PracticeAccounting FirmsNo statutory powers for investigative bodies

No statutory powers for investigative bodies

Accountancy investigation boards seem certain to miss out on having new statutory powers included in the companies bill currently making its way through parliament.

Link: ICAS considers u-turn on joining disciplinary body

Both ICAS and the Accountancy Investigations and Discipline Board (AIDB) have been lobbying the government separately for the statutory powers to require non-members to attend disciplinary hearings, but have so far drawn a blank.

ICAS director of legal services Tom McMorrow said that the institute would probably reconsider its position on not joining the AIDB if such powers were given. However, these hopes have faded for now after the DTI almost ruled out the possibility.

‘We have considered carefully the question of whether to give the AIDB a right to ask the courts to compel witnesses to attend hearings or provide evidence in relation to disciplinary matters,’ said a DTI spokeswoman.

‘We have written to ICAS in the past explaining why we felt the proposed widening of their powers beyond their own members was not something we could accept. Our primary policy concern is to ensure that both auditors and the AIDB have the information to do their jobs effectively. In the case of auditors, the existing laws give auditors the powers to require officers of a company to provide the information that is necessary for the performance of their duties.’

McMorrow said that ICAS would continue to plough its own furrow on the matter, but was not getting much response from the DTI.

‘It would be helpful if we could have even informal discussions with the DTI on this,’ he said.

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