After months of research by the Review Board, the industry’s new oversight board recommends that all six UK and Irish institutes make far reaching changes to ‘bring consistency to the standards and outcome of the bodies’ procedures, whilst allowing the processes through which these are achieved to remain independent’.
The report says institutes should hold disciplinary hearings in public and place greater emphasis on ‘speedy resolution’ of complaints, among other recommendations.
Accountancy firms should also start using letters of engagement for all types of business and have formal complaints handling procedures in place. Letters of engagement are mandatory only for investment business, but all six institutes recommend them as best practice.
In total 75 recommendations have been made, some of which highlighted as higher priority than others.
Sir John Bourn, chairman of the Review Board, said: ‘the Review Board’s role is to provide rigorous external oversight of the regulatory activities of the accountancy bodies. Whilst we found much to commend in the current disciplinary arrangements, our report makes a number of recommendations for improvement which will strengthen the system and enhance protection of the public interest.’
The Board has also suggested establishing an ombudsman for the industry and individual compensation schemes for complainants in each of the bodies.
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