POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Regulatory Colleges

Regulatory colleges are legal, governing bodies which regulate the practice of a particular profession. They are given responsibilities and powers through government legislation, and being a member of a regulatory college is often a requirement of working in the profession.

Professionals which fall under the remit of regulatory colleges range widely from healthcare professionals, such as nurses and chiropractors, to construction industry professionals, including carpenters and engineers. 

The role played by regulatory colleges in society

Regulatory colleges play a vital role in serving the public interest. They do this in the following ways:

  • establishing and upholding minimum qualification standards required for persons seeking membership
  • establishing and upholding standards of practice to safeguard the quality of the profession
  • promoting the continued improvement in knowledge and skills among members
  • developing and maintaining high standards of professional ethics
  • promoting the ability of members to adapt to technological advances, as well as changes in practices and other developments within the profession
  • promoting collaboration with related professional regulatory colleges
  • investigating allegations of misconduct against members
  • penalizing members found to be engaging in misconduct - including expulsion
  • publishing a register containing details of all members

Organizational governance

Like other organizations such as associations, the operation of each regulatory college is governed by its own bylaws. The bylaws dictate how the organisation is to conduct itself with regards to issues including banking and finance, auditing, registration fees and remuneration of council or board members. 

The council or board is ultimately responsible for the governance of the regulatory college, and usually includes a president, vice-president and treasurer, among other members of the council or board. Often a significant proportion of council or board members are elected from within the wider membership base, thus the bylaws will also outline the election procedure and include details about candidate eligibility, as well as stipulating terms of office for elected council or board members.


See also: Associations , Bylaws, Our Customers

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