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Appeal Panel Hearings

6 OCT 2009

Mr Anthony Dunn - 5 October 2009

Case of
Mr Anthony Dunn, Marlow, Bucks

RICS, Parliament Square, London, UK

5 October 2009


Mr Dunn was present at the hearing and presented his submissions to the Appeal Panel.

The Panel has carefully reviewed the decision of the Disciplinary Panel made on 24 June 2009 by which the Disciplinary Panel ordered expulsion of Mr Dunn from membership following his admission of a breach of Rule 3 of the Rules of Conduct for Members 2007 (“2007 Rules”) and his admission of a breach of Rule 3 of the Rules of Conduct 2004 (“2004 Rules”). 

Rule 3 of the 2007 Rules states that Members must at all times act with integrity and avoid conflicts of interest and any actions or situations that are inconsistent with their professional obligations.  The basis for the breach was that the Adjudication Panel for England made a determination criticising Mr Dunn’s conduct as the holder of a publicly elected office and disqualified him from holding a similar office for a year and that he was dismissed from a senior post with Surrey County Council for failing to inform the Council as his employer of the Adjudication Panel decision. 

Rule 3 of the 2004 Rules states that Members must at all times conduct themselves in accordance with the core values of membership of the RICS.  The basis for the breach was a decision of the Standards Committee of Wycombe District Council that he had used his position as a member of the Council improperly. 

The Panel has taken into account that it should not interfere with the decision of the Disciplinary Panel unless satisfied by the Appellant that the original decision was wrong.  The Disciplinary Panel’s decision that Mr Dunn was liable to disciplinary action has not been challenged and this appeal relates only to the issue of sanction.  Mr Dunn submitted that the decision to expel was disproportionate and excessive.

The Panel reviewed the four reasons given by the Disciplinary Panel in reaching its decision which were:

  1. That this case involved improper attempts to influence a planning application where Mr Dunn’s client had an interest in the outcome;
  2. A serious breach of the local codes of conduct for Wycombe District Council;
  3. A lack of transparency in Mr Dunn’s dealings with Surrey County Council; and
  4. A lack of transparency in Mr Dunn’s response to questions from the RICS.

Mr Dunn’s grounds for appeal were:

  1. That insufficient weight had been given to the presence and testimony of Councillor Mrs Lesley Clarke who had supported in full Mr Dunn’s statement made to the Panel; and
  2. That severe prejudice was caused to Mr Dunn by the inordinate delay in bringing the case before the Panel.

The Panel has decided to allow the appeal.  In reaching its decision the Panel took the Adjudication Panel decision as a matter of fact and therefore did not investigate further the events that led up to that decision.  The decision reached by the Panel related solely as to whether the Disciplinary Panel gave that fact the appropriate weight.  In reaching its decision the Panel was mindful that it needed to consider Mr Dunn’s conduct primarily as a Chartered Surveyor.  As such the Panel considered the issue of Mr Dunn’s dealings with Surrey County Council to be primarily an employment matter and not therefore directly relevant to the disciplinary proceedings in this case.  Further the fact that a member has been disqualified for one year from holding a public office was not necessarily so reprehensible as to make a member’s expulsion from the RICS the appropriate or proportionate penalty.

The Panel concluded that the Disciplinary Panel had not given sufficient weight to Councillor Clarke’s comments about the handling of the Adjudication Panel proceedings and that the sanction imposed in light of Councillor Clarke’s comments  was too severe. 

Nonetheless as the conduct leading to the breaches was of a serious nature the Panel concluded that a reprimand with a condition on Mr Dunn’s continued membership would be appropriate.  The condition required by the Panel is:

Mr Dunn shall for a period of two years from the date of this hearing not practice as a Chartered Surveyor unless under supervision of a suitably qualified and experienced member of the RICS  to the satisfaction of the Head of Regulation of the RICS.  In the event that this condition is breached Mr Dunn will be automatically expelled from the RICS with the appropriate publication on the RICS website and local newspaper(s).

The Panel has decided to award the RICS its costs as requested and has ordered that the decision will be publicised in the usual manner on the RICS website and the appropriate local newspaper(s).