Letter: Policing the professions

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The Independent Online
Sir: The attack by Carol Davies (Letters, 14 May) on the Law Society's ineffectual system of handling complaints against solicitors is to be applauded. Her criticisms apply equally to all the other professional bodies that continue to use self-regulation to maintain professional standards.

In the accountancy profession self-regulation has failed to prevent the series of major scandals that has hit leading firms of auditors, some of which face massive negligence claims from the aggrieved creditors of failed client companies. My own experience of raising complaints against auditors with the Institute of Chartered Accountants has revealed a reluctance to discipline members, even when it is accepted that they have a case to answer.

Any profession worthy of the name should have the confidence to hand over regulatory and disciplinary matters to independent assessors. Labour's business manifesto proposed to create a framework of independent regulation for accountancy. This proposal should be extended to all the other professions.

NIGEL WILKINS

London SW7

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