ACCA's controllers are so busy building their empires that they have no regard for any good standards of governance.

In recent years, ACCA has engaged in racist conduct and has even had to apologize to UK law makers for misleading the courts (click here). Its council election results are rigged. Officeholders cast thousands of votes without any accountability. Its leadership is not directly elected by members. The chief executive is not elected and members can't vote on his/her salary. The number of directors have mushroomed and most members get nothing in return for their fees. Council meeting minutes are not available to members. The official magazine is a disgrace and loses nearly £1.2 million each year.

ACCA AGMs are a sham.  Members ask questions but are rarely answered. Officeholders spout a lot of rubbish but cannot be challenged by members because  "Any Other Business" is not allowed. From 2007, members can't even vote on subscription increases of less than 5% (double the current rate of inflation in the UK). ACCA is the only UK accountancy body ever to have been condemned in the UK House of Commons.

ACCA has advocated anti-social policies, such as opposition to the national minimum wage which lifts millions of workers out of poverty. It has also opposed the UK government clampdown on tax avoidance, which deprives millions of decent healthcare, education, pensions and general social infrastructure.

The unaccountable leadership is now set to open another sad chapter. It is to further emasculate council and thus strengthen the power of chief executive and and an inner clique. At the  council meeting on 3 March 2007, the leadership decided that no council member  can remain in council, even if elected by members, for a cumulative term of more than nine years. This amounts to age discrimination. The leadership's policy is incompatible with any UK law. There are no time limits on the duration that anyone can spend as an elected representative for the UK parliament, European parliament, local elections, trades union elections, political party elections or any other elections.  Individuals can stand for election as many times as they like. If the electorate likes them they are elected.  However, this will not happen at ACCA. even if members think that a council member is experienced, good and has done a great job s/he will not be allowed to stand for elections and represent members.

By promoting age discrimination, ACCA is also violating the Human Rights Act. Why is ACCA taking this course of action? There is long history of intolerance to anything critical. ACCA has been the private fiefdom of the unelected officials. AABA understands that some council members have been critical of the ACCA policy and direction. The value of ACCA qualification has been diluted in Hong Kong and China. ACCA is not making much headway in India. A rebellion is brewing in the Asia-Pacific region.  It has virtually no political influence in the UK. So some council members suggested that ACCA council should be reinvigorated by having free elections. That means the end of the 'delegated proxy vote' that enables officeholders to appoint their cronies to council. Some also want greater scrutiny of ACCA chief executive, policies and greater transparency and accountability. The cronies were not slow to notice that the critics were experienced council members. So they organized  a coup. The nine-year rule will certainly mean that most ACCA council members would be relatively inexperienced. That would further strengthen the power and position  of an inner clique and ACCA chief executive. Needless to say there will be no time limit on ACCA chief executive and various directors.

As always, ACCA's controllers will add a lot of spin to this issue. They will ask members to vote on the resolution but the outcome is a foregone conclusion because officeholders will cast thousands of vote to get their way. The 
usual ACCA response to any criticism is that the leadership has obtained  legal advice. But this legal advice is never shown to members or even council members. The cost of such legal opinions is never revealed in the annual accounts, which remain opaque as ever. ACCA previously dreamed up a 'Code of Conduct for Council Members' to silence critical voices. This was in direct contravention of the UK Human Rights Act and subsequently had to be revised.

ACCA members should vote again the resolution. They should also write to Privy Council (Privy Council Office, 2 Carlton Gardens, London SW1Y 5AA) to oppose the rule change.  They should campaign to end the 'delegate proxy voting system' which enables a small clique to treat ACCA as their private fiefdom.