RICS launches new standards of conduct

8 December 2021

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (‘RICS’) has announced revised Rules of Conduct (the "Rules”) which set out the core principles of professional practice for RICS’ regulated members and firms worldwide.

The revised Rules will take effect from 2 February 2022 and are designed to represent a transparent system of conduct and regulation and bring RICS’ ethical standards into one clear framework.  Members should pay close attention to the revised Rules,  particularly given that they have been refreshed to reflect contemporary requirements of professional conduct.

The refreshed Rules offer the following key changes:

  1. A simpler structure, making it easier for RICS members and firms to understand their obligations, thereby increasing public confidence in the profession and its members.
  2. Clear examples - each rule is illustrated with examples of how members and firms must behave so as to comply with each rule, increasing clarity on compliance.
  3. A focus on respect, diversity and inclusion - the introduction of Rule 4 is notable in that it  establishes an explicit requirement that members and firms ‘must treat others with respect and encourage diversity and inclusion’
  4. Specific reference to understanding evolving technology- the revised Rules highlight the importance of  the evolving use of data and technology and the associated benefits and risks.
  5. Tackling global challenges- the Rules establish new expectations for members and firms in respect of sustainability issues and climate change, specifically that they must ‘encourage solutions that are sustainable in that they minimise harm and deliver balanced economic, social and environmental benefits’ (Rule 3.10).

The updated Rules will be accompanied by a comprehensive programme of CPD and support, freely available for RICS members, ahead of the implementation of the Rules taking place on 2 February 2022.

Dame Janet Paraskeva, chair of the Standards and Regulation Board at RICS, said:

“The advice of RICS professionals around the world underpins the successful management of our built and natural environment. With so many complex challenges facing decision makers, this profession’s high standards of expertise and ethical conduct have never been more important.

“Standards in professional life must evolve to reflect modern-day expectations of clients and society at large, in order to maintain confidence. These revised Rules of Conduct will support our members and those that depend on their advice to continue addressing the challenges of today and tomorrow”

The new Rules of Conduct can be found here

Commentary

RICS’s focus on important issues such as diversity and inclusion, climate change and the evolution of technology is encouraging and is reflective of contemporary regulation.  Members should consider the new Rules in detail and ensure that training is provided on their provisions.  In regulating its members, RICS will consider adherence to all aspects of the Rules; where there may have been a historic focus on technical breaches, we may well see disciplinary matters being brought in respect of the wider nature of conduct specifically referenced in the Rules.  The inclusion of explicit requirements to support diversity, inclusivity and to support all surveyors regardless of their background demonstrates RICS’ commitment to creating a fairer and more inclusive profession, which we hope will be welcomed by all involved. 

Further information

Should you have any queries regarding the issues raised in this blog please contact Julie Matheson or any member of our Regulatory team.

 

About the author

Julie Matheson is a Partner in the Regulatory team, specialising in advising firms and individuals practising in the professional services and built environment markets.  She has particular expertise in advising on compliance with RICS regulatory obligations and in RICS disciplinary matters.

Kathryn Sheridan is an Associate in the Regulatory team, specialising in advising regulators and regulated professionals and firms in compliance and regulatory matters.

 

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