L:eader – Justice is in all our interests

Sometimes there is a hair’s breadth between breaking the rules and being seen to play by them. Ask Peter Mandelson.

Or for that matter Robert Jackson, the ACCA council member foundnd being seen to play by them. Ask Peter Mandelson. guilty of professional misconduct for backdating Norwich Union policy applications.

In a strong defence, Jackson and his co-defendants maintained that Norwich Union had appeared to condone backdating by agreeing to accept ‘pipeline’ cases for three days after it froze its membership.

That argument carried no weight with ACCA’s disciplinary committee.

It was interested in upholding the association’s reputation. And rightly so. It is a rare and courageous thing for a professional association to take on one of its most senior members.

But ACCA had little real choice. It is itself subject to Financial Services Authority supervision. More to the point, if so senior a member had been seen to ‘get away with it’, the standing of the association and each of its members would have been damaged.

That said, Jackson’s cannot be a show trial. If other members were backdating applications, they must be investigated.

From the government to the Olympic committee, organisations worldwide are learning that appearance is as important as practice. ACCA’s position should be welcomed. Let’s hope all institutes will demonstrate the same willingness to take action against one of their members for the benefit of all of their members.

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