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ICAEW Regulatory Board

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is responsible for overseeing professional standards activities and the statutory regulatory role of ICAEW.

About the IRB

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) is responsible for the regulatory and disciplinary functions of ICAEW. This structure provides separation of these functions from the other activities of ICAEW. The public interest is at the forefront of everything that the IRB does. It also has regard to the objectives of the profession, as set out in ICAEW's Royal Charter.

The IRB's main role is to initiate and develop strategic priorities relating to the activities of the Professional Standards Department (PSD). It ensures that the processes that underpin the department's licensing and disciplinary functions work effectively and efficiently, that its operational targets support its strategy, and that it reviews progress of the operational plan and targets that are set.

A major part of this role is general oversight of the performance of Professional Standards committees including audit registration, insolvency licensing, investment business, review, legal services, investigations, fitness, disciplinary, appeals, Practice Assurance and professional indemnity insurance. This includes observation of committee meetings.

The IRB has twelve members including the chair and is formed of an equal number of lay members (someone who is not and never has been a member, affiliate or employee of ICAEW or any other accountancy body) and non lay members (ICAEW Chartered Accountants).  To support the board's public interest role, board members are expected to act with independence and avoid conflicts of interest. The chair and IRB members are all appointed using an independent selection process. The current IRB chair is a lay member, Michael Caplan QC. When legal services matters are under discussion, meetings are chaired by an alternate, Steve Barrow.

Regulating in the public interest: IRB Annual Report 2019

During the past year the IRB has turned its attention to increasing the transparency of its operations. Part of the result of that appraisal is this new-look annual report, in which we explain more about who we are and how we exercise our oversight while looking back on what we have achieved in 2019.The past year has been a very challenging one for the accounting profession and where necessary. We have met these challenges head-on. We also continue to keep under constant review all aspects of the ICAEW Professional Standards Department's work: the complaints procedure; its monitoring of firms; the disciplinary rules and sanction guidance; and other regulations that are essential to ensure the proper running of ICAEW's regulatory and disciplinary processes.

Professional Standards committees

The IRB has general oversight of the performance of the Professional Standards committees. These include the Audit Registration Committee, the Insolvency Licensing Committee, the Investment Business Committee, the Review Committee, the Probate Committee, the Legal Services Committee, the Investigation Committee, the Fitness Committee, the Disciplinary Committee, and the Appeal Committee, the Practice Assurance Committee and the Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee. These committees are not answerable to the IRB for their decisions in individual cases.

Each Professional Standards’ (professional conduct or regulatory) committee has an equal or majority number of lay members (someone who is not/never been a member, affiliate or employee of ICAEW or any other accountancy body). This ensures we carry out our role of maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards within the accountancy profession in a proportionate, accountable, consistent, transparent and focused manner. 

Establishment of the IRB

The IRB was established in 2015 (meeting for the first time in 2016) to enhance the distinction between ICAEW’s representative and regulatory roles following an independent review of ICAEW’s regulatory governance.

The IRB superseded the Professional Standards Board. To enforce the principle of independence within ICAEW’s governance structure which separates regulatory and membership activities, ICAEW office holders, ICAEW Board and council members are not allowed to sit on the IRB or regulatory and disciplinary committees.

IRB board members

The current IRB board members are:

Michael Caplan Michael Caplan QC Chair
Lay member
Philip Nicol-Gent Philip Nicol-Gent Vice-Chair
Lay member
Steve Barrow Steve Barrow Alternate Chair
Parjinder Basra
Parjinder Basra Lay member
Andrew Goldsworthy Andrew Goldsworthy Non-lay member
 Ian Leigh Thomas Palm Non-lay member
 Asif Patel Asif Patel Non-lay member
 Anthony Pygram

Anthony Pygram

 Lay member
Michael Sufrin Michael Sufrin Non-lay member
Jane Titley Jane Titley Non-lay member
 Jonathan Williams  Jonathan Williams  Non-lay member
Ann Wright Ann Wright Lay member

Terms of Reference

The IRB’s terms of reference set out the role and responsibilities of the IRB and contains practical information on how the IRB operates, for example its quorum. The terms of reference also detail the powers delegated to the IRB and the powers the IRB itself has delegated to other committees.


The meeting dates for 2021 are:

2 February
8 April
10 June
10 August
14 October
9 December

Record of Decisions

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020