The controllers of ACCA think that they need to be macho and tough and must silence all dissent. It is actually a sign of weakness. So the usual processes to silence current and potential council members are in full swing. All candidates for ACCA council elections have been sent a Code of Practice to sign. The Code has not been approved by members. Members were never consulted. There is no bye-law which says that candidates for Council elections must give a written undertaking to support it.
The Code violates the basic human rights which recognise that people's first duty is always to their conscience and tell the truth. The Code of Practice requires that all Council members must
"explain and support the policies formally adopted
by Council even
where these may differ from their individual views" (code 8(v).
"refrain from making public pronouncements which are at variance
with Council's formal position even where that position may differ
from their individual views" (Code 8(vi).
So there is no room for people's conscience. The essence of ethics
is always that people's conscience should always come before the rules
of any organization. Nazis hid behind their oaths.
Without dissenting voices, ACCA would not introduce the reforms which it has been forced to undertake (see other news items).
ACCA's Code of Conduct violates the UK's Human Rights Act 1998.
The Act states that
"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This rights shall
include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart
information and ideas without interference by public authorities and
regardless of frontiers" (Article 10).
In the above context "public authority" means a court or tribunal, any
person certain of whose functions are functions of a public nature (Section
6). It would be recalled that the Association is a regulator under the
Companies Act 1989 and the Insolvency Act 1986. It also enjoys special
privileges from the state (e.g. royal charter).
It should also be noted that in other organizations dissenters are not
silenced. They are permitted to append their views and opinions to official
documents. For example, the standards issued by the Financial Accounting
Standards Board (FASB) and the Accounting Standards Board (ASB) are often
accompanied by dissenting views. But the ACCA officials prefer to silence
It is understood that Prem Sikka has refused to sign the Code of Practice and has mentioned that fact in his amended election address (no doubt the officials will find a way of censoring it). Hopefully, more council members will do the same. This way ACCA council have independent minded people who will not shirk their responsibility of commuincating important matters to members and the general public.