English ICA council members have blocked a proposal to open up the institute’s disciplinary hearings to the public.
The decision, taken at a behind-closed-doors council session last week, rejects one of the main recommendations of Michael Beloff, the barrister commissioned to carry out a review of the institute’s rules.
Beloff’s proposal was heavily defeated following a plea from Peter Mitchell, chairman of the Small Practitioners Association, who argued that existing disciplinary procedures had failed members and that to open up such an ‘unbalanced system’ to public scrutiny was premature.
The move came as discussions intensified over radical proposals to reduce the council from 90 to 50 members.
Reformers say the council should be cut in the interests of efficiency and more control over the institute’s day-to-day activities given to its executive and secretariat. But the proposal is likely to meet with objections – not least from council members who could find their positions disappearing.
A cut in size would also raise representation issues, but reformers argue that steps would be taken to ensure that a streamlined council would be as representative as possible.
The Big Question, page 4.
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