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ICAEW Regulatory Board consults on disciplinary framework

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 20 Jan 2022

The IRB is holding a consultation on proposed changes to the disciplinary framework in 2022.

The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) has started a consultation process on its proposed changes to the ICAEW’s disciplinary framework that it has planned for 2022.

The documents that are subject to the consultation are the product of a two-year project to update and simplify the current disciplinary scheme so it is more accessible for its users. The project also aimed to separate the obligations and duties of ICAEW members, affiliates, students and firms from provisions that set out the processes they should follow. The IRB wants to make improvements to aspects of the current process to ensure that it works more effectively and efficiently, while continuing to operate in the public interest.

The consultation process will be carried out in two stages. The first phase focuses on proposed changes to ICAEW’s disciplinary framework, such as changes to the Disciplinary Bye-laws (DBLs) and the introduction of the Investigation and Disciplinary Regulations. This stage is open from now until 15 March 2022. The second stage will follow once this consultation is completed.

While the project has involved a rewrite of several existing provisions to make them clearer and more accessible than their current formal/legalistic wording, the IRB determined that there was no reason to make any substantive alterations to the main cornerstones of the current disciplinary scheme.

For example, most complaints will still be considered initially on the papers by the Investigation Committee (to be renamed the Conduct Committee). All safeguards to protect the public interest will remain in place. The Conduct Committee will still be able to offer consent orders to members/firms to dispose of complaints in appropriate cases, and will still be obliged to refer more serious complaints to the Disciplinary Committee for hearing by a disciplinary tribunal.

The changes now being proposed to the structure of the disciplinary framework will allow the IRB to be much more agile in the future. This will ensure ICAEW’s disciplinary procedures keep up with changes in the fast-moving regulatory environment.

The consultation is open from 19 January 2022 to 15 March 2022. Once the consultation is closed, the IRB will consider all feedback and make any resulting changes as appropriate.

ICAEW will publish its response to the consultation on icaew.com/regulatoryconsultations later in 2022. Individual responses to the consultation will now be published.

Consultation respondents are asked to consider three questions:

  1. Do you agree with the proposed structural changes to the ICAEW disciplinary framework outlined in this consultation?
  2. Do you have any specific feedback or concerns regarding the changes in processes outlined in this consultation?
  3. We do not believe the proposed changes will result in a worse outcome or quality of service for anyone due to their background or life circumstances. Please tell us if you think your firm or any of your clients will be adversely impacted by the proposals due to a protected characteristic (such as age, disability or race) or due to your individual practising arrangements?

Members read more on the changes here. If you wish to discuss any aspect of the consultation or need advice on how to respond to the consultation, please contact claire.phillips@icaew.com

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