PracticeConsultingHuman rights law forces codes rethink

Human rights law forces codes rethink

The introduction of the Human Rights Act has forced two of the five main accountancy institutes to change their codes of practice - while another two are reviewing their codes.

Of the main institutes, ACCA and CIPFA have changed their codes, while ICAS and the ICAEW are in the middle of reviews. Only CIMA has not had to make any changes following the introduction of the new Act.

Institutes are having to check their ethical guidelines after the legislation was launched last October, to ensure they comply.

Changes to ACCA’s code, for example, included the removal of a rule which stated that all council members must ‘refrain from making public pronouncements which are at a variance with council’s formal position even where that position may differ from their individual views.’

ACCA conducted a ‘major review’ of its code at an estimated cost of £1,500, and made the changes despite claiming it came under no pressure to do so.

Anthea Rose, ACCA chief executive, said: ‘It was arguable whether we needed to change our code or whether we would have complied with the requirements of the Human Rights Act, but we decided to be super careful.’

ICAS has revealed that it is currently in consultation on its ethical guides to members and council members, while the ICAEW is also looking at its guidelines.A spokesman for CIMA said its codes were up to date and no changes had been required.

CIPFA policy director Vernon Soare, added: ‘We recently revised our ethics standard, and are currently revising our other existing standards.’

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