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ACS Professional Standards scheme

The standards that set you apart as an ACS Certified Professional (CP) member.

ACS Professional Standards scheme

As the trusted leader of the tech sector, ACS sets the standards that strengthen the tech profession.


The ACS Professional Standards scheme is an exciting step forward for the tech profession, elevating the stature of CP members while providing a range of career-enhancing benefits. 

  • All CP members now have professional recognition from Australian federal, state and territory governments

  • ACS has obtained approval for a redesigned Professional Standards Scheme to include all CP members

  • CP members now need to demonstrate ongoing compliance with professional standards


As an ACS CP member, you are recognised for your professionalism, commitment to ethical practice and ongoing professional development.


ACS Professional Standards Scheme


Professional Standards Scheme


ACS' Professional Standards Scheme (‘the Scheme’) is a legal instrument that obliges ACS to monitor, enforce and improve professional standards of our Certified Professional (‘CP’) members.


ACS’ Scheme is constituted under NSW legislation but operates in all Australian states and territories. The current Scheme began on 1 January 2019 and is set to expire on 31 December 2024. The Scheme operates to cap the civil liability of a current CP member if a successful civil claim is made against them.


The Scheme instrument provides for a civil liability cap of $2M.


To take benefit of the Scheme, CP members must comply with professional standards obligations and hold requisite insurance policies.


Benefits of the scheme

Consumer Protection
Enhanced Professional Risk Profile
Member Benefits
Consumer Protection
Enhanced Professional Risk Profile
Member Benefits
Guaranteed adequate compensation arrangement for consumers as all members must maintain a compliant professional insurance (‘PI’) insurance policy
Compliant culture within membership
Capped civil liability of $2M
Risk management strategies based on claims, complaints and audit outcomes and analysis
Ongoing stakeholder engagement and consultation of issues affecting the ICT profession and related industries
External recognition as a distinct professional by the Professional Standards Councils (PSC), a government authority
Higher level of standards and quality reports
Compliance auditing conducted by ACS, including CPD compliance
Mitigation of PI insurance premium pool depletion via capped liability and appropriate exclusions
Recognition of ACS CP members as professionals with a commitment to an ethical code and maintaining technical competence and professional skills
Enhanced long term PI insurance availability and affordability via stable insurance premiums.

Compliance and Insurance Obligations for CP members



CPD Compliance


CP members in the Scheme must demonstrate ongoing compliance with professional standards and maintain CPD records.


Members must keep personal details up to date in “My Profile” and click drop down menus to advise their work and insurance status. CP members must comply with CPD requirements and maintain CPD records and may be asked for insurance claims history.


Insurance Cover Compliance


CP members must hold PI insurance policies that meets minimum criteria. CP members must maintain a PI insurance cover at a minimum level of at least $2M.


The existence of your insurance and level of cover is subject to an annual audit and must be kept current. CP members may rely on the ACS umbrella insurance, their own or their employer’s PI insurance cover or may rely on the ACS member insurance scheme if applicable.


You can find more information on the ACS umbrella insurance here.


Disclosure requirements


Scheme participants must disclose limited liability on stationery and business documentation using the wording below


‘Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation'


The statement must appear on all of your business documentation that are, or could be, given to current or prospective clients to promote you or your business.


Please read the fact sheet here for further information.


Exemptions and Extensions


Exemption from Scheme participation may be considered by ACS on a case basis. Please inquire via email at PSS@acs.org.au if you have any questions regarding this.


Extension of the Monetary Ceiling


In certain circumstances, a CP members may apply to ACS for a higher liability cap than would otherwise apply (exceeding $2M). Please inquire via email at PSS@acs.org.au if you have any questions regarding this. 

Frequently asked questions


The Scheme is not a source of PI insurance, however members under the Scheme must hold PI insurance that meets certain requirements. Under a separate member service initiative, ACS provides umbrella insurance policies, which includes PI insurance, covering all members with an annual professional fee income within a set limit. A higher level of cover is provided for CP members. 

The Scheme membership and compliance is mandatory for all current CP members. The Scheme does not apply to ACS members who do not hold a current CP certification.

The ACS Scheme will cover civil liability arising from all ICT professional services performed for clients and customers by CP members on an independent basis, or on behalf of an employer.


The Scheme only applies to civil liability arising from anything done or omitted by a Scheme member in the performance of their professional duties. The scheme is not intended to cover, for example, losses arising from death or personal injury of a person, breach of trust, fraud or dishonesty.

The ACS is required to maintain and publish a public register of Scheme members and will respond to public enquiries regarding Scheme member status.

A Professional Standards scheme is a legal agreement that obliges the association (ACS) to monitor, enforce and improve the professional standards of members under the scheme, reducing risk for consumers of professional services. In recognition, the Professional Standards Authority caps the civil liability or damages that professionals under the scheme may incur if a court upholds a claim against them. Professional standards regulated by the ACS PS scheme are generally pre-existing and include:

  • Education and professional experience thresholds

  • Continuing occupational education requirements and audit

  • Consumer risk management

  • Ethical codes

  • Complaint and disciplinary systems

  • Insurance requirements and standards


The ACS PS scheme is constituted by a brief legal document known as the Scheme Instrument which sets out the details of the scheme’s scope, jurisdiction, duration and limitation of liability. This document may be considered by a court in the event of a claim. The scheme is monitored and reviewed on an ongoing basis by the ACS and Professional Standards Councils. Future changes in claims history and consumer risk will result in adaptation of controls and requirements of members under the scheme, and adjustments to liability caps.


Insurance markets tend to be cyclical, and many professional communities have had times of crisis in accessing insurance. Demonstrable professional standards and liability caps help to ensure that a professional community remains attractive to insurers despite insurance market cycles, and scheme compliance systems ensure individuals carry suitable PI cover. This is good for professionals and good for consumers.

A key benefit of the PS scheme is that it recognises ACS Certified Professional (CP) members as professionals with a commitment to an ethical code and maintaining technical competence and professional skills. This may be increasingly important with the growing profile of business and consumer risk in the digital environment, and the erosion of public trust in experts.


The scheme also ensures the safety net of Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance. At present, PI claims against ICT professionals are rare, PI insurance is readily accessible to ICT professionals and there is little reliance on PI insurance as a remedy when things go wrong. The ICT environment is however in rapid evolution and the risk profile of ICT professional services may change.


PI insurance protects both the professional service providers and the recipients of ICT services. The ACS advocates universal PI coverage of ICT professionals in everybody’s interest and sees the scheme as key to raising awareness and uptake and ensuring ongoing access to PI insurance. Consumers who engage ICT professional services may directly benefit from the public register of individuals who meet requisite professional standards, and from the reassurance of regulatory oversight by the Professional Standards Councils.

A Professional Standards scheme adds credibility to ACS certifications and professional standards and adds weight to the ACS message of professionalism across the ICT sector. Everybody is an indirect consumer of ICT professional services, and all consumers benefit from ICT professional standards rising over time. The ACS scheme is subject to ongoing scrutiny by the Professional Standards Councils, and enhances the professional standards of ACS members by:

  • Requiring ongoing review of entry requirements and assessment processes

  • Ensuring suitable standards of education and professional experience are applied

  • Ensuring ACS audits and enforces continuing occupational education (CPD) obligations

  • Ensuring ACS addresses consumer risk in its education and information

  • Ensuring ACS maintains and promotes its ethical codes

  • Ensuring ACS maintains strong complaint and disciplinary systems

  • Ensuring members maintain suitable insurance cover in the public interest

Professional Standards schemes are designed to ensure ongoing access to PI insurance by an occupational group. Insurance markets are cyclical and there have been times when insurers have actively reduced their exposure to a sector by declining new policies or raising premiums.


A scheme puts a cap on liability, reflecting the actual history of claims. This allows consumers to continue to pursue claims at historic levels, whilst giving insurers greater predictability. Liability caps give insurers the confidence to remain in a particular market without risk of random runaway claims, and a buffer to adjust to any sudden change in risk profile of a professional activity.


Limiting participant liability therefore helps consumers by ensuring that the occupational group in question remain insured, and a PI safety net can always be relied on.


PI insurance access has not been an issue in the ICT sector to date, and there has been no active history of consumer claims for professional negligence against ICT practitioners. The ACS scheme nevertheless provides a plan for the future, and a foundation for the broader ongoing professionalisation of the ICT sector.

The ACS Management Committee governs the ACS Professional Standards scheme and receives expert advice from the Profession Advisory Board (PAB) in relation to benchmarks for evolving professional standards and continuous improvement opportunities. The ACS executive and staff administer the scheme. The Director of Professional Standards and Assessment Services has executive and operational responsibility for the ACS PS scheme.


The government-appointed Professional Standards Councils consider and approve scheme proposals. The scheme association (ACS) provides a five-year plan and annual reports demonstrating scheme implementation and ongoing improvements in professional standards.

ACS has had an accredited Professional Standards scheme under professional standards legislation since 2010, but with few participants and limited impact. With the existing scheme expiring on 31 December 2018, ACS successfully applied for a new Professional Standards scheme. This was approved on the basis that the new scheme includes all CP Members.

The ACS PS scheme operates in all Australian states and territories. The ACS PS scheme is constituted under New South Wales legislation and recognised in other Australian states and territories under the mutual recognition provisions of respective professional standards legislation.

The new ACS Professional Standards scheme came into effect on 1 January 2019 in NSW and NT, and on various dates in early 2019 in other states and territories.

The level of limited liability for a Professional Standards scheme is generally proposed and approved at a level to accommodate the normal range of claims. A cap should be set at a level to encompass historic claims, other than perhaps occasional extreme outlier claims, adjusting for any clear drivers of change to the risk profile. This is generally justified by historic claims data and actuarial analysis. schemes may be approved for five years, at which time caps are reviewed and adjusted.


At present, PI claims against ICT professionals are rare and modest, and present a benign risk profile for insurers. The claims history does not present data that can be usefully analysed to justify adopting a particular level of liability.


A liability cap of $1.5M applied to the outgoing ACS scheme, and expired on 31 December 2018. This was low in terms of the range of caps applying to other Professional Standards schemes. In recognition of an evolving risk profile in ICT, a liability cap of $2.0M has been agreed for the new ACS scheme.

The ACS Professional Standards scheme has been granted until 31 December 2023.