PracticeConsultingHold up for new watchdog.

Hold up for new watchdog.

Profession's new independent regulator is up to a year behind

Leading figures have admitted the new independent regulatory regime for the profession may not be up-and-running until the end of the year. Delays in its formation could put its implementation 12 months behind schedule, prolonging job insecurity for staff at the bodies it is meant to replace, and further holding up the introduction of the first-ever independent watchdog for UK accountants. The delays have been blamed on indecision over funding and constitutional policy. The planned date for the new regulator to be operational was 1 January 2000. But leading figures this week admitted the Foundation, as the new overseeing body is called, and its four subsidiary boards is not likely to be functional until at least the end of the summer, or possibly the end of the year. John Collier, secretary of the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, said: ‘We are pressing ahead, but it is taking longer than previously thought.’ The government and six major accountancy bodies agreed arrangements in April 1999 for an independent regulatory regime for the profession, bringing to an end decades of self-regulation. Lord Gordon Borrie QC was appointed to head the Foundation which will comprise 60% non-accountants. It will control a redesigned Auditing Practices Board, a new Ethics Board and a reshaped Independent Disciplinary Board, and itself be regulated by a new Review Board watchdog, to be headed by Sir John Bourn. Lord Borrie this week told Accountancy Age the original deadline was over-optimistic and said the autumn was more realistic. But he said he had felt no pressure from the profession to get the framework operational. But APB chairman Ian Plaistowe said: ‘Progress has been slow. We have wanted a fully independent APB for some time now.’ The APB is still located at the headquarters of the English ICA. michelle_perry@vnu.co.uk More on Borrie: www.accountancyage.com/business/102066.

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