Engineers and Geoscientists BC recently completed an external audit of its legislation and governance functions, undertaken by the UK’s Professional Standards Authority, an internationally-renowned authority on standards of professional regulation. The review was initiated by Engineers and Geoscientists BC in September 2017 as part of its commitment to continuous improvement in delivering on its mandate of protecting the public interest.
The review assessed the association’s governing legislation, bylaws and related policies and procedures to determine the effectiveness of its legislative framework, and also benchmarked the association’s performance against nine standards of good regulation. The Authority’s review process included an extensive documentation review, observation of Council and committee meetings, and interviews with members of Council and senior staff.
With respect to the assessment of the Act, bylaws, policies, and procedures, the Authority concluded that Engineers and Geoscientists BC is committed to regulating the professions in the public interest, and commended the association for its efforts to modernize its legislation. However, the report also makes a number of recommendations to further improve the legal framework that relate to:
- Improving the legislative framework to improve agility and responsiveness;
- Adjusting Council size and composition, including that the organization consider increasing the number of appointed Council members as well as potentially reducing the size of Council; and
- Increasing the number of public appointees on the Investigation and Discipline committees, improving continuity on Council, and evaluating Council roles on operational committees and task forces.
The review found that Engineers and Geoscientists BC is meeting seven of the nine Standards of Good Regulation against which it had been measured, including effective financial controls, strategic objectives, commitment to transparency, engagement with the public, effective management oversight, and Council effectiveness.
It recommended improvements in two areas related to risk management, and having a legislative framework in place that will enable decisions to be made transparently and in the interests of the public. Efforts are already underway to address risk management for the association, and Engineers and Geoscientists BC expects to fully meet this standard within 6 months.
With respect to having an effective and agile legislative framework, Engineers and Geoscientists BC tabled nine requests for changes to its governing legislation with government in 2015; if and when those amendments are granted, it will be able to fully meet this standard.
The association anticipates initiating a second phase of this review, which will be focused on its operational performance, in the future.