Conduct and Ethics

In this section, members of the public and Institute members and students will find the ethical and technical standards which apply to members and students.

If you believe that a member or student may have failed to properly uphold these standards then you can use the complaint form to bring the matter to the attention of the Institute’s Disciplinary Scheme. The scheme provides a process for complaints to be considered by independent regulatory committees and for disciplinary hearings to be held and sanctions imposed.

Details of the duty imposed on members and students to co-operate with the scheme, details of forthcoming hearings, past decisions and the role of the FRC accountancy scheme in regulating matters that affect the public interest also appear in this section.       

Standards of Professional Conduct

CIPFA members and registered students must comply with the Institute’s Charter and Bye-Laws. This includes a requirement to comply with the Institute’s ethical and technical standards, a duty to self-report (if a member or student becomes liable to regulatory action) and a duty to co-operate with the Institute. Bye-Law 23 identifies when a member becomes liable to action under the Institute’s Disciplinary Scheme.

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Our Standard of Professional Practice on Ethics (SOPP on Ethics) applies to all CIPFA members and registered students. 

The SOPP on Ethics (PDF, 570 KB) is based on the International Ethics Standards Board of Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics, which CIPFA adopts in full. The IESBA periodically updates its Code; CIPFA’s SOPP is current based on the 2011 version but will be fully updated with the most recent Code of Ethics by 2018, subject to the timetable of the ongoing IESBA restructuring project.

The Code is based on five principles. They are:

  1. Integrity
  2. Objectivity
  3. Professional competence and due care
  4. Confidentiality
  5. Professional behaviours.

The Code is split into three sections:

  • Part A - applies to all CIPFA members
  • Part B – accountants employed in practice; for CIPFA members this includes members who are employed in the national audit agencies and framework contract firms
  • Part C – accountants in business, which includes members employed in public sector organisations, charities and in industry.

CIPFA has produced guidance to the SoPP on Ethics to assist members and students in the practical application of the requirements of the ethical standard. This was updated in July 2017.

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CIPFA takes complaints about the professional conduct of current and former members and registered students seriously and, when appropriate, takes matters forward in accordance with the Disciplinary Regulations. CIPFA provides a complaint form and guidance for those who are contemplating making or have made a complaint. A range of guidance documents are available for those who employ members or registered student, for members or registered students who are or may become the subject of a complaint and for those who may be witnesses in regulatory proceedings.

Guides for those making a complaint
Complaint form
Guidance - for employers, those the subject of complaints and for witnesses (please can this link to a page with a range of guides on it – Guide for Employers, Members Guides to Investigations, Members Guide to Disciplinary and Appeal Committee hearings).
Disciplinary Regulations

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Regulatory Decisions and Hearings

CIPFA’s disciplinary hearings are generally held in public, although they may exceptionally be held in private once a committee has considered the issues and announced publicly the reasons for a private hearing. Details relating to public hearings will normally be posted 14 days in advance of the hearing.

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