Consultancy and Commissioned Research


It's easy to get bogged down when thinking about ethics.  We specialise in bringing clarity and practical focus. We help you understand the issues more quickly, and provide the tools to help you address them. From the very first meeting, we can help you clarify the problem you need to solve, and suggest practical solutions to help you move your project forward more quickly.

We bring both academic training and extensive experience of working with businesses and professional bodies to our consulting activities, a unique combination which sets us apart from other consultants. As well as being trained in philosophical ethics, we are experienced in using a variety of empirical research techniques.

Our services

  • Producing applied research projects using a variety of methodologies.
  • Creating, reviewing or re-writing a new code of ethics.
  • Developing company value statements and helping to embed values throughout an organisation.
  • Working with leaders to disentangle ethical issues faced by an organisation.
  • Facilitating workshops to help organisations articulate their values
  • Surveys of employees or client-side audiences to diagnose existing ethical issues and investigate perceptions regarding ethics.
  • Literature reviews that pull together existing published research on ethics questions of interest.

We also offer consultancy in leadership ethics in connection to the Leading Minds research project.

To find out more about our consultancy and training activities, please contact Dr Jim Baxter.

Examples of our work

Research for the Banking Standards Board

In 2016, we produced a report on Professionalism in Banking for the Banking Standards Board. Based on extensive consultation with banks, building societies, professional bodies and other stakeholders through online surveys and semi-structured interviews, we addressed questions relating to the role of professional bodies in improving standards of competence and conduct in the banking sector.

“[The Professionalism in Banking] report makes clear what needs to be done to strengthen professionalism in the sector. It will take collaboration and determination from all sides to tackle these challenges but the new accountability regimes present a unique opportunity for the industry and professional bodies to raise the bar on behaviour and improve outcomes for customers. We urge them to seize it.”

Dame Colette Bowe, Chairman of the Banking Standards Board

The report is available on the Banking Standards Board website.

St Vincent and the Grenadines code of ethics

In 2016, we worked with the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines to develop a new code of ethics for their entire public service.  Based on consultation with public servants and their stakeholders through one-to-one interviews and focus groups, we produced a code and a set of recommendations for its effective embedding in the culture of the public service.  

Real Integrity research

This report is the culmination of a major research project, funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The project combined an online survey with nearly 1,500 respondents, interviews with 94 employees in organisations of a wide range of sizes and types, and an investigation into the philosophical literature, to gain practical insights into steps which organisations can take to promote or encourage integrity.

A full version of the report and a shorter ‘briefing’ can be found below:

Real Integrity full report

Real Integrity briefing

The Real Integrity Report was submitted to the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press.

National Inquiry into Ethical Decision Making in the NHS

Working with the University’s Centre for Innovation in Health Management (CIHM), the IDEA Centre produced a National Inquiry into Ethical Decision Making in the NHS, which highlights the need for more resources on ethical decision-making at a senior management level.

Based on semi-structured one-to-one interviews with NHS managers, the major output from this research is a checklist for ethical decision-making.

A full version of the report and a shorter version can be found below:

Ethics Inquiry full report (pdf)

Ethics Inquiry short report (pdf)

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)

In 2008 we carried out an ethical review of HEFCE, focusing on its published values, mission statement and code of conduct, and assessing its ability to meet its particular ethical challenges. By interviewing HEFCE’s employees, we uncovered a picture of what life is like ‘on the ground’ for employees at different levels, assessed the extent to which employees had a shared understanding of the values and principles underlying their work, and how well-equipped they were to deal with ethical concerns.

"Commissioning the Leeds IDEA team to assess [our] culture has proved invaluable. A professional, open, trusting, co-operative and flexible relationship was readily established between us, resulting in mutually beneficial outcomes. The work of the Leeds team was thorough. In particular, it made the significant connection between our role, both strategically and operationally, and theoretical ethical principles. The Board and Audit Committee have both been interested to see the results. The final report, which leave the Council with much to think about, has been well received by the Council overall."

Ian Gross, Head of Internal Audit, HEFCE.

The Higher Education Academy (HEA)

In 2009, we were engaged by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) to identify a list of values, reflecting not only the organisation’s needs, given its aims, its history, structure and culture, but also the actual values held by its employees. Based on interviews with a sample of HEA employees, we were able to provide a list of key values, and to provide advice on how these values might be used to create a co-operative and dynamic culture in the organisation.

“Throughout the project [the IDEA CETL consultant] has been extremely useful both in terms of helping us develop the project and identifying appropriate methodologies, and in interpreting the results in a meaningful and practical manner.

“The project was brought in on time and to budget along with a clear set of recommendations for moving it forward. We would happily work with them again on future projects.”

Heather Jackson, Assistant Director, Finance and Corporate Services, HEA