Policy in focus
RICS Government Relations team set outs its three policy priorities for 2019/20.
Parliament's summer recess is traditionally a time of reflection for professionals operating in the policy, parliamentary, or public affairs arenas; evaluating the year's successes, and planning engagement and influencing activity for the year ahead.
This was not the case for the RICS UK Government Relations team.
Whilst considering our priorities for the 2019/20 Parliamentary session, we have undertaken a significant programme of engagement to ensure we remained in contact with the UK's decision makers and influencers; building our profile as a force for positive social impact; and allowing us to hit the ground with when it comes to our planned activities going forward.
In June, we hosted our first Conservative Party backbencher briefing, hosted and chaired by Mark Prisk MP.
RICS were in attendance to inform a full house of Conservative MPs, Lords and Baronesses on our residential remit. Discussions covered all matters residential; from recent findings of our Residential Market Surveys; to the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA); Modern Methods of Construction; and RICS' forthcoming guidance on the Home Buying and Selling Process and International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS).
Our discussion topics and views were well received, and new relationships made with those who can influence in a non-Ministerial capacity in the two chambers.
Throughout the summer, RICS worked closely with Lord Best and his Regulation of Property Agents (ROPA) working group. This group - tasked with developing advice on a model for an independent property agent regulator, and a mandatory and legally enforceable code of practice - published it's final report this summer.
We welcomed the report's recommendations, and encourage the government to take appropriate steps and measures to implement the report's findings, which will raise the bar across the sector, bring greater consistency in practice and, ultimately, work along RICS practice to increase consumer and public trust in the agency sector.
In July, we sponsored the Spectator Summer Party – an event where party politics are put aside, and the focus is on hosting the highest calibre of guests, ranging from senior parliamentarians and ministers (from all parties) to high profile political commentators and TV personalities.
Given the current political situation, this event provided a great opportunity for us to engage on a new platform and allowed RICS representatives to promote how chartered surveyors are affecting positive change in the built and natural environments.
The most pressing domestic parliamentary issue of the summer, however, was undoubtably the election of Boris Johnson MP as the UK Prime Minister. Shortly after his election, the much-assumed and highly-anticipated cabinet reshuffle took place. Many members of the cabinet who served RICS' sectoral remit either resigned or were replaced; likewise, at a Ministerial level, there were few who continued in post. Accordingly, RICS have written to the incumbent powerbrokers to organise engagement opportunities where we can raise the most pressing issues relating land, property, construction and infrastructure in the UK.
We will continue to keep our professionals up to date on our activities through the forthcoming Parliamentary session.
Head of UK Government Relations and City Strategy
Hew leads the team driving policy development across RICS’ sectoral remit. This involves setting team strategy for the UK policy papers and positions that demonstrate and promote RICS’ thought leadership. He also works in partnership with RICS professionals and stakeholders to take forward engagement programmes with government and parliaments.