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Disabilty and TPE exam

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I would be grateful for some advice especially from people who have been in a similar situation with ICAS, ICAEW, ACCA or CIMA. 

I qualified with ICAS about 15 years ago but then left membership for personal reasons including my health and family bereavements. I also returned to university. A few years ago I had a stroke and am now permanently disabled on benefits. I have mobility issues as well as daily fatigue meaning I only manage one hour in the morning to read, study, work etc and another hour in the afternoon. I need to sleep a lot. 

I re-applied to ICAS for membership but they insist I will only be given membership if I successfully re-sit the TPE case study which is 5.5 hours long. I have explained to them that my physical and mental disabilities mean that it's not possible as I can't travel to exams and would require about 12 hours to sit the TPE and I couldn't do it on one day or on consecutive days. There are other practical problems that make it impossible for me. They have refused to offer an alternative. They admit my CPD was good enough but they won't consider it as I was not in membership, even though this is what their own helpsheet advises. 

Before anyone asks, I want membership because I worked hard to get it and don't mind paying a few hundred a year if it helps to get me some part time work of about 10 hours per week. I don't want a Practising Certificate. I am happy to do any short exams with disability support but don't want anything stressful due to high blood pressure but I am confident my knowledge is up to date. 

Has anyone been through something similar? 

Does anyone know someone who has re-sat TPE after a career break? 

How many ICAS members know they might have to re-sit TPE if they take a career break as there is nothing in regulations about it? 


Thanks in advance for comments. 

Replies (7)

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By Roland195
04th Apr 2019 14:05

Honestly, I doubt that in your circumstances membership is worth the subscription let alone the impact on your health & well being. Even if you don't appear on the member's register, you qualified and no-one can take that away from you. Consider that Fred Goodwin remains a CA to this day.

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Replying to Roland195:
By James Graham
04th Apr 2019 14:30

Hi Roland
Thank you for your reply. You may be right but i think £120 per year for reduced subscription would be worth it. I feel i earned it and have always stayed within the ICAS regulations and if it hadnt been for my health and caring after my disabled parents, i would still be a member.
ICAS have discriminated against me and i am currently talking to a solicitor and the Equalities Commission. Where is the Ethics in forcing a severly disabled person into sitting an exam that could kill them?

You are right about Fred of course. He damaged RBS, the country and the reputation of ICAS and had his knighthood taken away but ICAS prefer to victimise a disabled person rather than punish him.

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By thevaliant
04th Apr 2019 15:18

But why do you want ICAS membership?

If you want 10 hours a week work doing a bit of bookeeping, you really don't need ICAS membership to get that. In fact, if you operate as a sole trader (and I assume this is what you want) then you WOULD need PI and a practicing certificate.

If you just want 10 hours work a week as an employee, just be up front with any potential employer. You passed all the exams (proof) but didn't get membership. For the level of work you want, no one will give a hoot whether you are ICAS or not.

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Replying to thevaliant:
By James Graham
04th Apr 2019 16:04

Hi Valiant
Thank you for your comment. I already explained why i want membership because i realised there are people on this forum who prefer to be negative and critical rather than give practical advise.

I have no idea if you have ever passed exams or been a member of a professional body but i worked extremely hard to get my qualifications and membership and would prefer to have them. My solicitor called the CA qualification the Rolls Royce of qualifications. I realise some people choose to leave professional bodies which is their right and i respect their decision, so please respect mine. The majority of people who are CA, ACA, ACCA, etc prefer to stay in membership.

I never said i would be working as a sole trader or that i only wanted to do bookkeeping. I said i don’t want a Practising Certificate or need one as i only want to work as an employee. I don’t know what job i want but would prefer to have the CA after my name as it shows i did the training and passed the exams. It is difficult enough for disabled people to get jobs, even with discrimination legislation so i want every help going. ICAS actually offer a support service for careers but its only available to current members.

Would you care to share your qualifications and memberships?

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By slipknot08
05th Apr 2019 08:19

I think you actually need legal advice - it would appear on the face of it that this is a refusal to make a 'reasonable adjustment' for Equality Act purposes (however, it may be that the detail in their refusal letter covers why this is considered a reasonable - therefore allowable - PCP). Nevertheless, that places it squarely in the solicitors' domain. Many firms will give an initial free or low cost consultation, and Citizen's Advice may also be able to help you. I'm sorry this is happening. It really shouldn't in this day and age... sometimes I despair.

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Replying to slipknot08:
By James Graham
05th Apr 2019 11:14

Hi Slipknot08
Thanks for your advice. I think you are right and my solicitor from a Law Centre has already spoken to the Equalities Commission and I am prepared to take this to court if necessary.
I am not aware of ICAS asking any former member to re-sit a 5.5 hour exam, let alone a disabled person who would need so many adjustments and extra time that makes it impossible. ICAS have not been reasonable as they refused to consider my structured CPD with certificates as being good enough for re-entry

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By brian-scholar
05th Apr 2019 13:56

Your health and well being are far more important than membership of an organisation. Good luck with your attempts to rejoin, I hope they are forced to consider your circumstances but you know what you did, presumably you have a certificate of original membership so hang it on a wall for all to see. However, as the Rolling Stones sang 'you can't always have what you want', so if you don't succeed in your attempt to rejoin, let it go, it's not worth the grief.

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