APB may become independent

Trade minister Ian McCartney told Labour MP Austin Mitchell the DTI favoured making the APB independent of its sponsors. A DTI spokesman said the APB’s future is tied to the review of self-regulation promised in Labour’s business manifesto.

Under proposals drawn up by English ICA vice-president Chris Swinson, the APB would be one of four wings overseen by the Review Board, a new body controlled by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, which is owned by the six professional bodies operating in the UK and Ireland.

Swinson’s proposals are due to be submitted to the DTI by Easter, its spokesman said.

CIMA proposed moving the APB from CCAB control to the Financial Reporting Council, where it would operate alongside the Accounting Standards Board.

Jon Grant, the APB’s technical director, said the board recognised the need for independence and would accept either the Review Board or the FRC proposal.

Mitchell, who this week published a paper on the public accountability of auditors with fellow Labour MP Jim Cousins and professors Hugh Wilmott and Prem Sikka, said he was willing to accept the APB’s transfer to the FRC, as long as it was accompanied by full public accountability.

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