The attribute that differentiates professions from other occupations is their professional culture. Values, beliefs, attitudes, skills, knowledge and behaviours constitute this culture. The culture is passed on during training and reinforced or strengthened during social interaction with other professionals after the training has been completed. The social values of the professional group are the unquestioned premises upon which its existence rests. The profession is redundant without these social values. First amongst these values is the belief in the essential worth of the service that the professional group brings to the community. The service the profession offers must be a social (public) good that, if absent, will impair the public welfare.
There are primarily two types of professional bodies in South Africa namely, statutory and non-statutory. The statutory professional bodies or councils have been established through an act of Parliament whilst the non-statutory professional bodies have evolved along voluntary association dictums. Since 2011, professional bodies (both statutory and non-statutory) who are involved in qualifications must also apply to the SAQA for recognition as well as register their designations for the purposes of the NQF Act, Act 67 of 2008.
PolicySA works with professional bodies in the following ways:
- developing a policy platform incorporating
- a model of good governance
- code of ethics, including the design and implementation of a disciplinary system
- continuous professional development (CPD)
- professional designation system
- assisting professional bodies with SAQA recognition and the registration of their professional designations
- facilitating strategic planning workshops
- providing a registry service [membership registration, monitoring compliance to professional body policies such as the code of ethics/conduct and CPD, submission of data to the National Learners Record Database (NLRD)administered by SAQA]
- training professional board/council members and executive management on compliance with national legislation and policies as well as on principles and practices of good governance
- advocating (lobbying) on behalf of the professional body and in alignment with issues that will benefit the profession
- providing a network with other professional bodies
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