RICS launches consultation period on revised regulation

A modern structure for todays business environment is needed to regulate the chartered surveying profession, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

RICS members and interested parties are being encouraged to participate in a 12 week consultation, which seeks views on a fresh approach to regulation and redress in the sector following Sir Bryan Carsbergs independent review, through road shows, round table debates and briefings. The five principles of better regulation transparency, targeting, consistency, proportionality and accountability – form the basis of the new system which seeks to deliver a more independent, fairer and more efficient means of regulation.

In his review, Carsberg recommends chartered surveyors should continue to be regulated by RICS but that this should involve separate regulatory and conduct boards comprised of a lay majority. He also calls on RICS to regulate firms as well as individuals and introduce a compliance regime that is easier for members but remains effective. Other major recommendations include taking an active approach to competence monitoring and simpler disciplinary procedures. On the consumer side, Carsberg recommends a Property Ombudsman Service which he sees as necessary to end consumer confusion over redress in the house buying and letting arena.

The consultation seeks views on the regulation of firms, a principles-based approach to rule setting, the enforcement and penalty process and the application of the governments better regulation principles. Work is also in hand to look at other more detailed issues such as how firms handle complaints and clients money, Professional Indemnity Insurance rules, data requirements and the funding of regulation. RICS will carry out and publish a regulatory impact assessment identifying the costs of the proposed regime, after considering of the views expressed during the consultation.

Louis Armstrong, chief executive of RICS, says: The proposals outline a completely new way of tackling regulation and redress in the property world, to ensure balance and proportionality, less red tape and clear objectivity. We are looking for the widest possible input from the property sector, consumer groups, and anyone else interested in shaping a state of the art regulatory framework. We need to deliver a system that works with the grain of commercial life, while protecting the interested of the most vulnerable consumers. I am confident that we can deliver results which are good for the public and good for the profession.