Section 1215: Effect of lack of independence
1550. This section sets out the consequences of the prohibition from acting as a statutory auditor on grounds of lack of independence, as defined in section 1214. They replicate the effect of ineligibility as explained for section 1213.
Section 1216: Effect of appointment of a partnership
1551. This section is a restatement of section 26 of the 1989 Act. The effect of the section is to ensure that when a partnership constituted in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, or any other country or territory in which a partnership is not a legal person, is appointed as a statutory auditor under this Part, the appointment may continue even if a partner leaves the partnership. For a partnership or other person to be considered as appropriate for the appointment to continue, they must be eligible for appointment as a statutory auditor and not be prohibited (as indicated in section 1214(1)). Without this provision, the appointment would cease every time the membership of the partnership changed.
Section 1217: Supervisory bodies
1552. This section restates section 30 of the 1989 Act and defines a supervisory body as a body established in the UK which maintains and enforces rules regarding the eligibility of persons appointed as statutory auditors and the conduct of statutory audit work. Subsection (4) introduces Schedule 10, which specifies the requirements supervisory bodies must meet in order to be recognised, and the process for doing so.
Schedule 10: Recognised supervisory bodies
Part 1: Grant and Revocation of recognition of a Supervisory Body
1553. This Schedule restates provisions in Schedule 11 to the 1989 Act. Paragraph 1 identifies the steps a body is required to take to become recognised by the Secretary of State. Paragraph 3 specifies the steps that the Secretary of State is required to take if the recognition of the body is revoked. Paragraph 5 provides that recognition (and revocation) orders are not statutory instruments. Paragraph 4 is a transitional provision that allows bodies recognised under the 1989 Act or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 to continue to be recognised.
Part 2: Requirements for recognition of a supervisory body
1554. Paragraphs 6 and 7 require a recognised supervisory body to ensure that persons eligible for appointment as a statutory auditor hold appropriate qualifications (as defined in section 1219). They require a firm that is a statutory auditor to be controlled by qualified persons. Paragraphs 8 to 11 require the bodies to have rules and practices which ensure that auditors are fit and proper persons, that professional integrity and independence is maintained, that technical standards for audits are assured and that there are procedures for maintaining appropriate levels of competence. Paragraphs 12 to 16 specify the requirements for monitoring, enforcement, discipline and investigation of complaints.
Part 3: Arrangements in which recognised supervisory bodies are required to participate
1555. Paragraphs 21 to 27 specify the arrangements with independent bodies that recognised supervisory bodies must enter into in order to meet the requirements of this Schedule described above.
Section 1218: Exemption from liability for damages
1556. This section is a restatement of section 48 of the 1989 Act. It sets out those bodies and individuals that are exempt from liability for damages arising from the discharge or claimed discharge of supervisory functions as specified in this Part of the Act (these include the effects of rules, practices, powers and arrangements of the body). It applies to recognised supervisory bodies (see sections 1217 and Schedule 10) and their officers, employees and members of their governing bodies. The exemption does not apply if they have acted in bad faith, or if it would prevent an award of damages because the act was unlawful under the Human Rights Act.
Section 1219: Appropriate qualifications
1557. This section restates section 31 of the 1989 Act. It provides that a person holds an appropriate audit qualification if he holds a professional qualification obtained in the UK which is recognised in accordance with section 1220 and Schedule 11. Qualifications recognised under Part 2 of the 1989 Act or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 will continue to be recognised.
1558. Persons whose qualifications from other EU Member States are recognised under the European Communities (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) (First General System) Regulations 2005 to practise as statutory auditors are also considered to hold an appropriate qualification. So too are overseas qualifications from non-EU countries if approved under section 1221. Subsection (2) restates a transitional provision from the 1989 Act for those persons who began a course of study in accountancy before 1 January 1990 and obtained a qualification between 1 January 1990 and 1 January 1996, enabling them to apply to the Secretary of State for approval of their qualification. The transitional provisions contained in section 31(2) and (3) of the 1989 Act have not been restated.
Section 1220: Qualifying bodies and recognised professional qualifications
1559. This section is a restatement of section 32 of the 1989 Act. It defines the term “qualifying body” as a body that offers a professional qualification in accountancy and introduces Schedule 11 which sets out the requirements that qualifying bodies must impose. Only a qualification recognised in accordance with these provisions can be considered a recognised professional qualification within the meaning of section 1219(1)(a).
Schedule 11: Recognised Professional Qualifications
Part 1: Grant and revocation of recognition of a professional qualification
Paragraph 1: Application for recognition of professional qualification
1560. This Schedule restates provisions in Schedule 12 to the 1989 Act. Paragraph 1 identifies the steps a body is required to take for a qualification it offers to be recognised by the Secretary of State. Paragraph 3 specifies the steps that the Secretary of State is required to take if the recognition is revoked. Paragraph 5 provides that recognition (and revocation) orders are not statutory instruments. Paragraph 4 is a transitional provision that allows qualifications recognised under the 1989 Act or the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 to continue to be recognised.
Part 2: Requirements for recognition of a professional qualification
1561. Paragraph 6 sets the minimum academic standards that a person must have attained before he can attempt to gain the professional qualification. Paragraph 7 requires that the qualification is restricted to persons who have either completed a relevant academic course or have seven years’ professional experience. Paragraph 8 requires that an examination must be passed (part of which has to be in writing) for the person to achieve the qualification. This examination must be in subjects of theoretical knowledge prescribed by the Secretary of State; or a university or equivalent level examination; or by practical demonstration of knowledge to examination or diploma level that is recognised by the Secretary of State. Paragraph 9 requires persons to carry out at least three years’ practical training.
Section 1221: Approval of overseas qualifications
1562. This section restates section 33 of the 1989 Act as regards the approval of overseas qualifications from non-EU countries. It sets out the conditions that will need to be satisfied, relating to the assurance of professional competence. The section provides for approval of all those in a specified country who are qualified to audit accounts, or only those who hold specified qualifications in that country. In the case of the latter, the Secretary of State may specify any additional requirements to be satisfied. The section allows the Secretary of State to recognise an overseas qualification only if there is comparability of treatment of UK qualifications in the country in question.