• A list of compulsory membership professions is established and transparency and good governance measures are reinforced
  • Access restrictions to an activity based on a professional qualification may only be established by law
  • A Profession Reform Commission is created to evaluate and modify the access and exercise of certain professions

The Council of Ministers today approved the Draft Law on Professional Schools and Services, the objective of which is to promote competitiveness, growth and the quality of services, by eliminating restrictions in various areas. This is one of the commitments included in the National Reform Plan and a recommendation to Spain from international organizations.

The standard will boost competitiveness and quality in professional services, which represent almost 9% of GDP, 6% of total employment and 30% of university employment. Liberalization will have positive effects on the economy as a whole in the form of increased competition and will allow additional GDP growth of between 0.5 and 1 percentage points. Likewise, it will allow to consolidate the gains of competitiveness, once the economic recovery is consolidated.

PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS

A list of compulsory membership professions is established that may only be required by state law:

  • Professions sanitary: doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians, dentists, nurses, physical therapists, opticians-optometrists and podiatrists.
  • Professions legal: Lawyers, solicitors, social graduates, registrars and notaries.
  • Professions techniques: compulsory membership is established for professionals who carry out activities for which a visa is required (nine activities in the field of construction and handling of explosives, mainly).

Schools of compulsory and voluntary membership will coexist. However, only membership in the former will be enabling for the exercise of a profession or certain professional activities. The schools can only be created by law, at the request of the qualified professionals and by accompanying a justifying report, with the reasons for the creation of the school, the reasons that prevent its integration into an existing one or the number of practicing professionals.

Good governance criteria are reinforced in schools with compulsory membership, subjecting the governing bodies to these principles and to a specific regime of incompatibilities. Collegial independence is reinforced by determining the incompatibility of holding the office of president, dean, member of the governing board, or director with being elected political office (of the State, autonomous communities, provinces or other local entities) or head of an organ manager in any public administration. Nor can these positions be reconciled in schools with other managerial positions in political parties, unions or business organizations or in insurance entities or social welfare mutuals. In addition, the direct relatives of the managerial positions of a collegial corporation may not be contracted labor or mercantile by the same.

The exercise of the disciplinary power of the colleges is improved by establishing that the deontological code of each collegiate organization is unique throughout the national territory and by requiring deontological or disciplinary bodies independent of the collegiate governing bodies.

The economic regime of the schools is clarified, as well as the college fee, and the compulsory services of the volunteers must be separated. The schools of compulsory membership must offer a system of compulsory quotas subsidized for professionals in unemployment.

A general system of remuneration for the management positions of compulsory schools is established. In general, they will not be entitled to remuneration, although with the exception that they hold the position of exclusive dedication. This remuneration must appear in detail in the budgets and must be approved by a majority equal to that of each college for the approval of the accounts.

Likewise, those with compulsory membership must offer a professional certification system, in order to mitigate the problems of asymmetric information between professionals and consumers. In other words, they will become professional certification entities accredited by the ENAC (National Accreditation Entity) to guarantee their independence.

Transparency is reinforced through the presentation and publicity of school accounts. In addition, as a guarantee of greater accounting control, the compulsory audit is included for schools of compulsory membership. It will be required that the information about the members and about each and every one of the fees of the school is accessible to the public in electronic format, without having to request it.

The democratic functioning of the General Councils is reinforced, by establishing that in the participation of the schools in the election of their governing bodies, the number of members of each of them will be taken into account.

PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

The common conditions that will govern the access or exercise of the different professions are established, under the general principle of free access and exercise. Restrictions on access to an activity based on a professional qualification may only be required by law (state or regional) whenever necessary for reasons of general, proportionate and non-discriminatory interest. When the required qualification is a university degree or higher Vocational Training, it must be considered in state law.

A list of norms that remain in force is established with regard to activity reservations and / or access conditions. These include all those that regulate attributions in the field of engineering and building, sanitation, transportation and education, among others (around 120). The norms not included in the list will be automatically repealed in what refers to this matter.

It is proposed to create a Profession Reform Commission that will analyze the access requirements and the professional practice and, where appropriate, will make the proposed modifications that it considers and for this it will be able to consult the sector in question. The Commission will be coordinated by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Education, the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation and the National Commission of Markets and Competition will form part of it.

This Commission will report on any regulatory change that affects the access and exercise requirements of the professions and their activity reserves. You may also carry out an assessment of the restrictions on access and exercise existing at the entry into force of this law. In this case, the corresponding Ministry will also form part of the Commission due to its competence in the analyzed profession.

Within the Commission, a Working Group will be created to prepare a proposal on professional powers in engineering and building in accordance with this law. Presided over by the Ministry of Development, may count on the participation of the professions.

In the case of pharmacies, the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality will make a proposal to modify the table of deductions for the benefit of the pharmacy offices contained in RD 823/2008, of May 16, by which establish the margins, deductions and discounts corresponding to the distribution and dispensing of medicines for human use, with the aim of reinforcing the progressivity and the final nature of the system.

The incompatibility of the simultaneous practice of law and attorney (representation before the Courts) is eliminated. This measure will be of immediate application, only conditioned to the deployment of the electronic notification system of the Ministry of Justice and to the fact that the Bar Associations establish their presence in the notification rooms of the courts, which implies a transitional period. The fees of the attorneys are eliminated, so that as of the entry into force of this Law, their fees will be freely established with the clients.



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