• David Cane

REGULATORS AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST



Pretty much any regulator of professional practice will tell you that their mandate from government is to serve and protect the public interest.


But what is the public interest?


Is it not to ensure that those members of the public served by the profession receive high quality professional services?


Or is it to ensure that public complaints of poor or inappropriate service provision are effectively addressed? Certainly regulators spend a high proportion of their annual budgets on complaint adjudication, investigation and discipline. However complaints, investigation and discipline impact a relatively tiny proportion portion of the public the profession serves, and a similarly tiny proportion of the registrant body.


Indeed the regulator has, in actuality, effectively no contact with the majority of the public the profession serves. It’s the registrants who have that contact, just as it is the registrants who deliver the professional services that the regulator seeks to control.


I suggest this is yet another example of how so many of our regulators spend the majority of their resources on the problem-causing minority of their members.


Would not regulators better serve the public by investing more in ways to support their registrants be the best they can be in addition to focusing, as they do, on maintaining minimum standards and handling complaints?

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