On 1 June 2023, revisions to ICAEW's disciplinary framework came into effect.
The updated disciplinary framework clarifies processes and improves overall transparency and accessibility. The new framework provides greater efficiency by improving the speed of investigations and disciplinary proceedings. We have also taken the opportunity to update the Appeal and Fitness to Practise Regulations with the same aims.
Importantly, the core aspects of the existing disciplinary framework and fitness regulations and processes have been maintained, while the new framework is simpler and easier to understand for all parties, including complainants and interested third parties.
Why is a new framework being introduced?
During recent years, ICAEW has made significant changes to its disciplinary arrangements for members, other regulated individuals and firms to improve consumer protection and access to justice.
- the introduction of a fitness to practise process;
- a fixed penalty process for more minor compliance-type issues;
- a fast-track process for serious criminal conviction complaints; and
- provision for settlement orders and interim orders.
These changes have been introduced through a series of incremental amendments to the existing DBLs (pre June 2023).
The ICAEW Regulatory Board (IRB) was concerned that these changes had resulted in the DBLs becoming overly complex and difficult to navigate.
The IRB was also concerned that some of the language used in the DBLs was overly legalistic, and that the governance requirements for changes to bye-laws under ICAEW's constitution meant that procedural changes could not be implemented swiftly if issues and/or gaps were identified in the process.
Consequently, in 2020, the IRB resolved that the disciplinary and fitness to practise framework should be simplified and re-drafted generally to make it more accessible to users – whether they be individuals or firms who are subject to the DBLs, their representatives, complainants, ICAEW committee members or Professional Conduct Department staff.
Following a lengthy consultation and approvals process, the changes came into effect on 1 June 2023.
Disciplinary cases begun before 1 June 2023
The new disciplinary framework launched on 1 June 2023. However, if a matter was part-way through our disciplinary process at that point, it will continue in accordance with the old framework until such time that it reaches a significant step in that process. Those significant steps are:
- All matters in assessment / investigation or before the Conduct Committee are now subject to the procedure set out in the bye-laws and regulations in force at the commencement of the assessment;
- All matters before the Tribunals Committee are now subject to the procedure set out in the bye-laws and regulations in force at the time that the matter was referred to the Tribunal;
- All matters before the Appeal Committee are now subject to the procedure set out in the bye-laws and regulations in force at the time that the matter was referred to the Appeal Panel, save where the period for appeal commences before, but expires on or after, 1 June 2023 and the notice of appeal is filed within that period.
All parties involved in current cases were written to ahead of 1 June 2023. Please look out for the letter and then contact the case manager if you would like further information.
Changes to other regulations
Small consequential changes to incorporate new terminology, committee names and references to the old DBLs are being made to other regulations and guidance. The updated regulations will be published in the next few weeks. Some regulations will become obsolete as they will be incorporated into the new IDRs.
Learn more about our independent regulatory and disciplinary committees.