Protecting consumers by improving professional standards.
Scheme application modernisation

The Professional Standards Councils are responsible for facilitating consumer protection by enabling the creation of statutory professional standards schemes. We do this by approving and supervising schemes applied for by occupational associations on behalf of their members.

We are modernising the scheme application process and want to keep you informed of progress. More detail is available in the Scheme Application Redesign Project summary.

We have completed the first stage of the modernisation project

On 7 July 2020, the Scheme Application Redesign Project Steering Group approved the Discovery Stage Report and Design Plan.

Discovery is a process of collecting and analysing information to inform the project and help better define its intended objectives. As part of discovery, we engaged an independent consultant, PIRAC Economics, to carry out interviews with nominees from six associations who have current professional standards schemes or are considering applying to have a scheme approved, as well as with a consultant with experience of developing applications with a number of associations.

The interviews showed that associations are positive about the initiative to improve the application process and were keen to be further involved. Interviewees made a number of suggestions about how the new application could be improved, including how the application could be staged or segmented so that it can adapt to different sizes and types of association. Interviewees also suggested that the Professional Standards Authority and the Councils could hold the most comprehensive and up to date knowledge relevant to professional standards and to make it available to associations to assist their role in regulating their members.

We also undertook a good regulatory practice review, a workshop with users to understand expectations and needs, reviewed survey results from the last Professional Standards Improvement Program annual reporting cycle, and established a Reference Group to advise on the design and development of the new scheme application framework.

The Discovery Stage Report has been used to produce a Design Plan, which sets out the principles underlying the design stage and details how the different modules of the new application framework will be developed and approved.

We expect to work closely with associations and other stakeholders who have nominated to be involved in the design and development process through July and August 2020 to prepare the new modules for the scheme application template and guidelines.

What we have set out to achieve

The improvements we develop together will be aimed at making the application process:

  • Consumer oriented – with a strong focus on consumer protection through the improvement of occupational standards
  • Contemporary – by using digital technologies and making it easier to provide evidence to support an application
  • Certain – with simple and clear guidance on what information is required at the various stages of the application and how it will be used in analysing applications

Planned features of the new application design include:

  • Reporting – Alignment between the application and the Professional Standards Improvement Program reporting requirements to ensure consistency and efficiency
  • Scalable – Providing associations with an application process which is proportionate to their size and type
  • Modular – Enable associations to progress through the application process, completing modules sequentially and cumulatively
  • Measured – Providing the right guidance and assistance at the right time and in the most straightforward way
  • Data – Improved data gathering with better feedback from Councils on applications
  • Regulation – Helping associations to demonstrate in the best possible way how they are regulating their members to protect consumers and improve standards

We expect the new application process to be available from January 2021.

Let us know if you want to be involved – in small ways or big ways

Help shape the scheme application process by nominating for participation in interviews, focussed online workshops or by providing structured feedback on consultation documents. To get involved:

We also welcome your feedback and ideas on the application process at any time.

Further information

We will provide updates on the work we are doing to modernise the application process on this engagement webpage. 

For more information, please contact us on 02 8315 0800, 1300 555 772, by email at or by joining the RSS feed for this webpage.


Scheme Application Redesign Project - Reference Group Membership

Scheme Application Redesign Project - Reference Group Terms of Reference

Scheme Application Redesign Project summary

Current scheme application guideline and template

Link to Research Library

Stakeholder Engagement Framework