A diagram showing the structure of the ICAEW regulatory or disciplinary committees.
The following committees are responsible for regulatory matters. They oversee the application process for registration to practice in the regulated areas of audit, investment business, insolvency and probate and then monitor compliance with regulatory requirements.
- The Audit Registration Committee (ARC)
- The Investment Business Committee (IBC)
- The Insolvency Licensing Committee (ILC)
- The Legal Services Committee (LSC)
Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) Committee
ICAEW’s PII requirements for members and firms are overseen by the PII Committee. The committee is responsible for all matters relating to PII including keeping under review ICAEW’s policy on compulsory PII, considering revisions to the PII regulations and minimum approved wording and approving the form and content of contracts underpinning the PII arrangements.
The Review Committee
The Review Committee allows members or firms to ask for a review of certain decisions made by the Audit Registration Committee, the Investment Business Committee, Legal Services Committee, Professional Indemnity Insurance Committee or the Insolvency Licensing Committee. A review is not an appeal against the decision of a regulatory committee. A regulatory committee will consider a matter on papers only, whereas the Review Committee will convene a panel for a full hearing. The panel will consider the matter afresh, taking into account all relevant up to date matters. The essential elements of this function are:
- to ensure that the proceedings are conducted in accordance with the Principal Regulations and the Review Committee's own regulations and that they are fair to the firm or individual applicant;
- to assess all the evidence, both fact and opinion, if expert opinion is relied upon;
- to ensure that it considers only the papers before it and does not undertake any independent searches for information regarding the case, even if the information is in the public domain
- to make a decision on the merits of the case; and
- having made a decision, to make an appropriate order in accordance with the powers conferred by the Principal Regulations bearing in mind: the interests of the public; ICAEW's responsibility for maintaining high standards of public practice and conduct; and any other matters which it considers to be relevant in the circumstances of the case.
Other committees and boards
The Practice Assurance Committee (PAC) considers reports following Practice Assurance visits. It may require a member firm to take certain remedial action to address concerns, for example, in relation to the handling of client monies or the firm’s compliance with the requirements of the Money Laundering Regulations. If the concerns are serious or persistent, the committee can refer the firm to the ICAEW Conduct Department for further investigation.
The Chartered Accountants Compensation Scheme (CACS) Board
ICAEW, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Scotland (ICAS) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland (ICAI) operate a compensation scheme for members of the public who have incurred a financial loss as a result of investment advice given by a firm of chartered accountants which, at the time the advice was given, was authorised or licensed to give such advice by one of the three institutes.
The Chartered Accountants Compensation Scheme Board administers and manages the scheme. It also considers claims arising from investment business conducted by authorised/licensed firms under the investment business rulebooks.
The following committees are responsible for disciplinary matters. Once a complaint has been received, they decide whether an allegation has occurred and, if so, what penalties, if any, should be imposed.
- The Conduct Committee (CC) considers formal allegations and applies the 'realistic prospect' test. This means it considers each case to determine whether there is a realistic prospect that, if the allegation were to be referred to the Tribunal Committee (TC) for hearing such allegation would be found proved. The CC can, among other things, offer a Consent Order to settle the matter or alternatively, refer the matter to the TC. The CC, with the agreement of the subject of the allegation(s), may make any one or more of the orders which the TC could make under Disciplinary Bye-Laws 11.1 and 11.3 (a) subject to the exclusions outlined in Disciplinary Bye-law 10.1 (b).
- The Tribunals Committee (TC) hears cases referred to it by the CC. In addition, it can, amongst other powers, exclude members from membership, suspend members from membership, withdraw licences, practising certificates, registrations, or authorisations or prohibit a firm from using the description 'Chartered Accountants.'
- The Fitness to Practise Committee (FtPC) was introduced following changes to the disciplinary bye-laws. It meets as a panel; each panel comprises two lay members (one of which is the chair) and one accountant. Its primary role is to decide if an ICAEW member is fit to respond to an investigation and/or participate in disciplinary proceedings and/or regulatory proceedings and/or is fit to practise. Panels also consider applications from individuals registering as provisional members (ACA students) whose applications disclose potential 'fit and proper' issues, such as previous criminal convictions. The panels also consider applications for readmission to membership. Membership of the FtPC is drawn from the members of the Tribunals Committee.
The Appeal Committee (AC) hears appeals from either the Review Committee or the Tribunals Committee.
To achieve a clear separation of responsibility for policy making and enforcement, members of ICAEW's Council are not appointed to serve on any of the above committees.
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