When Phil Maude wrote to you with the results of the QI vote, he indicated that I would write after the next CPA committee meeting, to explain our next steps. The Committee met last Thursday, before the Reform Lecture.
I should first thank the large number of our members participating in the vote. I must also thank those who spent so much time preparing the proposals and the many members who have been fully involved in the debate. The debate has been lively and passionate at times, but the strength of the Association has been shown in the ability for such a polarising debate to occur without the Association developing fault lines, but remaining intact and, I believe, becoming stronger.
Now members have decided that an accreditation scheme is not how the CPA should fulfil is objective of promoting increasing expertise and skill in the practice areas for compulsory purchase, the Committee resolved to ask the working group looking at the topic to work with RICS and other professional bodies to achieve that objective. RICS is already looking at compulsory purchase practice. CPA will continue to support RICS in promoting best practice.
The committee has also agreed that we seek to meet with the other relevant professional bodies to investigate those bodies considering whether there is a need to promote practice standards for CPO specialists in their professions too.
You will shortly see new wording on our website to make it clear CPA is a member organisation of like-minded professionals; and that CPA membership shows nothing more than membership of one of the relevant professional bodies listed in our constitution. We accept membership applications from any professional belonging to a qualifying professional body. As we do not consider experience or expertise when accepting members, we believe it is only right that this is made clear to the public if they use our website to find a suitable professional to advise them.
The Reform Lecture
Over 100 delegates attended this year's reform lecture, brilliantly hosted for a second year by Berwin Leighton Paisner on 21 April. We were treated to an excellent paper by James Pereira QC on the Bishopsgate and Ramac decisions, as well as a discussion of the further reforms being proposed by Government, this being led by Colin Cottage and Phil Maude. The Reform Lecture is now well established as a thought leadership event for our practice area, well attended by all professions and representatives of the Upper Tribunal.
Reform - The Housing and Planning Bill
I can report that the reform working group continues to make the Association's views known to CLG on the Housing and Planning Bill. Huge thanks are due to the reform group (and in particular to Raj Gupta, Adrian Maher and Meyric Lewis who have put in a tremendous amount of effort for the Association).
Particular thanks are due from all of the membership to the Earl of Lytton who has supported us consistently in the House of Lords. This is of course not the first time such support has been given to us by the Earl of Lytton on a Bill and we are immensely grateful to him once again.
It has been hard work operating to the deadlines demanded by the parliamentary process but the Bill is now in its home stretch. The Bill is due to end the report stages this week.
Consultation round 2 and beyond
Post budget, DCLG and HMT published a second round of proposed reforms. We will comment formally in early May. The consultation document can be found here
Colin Cottage is preparing the submission and if you have any comments you wish to make to assist them, please email Colin here. The Reform Group will decide on the final content of our response. From previous experience we may need to make representative decisions on the CPA's position or even explain there is a divergence of views on some topics. So, if you do submit a contribution to the CPA's response I would therefore also recommend you submit a response direct to CLG, in case your comments do not get included in the CPA's document.
Additionally, the CPA is now looking at areas for future reform to propose to CLG. I invite you to forward such comments to Colin or to me.
Advertisements for Situations Vacant
CPA Committee has decided that it will allow use of the CPA website from employers wanting to advertise appropriate opportunities in the CPO field. This will be open to any employer seeking a CPO practitioner in any of the relevant professions. Details of how to advertise situations vacant and the nominal fee for doing so can be obtained from Mark Barlow.
The arena we practice in continues to evolve and progress and it remains essential we all keep up to date with developments in law and practice. CPA exists to try to keep its members in touch with each other and to inform them of emerging thoughts, decisions and requirements. We welcome all assistance from any our members in helping us to achieve this flow of information.
To assist you, our Annual Conference is on 30 June, with a programme designed to give you the insights you need to develop and strengthen your practice. The latest details can be found here
I hope to see you on 30 June and, before then, please do participate on in the consultation response to Government.