Making a complaint against an ICAS member
ICAS is committed to maintaining public confidence in the accountancy profession by promoting the highest professional and ethical standards. One way we achieve this is through regulation that is rigorous but fair.
ICAS will take disciplinary action where there is sufficient evidence of a failure to observe the standards expected of our Members.
How to make a complaint
ICAS will consider complaints against our Members, Affiliates and CA Student Members. In certain circumstances, we will also consider complaints against Firms.
With the exception of complaints against ICAS-licensed Insolvency Practitioners, complaints should be submitted using the Complaints form.
By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or In writing to:
The Head of Investigations
21 Haymarket Yards
Download: ICAS complaints form PDF [199 KB]
Information on the ICAS complaints process may be found in the following help sheets:
- General Complaints PDF [291 KB]
- Insolvency Complaints PDF [366 KB]
- Investigation Stage PDF [289 KB]
- Our Commitment to a Fair Investigation PDF [1,129 KB]
If you would like to speak to someone to discuss a potential complaint, please contact the Investigations Department on 0131-347-0271.
All complaints against Insolvency Practitioners operating in Great Britain must be submitted in the first instance to a single complaints gateway operated by the Insolvency Service, which is part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Insolvency Service may be contacted as follows:
Telephone: 0300-678-0015 (call charges may apply)
The Insolvency Service will review your complaint to ensure that it falls within the scope of complaints that the licensing bodies can consider. The Insolvency Service will contact you to confirm whether or not your complaint is being referred to the relevant licensing body. ICAS can only investigate insolvency-related complaints that are referred by the Insolvency Service. Further information can be found on the Insolvency Service's complaints gateway.
A further change is the introduction of common sanctions guidance for insolvency complaints. This is guidance that the ICAS Investigation Committee and Discipline Appeal Tribunals will have to take into consideration when determining an appropriate sanction against an Insolvency Practitioner. This guidance is available on the IP complaints gateway
For complaints which are determined from 1 January 2015 onwards, the Investigation Committee will make reference to its sanctions guidance when assessing the appropriate level of penalty. This document sets out the process which the Investigation Committee will follow when making a decision. It also includes guidance on the level of sanction which may be appropriate for certain offences; together with general information on orders and financial penalties. We recommend that this document is carefully considered if a complaint is referred to the Investigation Committee.
Download: ICAS Sanctions Guidance PDF [1,093 KB]
Public interest complaints
The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) acts as an independent disciplinary body for accountants, accountancy firms and actuaries in the UK in relation to public interest cases. The arrangements for the investigation and discipline of public interest complaints are governed by the FRC Disciplinary Scheme. ICAS is required to be part of the Scheme by virtue of the Companies Act 2006. Under the Scheme, a Participant Body that has a Member of Firm under investigation is responsible for the costs of the investigation and, if appropriate, the costs associated with the hearing of a formal complaint before a Discipline Tribunal.
Complaints to ICAS
Whilst every complainer has a right to have his concerns heard and considered, where a complaint is deemed by ICAS to be unjustified or speculative, or where the actions of the complainer are unacceptable then no further communications will be entered into with the complainer once the complaint has been closed. ICAS will not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour, or unreasonable demands. A record will be kept of unreasonable behaviour and the complainer will be advised in writing of the steps that ICAS is implementing, and of the reasons for adopting them. These may include refusing to take calls from the complainer and restricting contact to the exchange of letters.
We understand that complaints often arise because of an experience that the complainer has found frustrating, concerning or upsetting. Whilst every complainer is entitled to have his or her concerns heard and considered, ICAS will not tolerate abusive or aggressive behaviour towards members of staff. If we consider it necessary, we will restrict or terminate contact with any complainer who engages in threatening or abusive correspondence or who makes unreasonable demands on our staff.
Unfounded Vexatious Or Speculative Complaints
ICAS will consider all matters that are referred to it and it will take account of the rights and interests of all relevant parties.
ICAS will dismiss complaints which we consider to be:
- Vexatious: a complaint which we believe has been made with the intention of causing annoyance, worry or trouble for the Member, CA Student Member, Affiliate or Firm complained about
- Frivolous: a complaint which we believe is of a trivial nature, or where an investigation of the complaint would be out of all proportion to the seriousness of the issues complained about.
Financial Issues Sub-Committee
At the onset of the financial crisis, ICAS established a Financial Issues Sub-Committee to undertake initial assessments of complaints or concerns arising from the conduct or competence of Members and Firms engaged in the banking and financial services sectors.
The Sub-Committee is comprised of CA and public interest members of the Investigation Committee and meets regularly to discuss emerging issues. Where there are clear and substantiated grounds to indicate a breach of rules, regulations, professional or ethical standards, the Sub-Committee will ensure there is a formal investigation to assess whether a Member or Firm is liable to disciplinary action.