The task force's initial conclusions aim to set out guidance for good practice in self-regulation as state regulation is recognised as often expensive and inflexible. Economist Pamela Meadows, a member of the task force, said the new independent regulatory regime for the accountancy profession sought to strike a balance between public accountability and consumer confidence. It is headed by Lord Borrie, former director general of the Office of Fair Trading.'This is something the accountancy profession is currently addressing,' she said.Meadows said the profession, which is represented on the Task Force, was 'bringing to bear its expertise' to self-regulation.Chairman Lord Haskins said: 'Self-regulation is used in one way or another across a wide range of activities, from medicine, accountancy and the law to advertising, house building and most sports.'He said people only became aware of self-regulation when something goes wrong, as in the misuse of the Mirror pension funds.He added: 'When self-regulation fails, it is tempting to call for a statutory alternative. But mostly it is better to assess the failure and apply pressure with a view to improving the quality both of the self-regulatory rules and their enforcement.'The report draws attention to both the advantages and disadvantages of self-regulation, highlighting the potential for consumer confusion when self-regulatory regimes do not cover all those working within the trade.There are also dangers of professions putting self-interest ahead of the public interest, which could result in anti-competitive behaviour.However, says the report, 'self regulation can generate a sense of ownership and may secure higher levels of compliance'.The task force's terms of reference include improving government legislation by ensuring it is necessary, fair and affordable and simple to administer.
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