Scheme Application Framework
The Scheme Application Framework
This Scheme Application Framework is designed to help occupational associations to apply for a professional standards scheme.
The Professional Standards Councils are responsible for facilitating the improvement of professional standards and the protection of consumers by enabling the creation of statutory schemes. We do this by approving and supervising schemes applied for by occupational associations on behalf of their members.
We conduct a rigorous assessment of applications submitted by occupational associations who want to enter or continue to participate in the national system for professional standards regulation. It is important that occupational associations submit an application that meets the statutory requirements together with complete and comprehensive supporting evidence.
This Framework was co-designed with occupational associations and delivers a simple, clear way for an occupational association to demonstrate that it meets the requirements of professional standards legislation, and can protect consumers and manage professional risks. The Framework is flexible and can be used when applying for approval of a new scheme or for the remake or amendment of a scheme.
What is in the Framework?
The Framework has six modules, all of which are available below. Each module contains an overview, guidance and templates. We recommend using the Framework to make an application because it will assist the occupational association ensure it is complete. The Framework is designed with the following features:
Encouragement and assistance
We advise all occupational associations considering making an application to contact the Professional Standards Authority at the earliest opportunity.
For new applications, the Authority will meet with the governing body of the occupational association. Once we receive the governing body’s commitment to apply for a scheme, the Authority will provide guidance on the application process. For applications to remake or amend a scheme, the Authority will meet with the occupational association to provide guidance on a streamlined application process.
In all cases, and before an application is submitted with the applicable statutory fee, the Authority will conduct a pre-application workshop with the occupational association. The pre-application workshop allows the Authority to check eligibility of the application under the professional standards legislation and the completeness of the evidence to be submitted with the application.
To apply, and for the Councils to commence consideration of an application, the occupational association must pay a statutory fee. The cost is $5,000 to $40,000 depending on the jurisdiction and where the scheme is intended to operate. We take payment by electronic funds transfer. The fee is not refundable if an occupational association withdraws an application.
Applying for a new scheme is a process that takes most associations, with well-developed regulatory systems and professional standards, around 18 months to complete. Applying for a scheme re-make or amendment is a process that takes most associations around 12 months to complete. A final, governance-body-approved application must be submitted at least 10 months before the proposed scheme’s intended start date to allow time for all necessary statutory processes to be completed.
Consideration and approval
When considering an application, the Councils look for evidence that the association has robust systems in place to support its regulatory capacity and to meet the legislative aims of a scheme. In an application for a scheme re-make, the Councils expect that the association has continuously improved its professional standards, consumer protections and regulatory capacity. If we identify that the relevant considerations have not been met, the occupational association may be requisitioned or given an opportunity to respond. The Councils will write to the occupational association when a decision about the application is made.
By operating an approved scheme, an occupational association takes on a new role as a regulator of its members’ competence and conduct. This requires an investment of leadership, time and resources to support the association's regulatory systems, professional standards, consumer protections and professional risk management strategies. For most associations, an approved scheme will require a significant step up in their professional standards systems and regulatory capacity.
Following approval of a scheme, the Authority will conduct a post-approval workshop to assist the occupational association commence its scheme operations, compliance and reporting.