24 OCT 2018
RICS investigates RICS-qualified professionals and registered firms when we may need to take disciplinary action to protect the public interest.
Whenever we receive a complaint or conduct an investigation, there are five principles that dictate our regulatory process, these are:
We maintain communications with both the complainant and the RICS professional or firm that is the subject of the complaint, including informing both of the outcome. Normally, anonymous complaints are not accepted as it is only fair that the professionals are aware of the source of the complaints. All Disciplinary Panel procedings are public.
These are achieved through the application of consistent standards and the independent Conduct and Appeals Disciplinary Panel process, which is public.
Not every breach of the RICS Rules and Standards justifies an investigation — the breach must be serious. A single act or failure is unlikely to cross the threshold. RICS examines two factors. First, is the alleged breach serious enough to establish "misconduct" or "serious professional incompetence"? Second, is it in the "public interest" to investigate?
Not every breach is "misconduct", it must be more than a single negligent act or omission, such as:
"Serious professional incompetence" is usually not established by a single minor mistake, but by multiple examples, or a significantly serious one that threatens the public, such as:
The purpose of RICS’ regulatory procedures is not to punish members, firms or to provide compensation, but to act in the public interest and proportionately. Public interest considerations include:
If we decide not to start an investigation, we will inform the complainant in writing stating the reasons why. However, the details of the complaint and information will be kept and may be referred to if there are complaints made in the future.
We are more likely to begin an investigation if it involves:
Disciplinary actions will move forward only if the evidence gathered in the investigation establishes a realistic prospect of proving that the professional or firm is liable for disciplinary action based on credible evidence establishing misconduct or serious professional incompetence.
Because RICS does not take disciplinary action to "punish" a member or firm, a decision to take disciplinary action must be proportionate to protect the public. Relevant factors are:
Examples of cases where the seriousness and public interest test may not be met include: