Standards Guidance

Guidance on aspects of STEP's codes of conduct

This page provides further detail on certain requirements within STEP's Code of Professional Conduct

Statement on Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) assists members and their firms in the event that a claim is made by a client. Holding such cover provides assurance to clients that our members act in their best interests and also raises public confidence in you as a professional and STEP as a professional body.

Holding cover is not just about being able to pay any claims that are made and where you are found to be liable. Indemnity provision can also assist you with the cost of defending yourself, however unfounded a claim may seem.

At this time STEP is not prescriptive as to what is appropriate PII cover. The level and type of cover you require is likely to be determined by your employment status (whether you are employed or are a sole practitioner) and the type of work that you undertake. Those employed within large firms are likely to be covered by their employer. It is, however, your responsibility to check the provisions offered by your employer.

While we would not expect you to duplicate any cover, you must ensure you are covered for any work that you undertake on a consultancy or freelance basis. In the event appropriate cover cannot be obtained, you should obtain legal advice on the possible contractual limits of liability that may apply and ensure that any limitation has been highlighted.

Any cover obtained must:

  • be sufficient to cover the majority of claims that could arise and the breadth of work you undertake
  • include run-off cover
  • it is also advisable to obtain cover that includes assistance in the event of a disciplinary matter arising with STEP or a regulator
  • be disclosed to a client upon request.

Guidance on Insolvency

STEP members are often involved in advising on the tax affairs of individuals. STEP members must be able to perform the work without risk or expense to the client and demonstrate a duty of care. STEP considers being or having been insolvent a risk because an individual’s competence to handle the affairs of their client could be called into question.

Fellow professionals and external stakeholders must have confidence in the STEP brand, a core purpose of which is to provide assurance that our members are responsible professionals. STEP will not knowingly admit an applicant with an undischarged bankruptcy.