On the 15 December 2010 the Disciplinary Committee of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (“CIPFA”) heard allegations against Mr Alan Flockton.
Mr Flockton did not attend the Disciplinary Committee hearing and was not represented in his absence. He had previously communicated with CIPFA about the issues concerned in his case and these communications were considered by the Disciplinary Committee.
The facts in this case concern Mr Flockton’s failure to participate in CIPFA’s mandatory Continuing Professional Development Scheme for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Although CIPFA had initially operated a voluntary CPD Scheme, participation in its CPD Scheme later became a mandatory requirement for all of its members in accordance with CIPFA’s Standard of Professional Practice for CPD and Guidelines for CPD.
CIPFA introduced its mandatory CPD Scheme in 2003 – with member participation being phased in from January 2005 to January 2007. Any member not registered onto the mandatory CPD Scheme (“the CPD Scheme”) by December 2007 was deemed registered from that date.
Guidance about the CPD Scheme, including how to register onto it, participate in it and confirm participation, was available to members from 2004 onwards. In essence, the CPD Scheme required members to (i) undertake 120 hours of CPD activity over a three year period with a minimum of 20 hours of verifiable activities within any one year and (ii) to confirm participation on an annual basis.
Members were able to seek exemption from participation, suspension of the requirement to participate or a reduction in the hours required to comply with the Scheme in defined circumstances (e.g. retirement, career break etc). Each application received by CIPFA was considered on an individual basis and was subject to annual review.
Mr Flockton was required to participate in the CPD Scheme from January 2006. His position and the requirement for him to participate were advised to him by CIPFA. When it later became clear that Mr Flockton was not in employment, CIPFA advised him of his right, if he so wished, to apply for an exemption and of how he might reduce the required number of hours.
Mr Flockton failed to participate in the CPD Scheme for the years 2006 and 2007.
Despite extensive correspondence between Mr Flockton and the Institute between 2008 and 2010 - the Institute seeking to encourage him to participate – Mr Flockton also failed to participate in the CPD Scheme for the years 2008 and 2009.
Mr Flockton did not apply for exemption from the Scheme, for his participation to be suspended or for a reduction in the number of hours he was required to undertake, even though the means of doing so were set out in the guidance and had been explained to him.
In various communications with CIPFA Mr Flockton indicated his intention not to participate in the CPD Scheme and he returned standard forms indicating that he was not participating in the scheme. He used rude language on occasion in his communications and referred to CPD as being completely pointless.
BREACH OF PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
By not participating in the CPD Scheme Mr Flockton was found to be in breach of CIPFA Bye-Law 23(b) - in that he had failed to comply with the requirements of the Standard of Professional Practice for CPD.
Mr Flockton was also found to be in breach of CIPFA Bye-Law 23(c) - in that he had prejudicially affected the status, reputation and welfare of the Institute. Mr Flockton’s failure and unwillingness to undertake mandatory CPD undermined the respect of the public and fellow professionals for the Institute which sought to maintain its reputation, and the reputation of the accountancy profession, by regulating its members in accordance with ethical, technical and professional standards designed to maintain public confidence in the profession.
By his actions, Mr Flockton was also found to be in breach of Bye-Law 23(d). He had acted in manner likely to bring discredit on himself, the Institute and the profession of accountancy by both his demonstrated deliberate intention not to comply with the requirements of the Standard of Professional Practice for CPD and by conducting himself - both in his actions and the words he used - in a manner which was unacceptable, unprofessional and extremely rude. Whilst he may have disagreed with the concept of CPD the manner in which he did so was discreditable.
SANCTION AND RELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS
The Disciplinary Committee determined to expel Mr Flockton from the Institute. It took into account that Mr Flockton did not agree with CPD (which CIPFA regarded as essential), that he showed a blatant disregard for the processes of the Institute and that his attitude remained unchanged - even when provided with an opportunity to reflect on his actions before the Disciplinary Committee. His actions were a serious breach of the Bye-Laws that caused serious harm to the Institute and he showed no genuine insight or remorse which demonstrated a fundamental incompatibility with membership of the Institute.
Contact: Lindsay Machin / Chloe Forbes
CIPFA Press Office
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CIPFA, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, is the professional body for people in public finance. Our 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world’s only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA’s portfolio of qualifications are the foundation for a career in public finance. They include the benchmark professional qualification for public sector accountants as well as a postgraduate diploma for people already working in leadership positions. They are taught by our in-house CIPFA Education and Training Centre as well as other places of learning around the world. We also champion high performance in public services, translating our experience and insight into clear advice and practical services. They include information and guidance, courses and conferences, property and asset management solutions, consultancy and interim people for a range of public sector clients. Globally, CIPFA shows the way in public finance by standing up for sound public financial management and good governance. We work with donors, partner governments, accountancy bodies and the public sector around the world to advance public finance and support better public services. This includes the development of local professional qualifications in African countries like Lesotho and Nigeria and in Europe in post conflict states in the Balkans.