The Professional Standards Councils have published their combined 2020/21 Annual Report. The annual report is a consolidated volume of the Councils’ achievements and performanceover the pastfinancial year, in regulating for improved standards and better consumer protection in the delivery of professional services across Australia.
The data shows over 86,000 professionals now participate as members of 17 occupational and professional associations, representing greater consumer protection. A 4.7% increasein participation has been achieved during the year due to improved compliance of associations in the operation of professional standards schemes.
The Professional Standards Councils also:
✓ Approved three new schemes for associations, including two inaugural schemesin the built environment sector for the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and Strata Community Association (NSW).
✓ Encouraged associations to engage in root cause analysis, resulting in 71% of associations undertaking it with 83% incorporating elements into their risk management strategies.
✓ Endorsed a new scheme application framework to begin its pilot phase, with a high degree of user acceptance during the initial testing phases.
✓ Approved their first Memorandum of Understanding with a peer regulator. The Memorandum of Understanding with the Tax Practitioner’s Board reflects a partnership approach to creating opportunities to share insights and to work with professional associations in a flexible and streamlined way that enhances community confidence in tax professionals.
✓ Delivered two Professional Standards Forums:
• ‘Putting the consumer first in ethics’ withworkshops on regulating for ethical conduct using behavioural insights.
• ‘Trust and confidence: responding to community expectations’ withworkshops with real-life case studies on engaging the community and consumers.
Professional Standards Councils’ Chair, John Vines OAM, said, “We continue to encourage and assist a broad range of occupational associations committed to developing their regulatory capacity by operating approved professional standards schemes.This supports professional standards for their members that are responsive to consumer expectations. A scheme sets an association apart in its commitment and work to ensure its members are recognised for their competent and ethical conduct. A scheme supports high standardsin providing services and ensures avenues of resolution and redress are available to consumers. It is a significant undertaking that supports and enhances professionalism and better outcomes for consumers.”