We're incorporated by Royal Charter, which sets out our objectives.
The Royal Charter requires us to promote the usefulness of the profession for the advantage of the UK public and in other parts of the world. In practice, the Charter means that important changes to our constitution — its byelaws — have to be ratified by UK Government, through the Privy Council, even after they’ve been approved by a majority of our members voting at a general meeting.
The continued demand for Royal Charters, which may seem an antiquated concept, shows that they retain their cachet in the modern professional world as a “gold standard” of excellence and integrity.
We are one of a number of professions operating under a self-regulation model, which means our members aren't regulated by government but are internally monitored and inspected. Our self-established standards of regulation meet, and in some cases surpass, the Government's own principles on better regulation.
Consumer protection and the development of the profession for public advantage are very much at our core. These are the reasons we have retained our Royal Charter status for well over a century. We are very proud of this position and recognise the responsibility placed upon us. This is why we are consistently working to ensure we set the standards for professional regulation, not just in the UK but around the world.
Introducing legislation to regulate a sector of industry which is already applying modern practices, regulating at arms-length and operating in a business-like manner, would be costly, time-consuming and unnecessary.
Legislation should only be applied if a self-regulation system is not working — if it is not transparent, proportional, accountable, consistent and targeted. These are the five principles of better regulation determined by the Better Regulation Commission, a division of the UK Cabinet Office, on which we base our own regulatory model.
Effective and efficient regulation of the sector is vital to the profession's success. While the government regularly reviews the approval it bestows on professional self-regulators, we aim to continuously demonstrate that we maintain a regulatory regime that is leading at the front and is fit for purpose.