Education CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

RICS is the leading organisation of its kind in the world for professionals in property, construction, land and related environmental issues. As an independent and chartered organisation, RICS regulates and maintains the professional standards of over 91,000 qualified members (FRICS, MRICS and AssocRICS) and over 50,000 trainee and student members. It regulates and promotes the work of these property professionals throughout 146 countries and is governed by a Royal Charter approved by Parliament which requires it to act in the public interest.

Chartered Status

Employers and clients around the world recognize chartered status as a mark of quality within the surveying professions and because of this global recognition, chartered status is the gateway to numerous job and career opportunities.

Chartered status is a mark of quality assurance—a valuable asset that demonstrates to employers, colleagues and the industry as a whole that members adhere to the highest standards in the world. It is also seen as the gateway to senior management roles and increased earning potential.

According to the MacDonald and Company Salary Survey 2011, on average, RICS members earn 16% more than their non-chartered equivalents.

How are RICS Members and Firms Regulated?

RICS Regulation provides assurance to members, markets and the public that RICS members and firms operate to the standards set out in of RICS’ Rules of Conduct. Members demonstrate this by maintaining professional ethical standards and through continuous professional development. Firms by ensuring procedures are in place to provide for the protection of their clients, such as having a complaints handling procedures that includes an independent redress mechanisms.

RICS Regulation monitors, guides and assists members and firms to comply with these rules, regulations and ethical standards. We review and investigate complaints and, where appropriate, take disciplinary action in cases where members and/or regulated firms fall short of what is expected of them. In this way, we underpin the business and best practice of the profession with an appropriate regulatory regime so that chartered surveyors, wherever they practice and in whatever specialism, are doing the best possible job for their clients.

RICS Regulation regulates the profession through ethical principles and a regulatory framework that is risk-based and follows the principles of better regulation. As a regulator, we:

use better regulation principles to develop policy and operations, and to provide a single regulatory framework for members and firms, where possible;

provide advice and guidance to members and firms to help meet regulatory requirements, and subsequently to manage risk effectively in their operations;

develop policy and engage in public affairs activity to promote the value of a self regulated profession, and of better regulation principles generally; and

Communicate widely the benefits of using regulated firms.

The Benefits of Regulation
… for Members

Members set themselves apart to employers, firms and clients. As RICS qualified professionals they are not only assessed on entry but are also regulated throughout the lifecycle of their career. This enables RICS members to:

demonstrate that they reach the highest standards in the profession;

access courses and monitor their CPD training;

access dedicated help and support from Regulation staff to meet legislative or regulatory requirements; and

Register for a range of schemes which promote and support specific surveying services such as the Value Registration Scheme.

… for Firms

Firms that are “Regulated by RICS” have a market advantage. They give confidence to their clients and the public as they have committed publicly to uphold the highest levels of professional and ethical standards. Specifically, clients are confident that they will:

ensure that their corporate policies lead to practice in a professional and ethical manner in line with RICS core principles;

have processes in place to manage risk and handle complaints in a professional manner;

hold adequate and appropriate levels of professional indemnity insurance (PII) to safeguard both their firm and clients; and

ensure their staff are adequately trained and competent.

… for Clients/the Public

Regulation ensures that clients and the general public have:

assurance that the services they receive will meet the highest international ethical and professional standards;

assurance that firms will keep their money safe and not use it for purposes other than those agreed with the client;

a clear and transparent complaints handling process with independent redress if things do go wrong; and

An easily recognizable mark of property professionalism worldwide.

How RICS Regulates

We use principles of better regulation as the framework for our regulatory policy. This means that we are:

Proportionate—as a rregulator, RICS will intervene only when necessary. Remedies are appropriate to the risk posed, and costs identified and minimized.

Accountable—we will be open about decisions and subject to public scrutiny.

Consistent—rules and standards are joined up and implemented fairly.

Transparent—we are committed to openness in regulatory operations and to keeping regulations simple and user-friendly.

Targeted—focused on the problem and avoid unnecessary burdens.

Our aim is to provide members and member firms with a single regulatory framework that meets all their requirements—legislation permitting. And to seek to anticipate, identify and influence the design, implementation and review of existing legislation in order to deliver efficient and effective regulatory solutions in RICS target markets.

Perceptions of regulation may differ from country to country and between markets, as does the legislative framework and people’s appetite for risk. Different ways of achieving the same outcomes or of communicating the benefits of regulation may therefore be required to take into account local differences. Better regulation allows regulators to adopt an appropriate mechanism that takes into account local risk factors, while achieving consistent global standards.

Governance
Regulatory Board

The Regulatory Board is responsible for the formulation and delivery of regulatory Policy objectives including: rules, guidance and advice for members and firms; and disciplinary processes. It is at arms length from RICS and is accountable and has a mix of independent members and chartered surveyor members. The board is accountable to RICS Governing Council.

Fig. 1

REGULATORY BOARD POSITION IN RICS GLOBAL GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

The Regulatory Board delegates certain responsibilities to the following committees and panels.

Conduct and Appeals Committee

The Committee, appointed by the independent Appointment Selection Board, consists of an equal number of independent and RICS members. They sit in a quorum of three, to hear a case and make disciplinary, appeal and/or registration decisions. They sit as the following panels:

Disciplinary Panel

This panel hears cases, usually in public, where after investigation the member or firm may be liable for disciplinary action. In accordance with RICS Rules and Regulations they consider and deliberate on the evidence before them to come to a unanimous decision.

Registration Panel

This panel considers applications made by member or firms who want a review of a decision relating to their registration, membership and/or recognition of a specialist qualification. In addition, they consider re-admission applications from member or firms following disciplinary expulsion or removal.

Appeal Panel

This panel reviews the decision of the Disciplinary or Registration Panel.

RICS Scrutiny Panel

This panel is responsible for examining the workings of RICS Regulation. Consisting of RICS members and independent members, it provides a check that all RICS regulatory and disciplinary priorities are being delivered, to help enhance public protection and ensure members are benefiting from a better regulation system.

RICS would be pleased to provide further written or oral evidence to the Committee. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further detail or briefing.

February 2012

Prepared 30th April 2012