Welcome to Highlights from the Councils’ 2021/22 Annual Report

“It is a pleasure to present this Annual Report on behalf of the Professional Standards Councils, outlining our work and achievements in 2021/22 and the outlook for 2022/23.”

John Vines OAM, Chair
Professional Standards Councils

John Vines OAM, Professional Standards Councils Chair

2021/22 Performance Highlights

Scheme Application Framework redesign

The new Scheme Application Framework utilises plain language and a clearer, modularised approach. It is designed to facilitate higher-quality occupational applications, enabling more efficient use of both associations’ and the Councils’ resources.

Professional Standards Forum

Delivered two online forums to over 130 delegates: ‘Continuing professional development in the regulation of professional standards’; and, ‘Responding to risk – insurance and improvement strategies’.

New resources

Delivered three new resources to assist occupational associations: a Guidance note on association Code of Ethics; a new Guidance note on use of data sources; and, a revised Guidance note on Fees payable and Assurance reporting.

Consumer protection in focus

To mark World Consumer Rights Day in March 2022, the Councils published two consumer facing infographics about professional standards schemes.

Evidence review on sexual harassment as a consumer harm

Published ‘Rapid Evidence Review: Professional Standards and Sexual Harassment’ to provide consumer-protection focused data and evidence and professional standards responses to sexual harassment in the legal profession.

Evidence on the benefits of schemes

Published an independent report, ‘The benefits of professional standards schemes – limitation of liability and consumer protection measures’, demonstrating the effectiveness of professional standards regulation in enhancing consumer protection through professional standards schemes.

Submissions to inquiries and reviews

Two submissions contributing expertise to inquiries and reform processes on aligning regulation, lifting professional standards, and building regulatory capacity to improve consumer protection.

Net Promoter Score

The Councils’ Net Promoter Score for Forums was 55. Scores above 50 are considered to be excellent.

Councils' Strategy 2021/22 Achievements

Strategic Goals & Initiatives

Make a practical and transparent change to Councils’ regulatory focus to enable schemes, including for occupational groups

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  • Implementation of the new Scheme Application Framework to make completing an application for a professional standards scheme easier and more accessible.
  • Engaged with the National Disability Insurance Scheme and associations to promote the role and benefits of the national professional standards regulatory system as a consumer protection solution.
  • Onboarded two new occupational associations in the built environment sector.
  • Continued introductory briefings for government agencies and occupational associations.
Strategic Goals & Initiatives

Drive improvements in professional standards for better consumer protection

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  • Delivered two Forums and published videos, a highlights reel, and resources to the Councils’ website.
  • Published a consumer-facing infographic on World Consumer Rights Day in March 2022.
  • Made submissions to reviews and inquiries on the role of professional standards schemes in developing regulatory capacity, lifting standards and enhancing consumer protection.
  • Conducted Professional Standards Improvement Program engagements with associations to provide individualised reporting feedback and to consult on reporting experience.
  • Invited to join Standards Australia to facilitate ongoing engagement and sharing of expertise in standard setting for better consumer protection.
Strategic Goals & Initiatives

Build an evidence base to demonstrate effectiveness

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  • Published an independent report demonstrating the effectiveness of professional standards schemes.
  • Shared research on addressing sexual harassment in the legal profession.
  • Developed a new Framework on acquiring, curating, and publishing material in the Research Library.
  • Shared the Councils’ insights on raising standards in the built environment sector as part of the Councils’ Australian Research Council Linkage Project Agreement.
Strategic Goals & Initiatives

Ensure the regulatory system is robust and protects consumers

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  • Increased consumer protection through greater participation in schemes from 86,000 to 93,163 practitioners – an increase of 7.8%.
  • Conducted workshops with occupational associations to assist in developing regulatory capacity and compliance, following approval of schemes.
  • Engaged with occupational associations on risk management and compliance with professional standards legislation.
  • Convened a legislative amendment working group relating to a proposal for amendments to professional standards legislation to improve the effectiveness of the national system and the achievement of consumer protection outcomes.
  • Inaugural Memorandum of Understanding with the Tax Practitioners Board.
Strategic Goals & Initiatives

Make the regulatory system easy to deal with

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  • Published Guidance notes to improve understanding.
  • Commenced on a revised Annual Professional Standards Report Template and Guidance to streamline annual reporting requirements.
  • Consulted on an exposure draft of guidance to assist occupational associations to understand how to build or review a code of ethics.
  • Published the first online Councils’ Annual Report, Annual Report microsite and financial statements in all states and territories.
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Read more in the Councils' 2021/22 Annual Report

Cover of Professional Standards Councils' 2021/22 Annual Report