ICAEW rules fudge sparks bitter complaint

A SPAT has blown up between the ICAEW and ex-council member Alan Livesey over rules fudging at the recent elections.

Council composition has shifted to reflect the institute’s growing international membership, resulting in the number of reps from UK constituencies being slashed, with Scotland – formerly represented by Alan Livesey – losing one of its two council members.

Carl Bayley has been left to hold the Caledonian fort, and Livesey professed himself happy to make way for overseas members, although his subsequent complaints hint at the bitterness of the pill he’s swallowed down.

Technical errors meant the required period between voting and Tuesday’s AGM – constitutionally set at 14 days – was breached, forcing an emergency suspension of election rules.

This was approved by the majority of council members. Livesey argued they would not have been so accommodating if the breach had undermined potential candidates’ chances, saying: “There appears to be one set of rules for the masses and another, seemingly unchangeable set of rules for the institute.”

The institute held up its hands, blaming a delayed start to the multi-step election process, exacerbated by the long weekends in April. A spokesman said the “purely technical error did not affect the results”, insisting the voting remained free and fair.

Other complaints from Livesey focused on the nomination process and its impracticality for geographically diverse regions like Scotland. He gave a nod to overseas compatriots, saying the US and Australia would surely run into similar problems, but the tone of his complaint rang with the bitterness of a long-serving council member being forced to stand down.

The ICAEW may wish to take lessons from its globally-focused neighbour ACCA, the most international of the UK institutes. Head of policy Ian Welch said just under half of council members come from outside the UK, and their bi-annual meetings are frequently held abroad – most recently in Poland.

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