Discipline – Muted welcome for Beloff report

The English ICA’s ruling council has approved changes to its disciplinary rules, but critics say it has failed to tackle concerns arising from the lenient #1,000 fine imposed on ‘cash-for-questions’ ex-MP Tim Smith.

A closed council session considered the long-awaited review of the institute’s disciplinary rules by barrister Michael Beloff QC last week.

It backed Beloff’s proposals to introduce lighter fines for minor offences and to grant costs to those accused of offences but found innocent.

But the council looks set to reject proposals to hold disciplinary proceedings in public when it meets again to discuss the issue next month.

Beloff was asked to review proceedings last March, after chartered accountant Smith was fined #1,000, the maximum allowed under institute rules for non-expulsion offences committed before 1990.

Beloff did not recommend increasing this maximum.

One council member, who had called for the ceiling to be abolished, said: ‘This could have been an opportunity to put our house in order from a disciplinary viewpoint.’

The institute is expected to replace its General Practitioners Board and Board for Chartered Accountants in Business as part of its ‘strategy for the beginning of the 21st century’, to be announced next month.

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