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Procura

News & opinion

18 JAN 2019

What does it mean for a professional body to ‘regulate’ its professionals?

Ray-Saharwal

Ray Sabharwal

Head – Marketing & Communications, Americas

Toronto

RICS

At a recent social event, I was explaining about my role and RICS, when the conversation turned to the subject of standards, regulations and their enforcement.

We spoke of residential construction and properties and the conversation meandered into the international arena, non-residential land and construction.

Some of the conversation turned to how in certain countries and sectors, money or influence is wielded in a less than transparent way. This jeopardizes safety within the built environment and erodes the public trust.

Another discussion was the need for consistent standards and local, or regional bodies, to cohesively establish and uphold standards. All these discussions, highlighting challenges across sectors and geography, came back to the underlying themes of regulation of the profession and standards.

The need for consistent international standards is urgent in pockets of the world. Yet, there is little value in having local, regional, or even international, standards if they are not implemented, get compromised during implementation, or have no regular assurance and enforcement of the standards post implementation.

This is where RICS stands apart. It is not a membership organization, or association. Our charter is critical in delivering our core purpose – to ensure the profession works to the public interest. Our stringent qualification process often includes written submissions, and assessment interviews are required to obtain our MRICS qualification.

Once a professional has passed these hurdles and achieved their credential, there are mandatory annual continuing professional development (CPD) requirements. These are enforced by an independent regulatory function that not only checks CPD, but also investigates complaints, and pro-actively monitors activities in the riskier parts of the profession – such as valuation and the holding of client money.

We’re a professional body with 150 years of proven history of credibility and service. We take our role  in protecting the public interest very seriously as we promote the adoption of standards and regulation against those standards and the conduct of our qualified professionals. Our rigorous complaints procedure and disciplinary process are open and transparent without compromising the confidentiality of the parties as mandated by law.

Just to give you a flavour of how our commitment to ensuring standards, let me provide some examples. In 2018, we received 1,179 complaints. Many of these were around competence, ethical behaviour and service. While many were not subject to further investigation, resolution is often achieved through the regulated firm’s formal complaint handling procedure or, failing this, through an external alternative dispute resolution process. Both are the mandatory protection mechanisms required of all RICS-regulated firms.

If an investigation is warranted and reveals that a breach of RICS Rules of Conduct has occurred, proportionate remediation steps will take place, or the matter may be referred to an independent disciplinary panel to ensure due process. Last year, there were 72 such panel hearings, with 1,408 sanctions issued – including 18 expulsions from the profession.

At RICS, we operate a formal review process for anyone who wishes to challenge a decision we have made. There is an external independent service complaints reviewer who can consider situations where our service has fallen below the standards which we, and those involved, expect.

More than 100 global regulatory staff around the world work to fulfil this independent function critical to our role as a 21st century global professional body. This picture is a clear testament of our seriousness to the profession and, most importantly, our commitment in regulating our professionals and firms to the highest standards in order to best serve the public interest.

This is a great opportunity to strengthen client and industry confidence by either securing your own designation, or demanding a designated professional or firm for your projects.

Ray-Saharwal

Ray Sabharwal

Head – Marketing & Communications, Americas

Toronto

RICS

Based in Toronto office, Ray heads all marketing & communication activities across the Americas for RICS. He comes with more than 18 years of marketing experience in a global B2B environment, having worked in construction, telecom and technology industry start-ups as well as large enterprises such as MTS Allstream, OpenText etc.

He is a modern marketer who has built and led marketing teams with a successful history of taking new products to market with compelling positioning and messaging, deploying brand awareness programs and creating multi-million dollar pipeline through integrated marketing campaigns.

With a Bachelors in Civil Engineering and Masters in Construction Management, Ray has a deep understanding of the marketing operations elements ranging from CRM, marketing automation and digital/social marketing tools as related to the built environment.