RICS disciplinary process: guidance for surveyors on sanctions (4 of 4)

27 June 2023. Published by Ben Goodier, Partner and Sarah O'Callaghan, Senior Associate and Emma Wherry, Senior Associate and Laura Sponti, Associate

This fourth article considers the sanctions the RICS can impose and the next steps for surveyors following a disciplinary decision.

In our previous three articles we set out an overview of the RICS disciplinary process, the investigations stage and the RICS hearing process.

As discussed in Article 3, complaints can be referred to a Single Member or Panel of the Regulatory Tribunal. Consequently, the sanctions which can be imposed vary. 

In every case, the investigating authority will need to be satisfied that:

  • The facts alleged are proven;
  • The Regulated Member is liable to disciplinary action; and
  • It is appropriate and proportionate to impose a sanction.

If the above criteria are satisfied, both a Single Member and a Panel can impose:

  • A caution or reprimand;
  • Undertakings as to future conduct;
  • Fines;
  • Conditions of membership / registration;
  • Expulsion.

In addition, a Disciplinary Panel can make an order requiring the Regulated Member to take a specific action and specifying the consequences of failing to do so. 

More than one of the above sanctions can be imposed.

In determining the appropriate sanction, the RICS will take account of aggravating and mitigating factors. A detailed list is set out in the sanctions guidance, but these include aggravating factors such as previous disciplinary findings, concealment of wrongdoing and dishonesty. They also include mitigating factors such as whether it was an isolated incident and whether the Regulated Member has demonstrated insight and remorse.

To attempt to lessen any sanction imposed, the Regulated Member should try to submit evidence demonstrating:

  • Any remedial steps taken after the complaint including attempts at resolution, additional training for staff,  apologies and attempts at compensation;
  • Steps taken to minimise any loss suffered by the complainant, alternatively evidence showing the complainant suffered no loss;
  • They did not receive any wrongful financial gain;
  • Full compliance with and disclosure to RICS;
  • That the Regulated Member has a robust complaints handling procedure in place which has been followed and referred to during the initial complaints process;
  • Any circumstances which were beyond the Regulated Member's knowledge or control;
  • Any personal circumstances which may have affected the Regulated Member's conduct or performance.

The above is not a finite list. It is important that Regulated Members take all complaints seriously and attempt to resolve them promptly.

The Regulated Member has 14 days from receipt of the decision of a Single Member to serve a notice disputing it, if they consider the decision to be wrong. After expiry of the 14 days, the decision will be deemed to be accepted by the Regulated Member.

Panel decisions will be deemed to take effect at the end of any appeal period. Our next and final article in the series will look at the appeal process.

If, in the meantime, you receive any indication of a complaint or notice that you may be subject to an investigation by the RICS, please do not hesitate to contact one of the RPC team.

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