No-Fault Divorce: A Step Forward for the LGBTQ Community
On 27 May 2022, the FRC published their key findings and good practices following audit quality inspections at the seven largest audit firms.
Their key findings ranged across thirty entities which were audited and across audit areas such:
The good practices focused on the key aspects of the audit process, namely:
On 25 April 2022, the FRC published its report identifying significant shortcomings in the quality of companies’ modern slavery reporting. One in ten companies do not provide a modern slavery statement despite it being a legal requirement. Where companies did comply, only one third of these statements were considered clear and easy to read.
Section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 requires businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to write an annual statement, setting out the steps that they are taking to address the risk of slavery in their operations and supply chains.
On 26 May 2022, the FCA published a discussion paper about the on-going overhaul of the branding and standards associated with companies listing in the UK. Currently companies have to choose between premium and standard listing segments; the plan is that only certain criteria must be met going forward, with listed companies choosing to opt in to further obligations.
Clare Cole, Director of Market Oversight at the FCA said:
‘The rules for companies who want to list here [London] have not changed since the 1980s. Now is a good time to have an open conversation to make sure our rules are fit for the future, so we have a more accessible, competitive and growing market that is attractive to a diverse range of companies.’
On 5 May 2022, the FCA launched its latest ScamSmart campaign aimed to educate investors against sophisticated scams.
New research from the FCA has found that nearly half (47%) of investors would fail to identify a screen sharing scam, as it reveals an increase of 86% in cases in one year, with 2,014 cases and over £25 million in loses.
On 12 May 2022, the GPhC Council agreed to implement changes to allow pharmacists to begin independent prescriber courses when they have the relevant experience.
Currently pharmacists have to spend at least two years on the register before enrolling on a course. They were also required to have previous experience in a specified clinical or therapeutic area.
To meet the new requirements, the following conditions have to be met:
The implementation date for the changes will be confirmed once the GPhC Council has approved the guidance for course providers.
On 12 May 2022, after a 12-week consultation, the GPhC Council has agreed to a change in its rules to give the regulator express legal powers to continue to hold hearings and meetings remotely.
On 10 May 2022 the NMC published its latest corporate plan setting out strategies for the next year. This comes half way through the NMC’s overarching corporate strategy for 2020-25.
The NMC stated that this latest plan will mark a shift away from focussing on the pandemic, and back to delivering their strategic plans. The key priorities highlighted in the plan include:
The corporate plan for 2022-23 can be found here.
This month the NMC is set to launch a public consultation on their English language requirements, and whether they should relax the same. The NMC currently accepts IELTS and OET English language tests.
The consultation will look into two things: their approach to English language tests; and whether they should accept alternative evidence to satisfy the English language requirement. In their announcement in May, the NMC listed the following examples of possible alternative evidence: employer references, evidence of unregulated work in a healthcare setting in the UK, and postgraduate qualifications taught and examined in English.
The consultation will run for eight weeks. Further information about the consultation is expected to be published by the NMC shortly.
On 4 April 2022 the HCPC announced that it will be launching its first Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) action plan.
The plan will set out the actions the HCPC will take in the next four years including new EDI objectives, with the aim of HCPC upholding and promoting best practice in EDI.
The EDI action plan was approved by HCPC’s Council in April. The HCPC is encouraging registrants to complete the diversity information and monitoring form on their online account to assist the HCPC in addressing the fairness and discrimination issues that impact registrants and service users.
On 23 May 2022, the SRA announced the next steps following a consultation on their approach to issuing financial penalties to law firms. Key considerations include:
Anna Bradley, SRA Chair confirmed, “In terms of both fines and fixed penalties, solicitors and firms would retain the right to appeal any outcome or penalty imposed at the SDT.”
On 28 April 2022, the SRA published their first ethnicity pay gap report showing the difference between mean and median hourly pay received by White staff and staff from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background. Unlike gender pay reports, there is no obligation currently to publish ethnicity pay gap data, however, law firms are being encouraged to follow suit.
Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive said:
‘Our data shows that we have a long way to go. Although we have good ethnic diversity in our workforce, we don’t when it comes to diversity in senior positions. That isn’t acceptable. […] In the coming months, we will develop an action plan and will start a programme of work to better understand the reasons behind the low representation of staff from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic background in senior positions, and what new measures we can take to address the problem.’
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