Lipspeaker means any person who is registered by the CACDP Lipspeaking Registration Panel as a Member of the Register of Lipspeakers or as a Registered Level 2 Lipspeaker in accordance with the conditions of registration.

Lipspeakers are expected to abide by the Ethical Code and work to the Code of Practice for Lipspeakers. It is the view of CACDP that when Lipspeakers are managing, training, supervising or mentoring other Lipspeakers, or are working with consumers, they abide by the Ethical Code and work to the Code of Practice.

Ethical Code

The Ethical Code sets out the principles that must underpin the work of the Lipspeaker. The purpose of the Ethical Code is to ensure that the Lipspeaker carries out his/her work with a due regard for the fundamental rights of deaf and hearing people involved in, or affected by, all aspects of the communication process. The Lipspeaker must be able to justify any course of action by reference to the ethical principles below.

The Lipspeaker’s duty is to:

  • Do no harm
  • Be honest
  • Keep their promises
  • Act justly and fairly towards other people
  • Recognise the personal choices another person makes

These five principles support the Code of Practice. Under the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure the Lipspeaker may be asked to explain why they have done something which seems to break the Code of Practice. They may defend their choice of action using the principles above. If there is conflict between the principles, principle 1 “Do no harm” is the most important.

Issues of professional competence, and practice and procedures that are specific to the role of a Lipspeaker are covered by the Code of Practice.

Code of Practice

1. Status and Spirit of the Code

1.1 This Code gives standards of how Lipspeakers must behave and work. If they do not follow the Code when working, it may be necessary to investigate the behaviour and ability of the Lipspeaker using the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure.
1.2 If a way of behaving or working is not found in this Code, this does not mean that it cannot be used for disciplinary purposes. When they are working, Lipspeakers must keep to the content and spirit of the Code.
1.3 Lipspeakers must know about the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure. They must co-operate with the Lipspeaking Registration Panel should an investigation be necessary. They will provide information about the Complaints and Disciplinary Procedures if requested.

2. Definitions

2.1 ‘Consumer’ means any person, or group of people, who use an Lipspeaker.
2.2 ‘Work’ means Lipspeaking or the teaching of Lipspeaking, or activities connected with it.
2.3 ‘Lipspeaker’ means a person who conveys a speaker’s message to a lipreader using unvoiced speech, or clear communication, with the support of facial expression, natural gesture and fingerspelling

3. Standards of Work

3.1 Lipspeakers will lipspeak as accurately as possible. They will not add anything or take anything away from the meaning, and they will keep to the spirit of what is said.
3.2 If there are problems during an assignment, Lipspeakers will do their best to solve them using their professional skills. If this is impossible, they will stop lipspeaking and let the consumers know there is a problem.

4. Acceptance of work

4.1 Lipspeakers will only accept work where they have appropriate qualifications, skill, experience, and competence.
4.2 Exceptions to the above are:
A Level 2 Lipspeaker who is doing a placement as part of Level 3 training with a recognised Level 3 mentor, or
When a Level 2 Lipspeaker has done everything they can to make sure that an assignment is suitable for a Level 2, but finds themselves in a Level 3 assignment where a Level 3 is not available. A Level 2 Lipspeaker may continue with this assignment, but only if they tell the consumers that they are not qualified to do the assignment, and that there may be difficulties that they have not been trained to manage. The consumers must have agreed for the Level 2 Lipspeaker to continue with the assignment.
4.3 When the Lipspeaker accepts work, s/he will say that s/he is a registered Lipspeaker.
4.4 Lipspeakers may refuse any assignment without giving a reason.
4.5 When an assignment has been accepted, the Lipspeaker will not cancel it without good reason. If the Lipspeaker cannot go to an assignment s/he will tell the people concerned as soon as possible, and try to find another registered Lipspeaker with the same qualification to take her/his place.
4.6 Lipspeakers will not give their work to another Lipspeaker without the agreement of the people involved.
4.7 Lipspeakers will ask to be paid in a professional way. They will agree the amount to be paid and the working conditions when they accept the work . Any problems after the work should be resolved with the person who booked the Lipspeaker. This may not be the deaf person.

5. Confidentiality

5.1 Any information Lipspeakers learn when working will be confidential. This includes telling others that they are doing a particular job.
5.2 Evidence of lipspeaking may be needed for training or assessment. Lipspeakers will keep the consumer’s right to confidentiality. Lipspeakers can leave out agreed information, or the consumer may agree to a prepared statement.
5.3 They may also give information from their work if they could be prosecuted for not doing so or if asked to by law.
5.4 They may also give information to protect the welfare of an individual or the community.
5.5 Information given and lipspoken in public, is not confidential.

6. Impartiality

6.1 Lipspeakers will not give advice or offer their own opinion about anything discussed or about people in the room in a lipspeaking assignment.
6.2 Lipspeakers will be impartial, and show no bias or preference to either side when communicating.
6.3 Lipspeakers will not work in any situation when people could question their impartiality.
6.4 Lipspeakers will not benefit unfairly from knowing information they learned when working.
6.5 Lipspeakers will say if they have any business, financial or other interest that might make it difficult to be impartial. They must do this either before the assignment takes place, or as soon as possible.

7. Professional behaviour and relationships

7.1 Lipspeakers will support the reputation of the lipspeaking profession and work to improve their professional standards and status. They will not do anything to damage the profession.
7.2 Lipspeakers will respect the ethics and the working practices of other professions.
7.3 Lipspeakers will use their knowledge of the correct environmental conditions to help in communication with deaf and hearing people. This includes making sure that the environmental conditions (light, positioning, background) are suitable.
7.4 Lipspeakers will not wear clothing and jewellery that may be distracting to deaf people.
7.5 Lipspeakers may advertise their services but what is advertised must be accurate, relevant and must not mislead. It will not be harmful to deaf people or to the profession of lipspeaking.
7.6 Lipspeakers will support each other when working together.
7.7 Lipspeakers will co-operate with other Human Aids to Communication (eg; BSL/English Interpreters STT Reporters, Deafblind Interpreters) and make sure they do not do anything that makes it difficult for them to carry out their work.

8. Professional Development

8.1 Lipspeakers will try to improve and develop their skills and knowledge. They will try to take any training and development opportunities offered to them.
8.2 Lipspeakers will encourage and help other Lipspeakers with their professional development. They will try to make opportunities for new Lipspeakers to learn.