A key added value of membership of RICS is that we not only produce mandatory standards but we monitor compliance and provide help and free training to firms and members to assist them with compliance
In fulfilment of our Royal Charter, RICS creates Professional Standards, Professional Statements and Guidance Notes. It also pro-actively Regulates compliance and best practice through three Schemes, covering Client Money, General Insurance Distribution Activity and Valuer Registration.
RICS is aware of the financial pressures and time constraints its members operate under and recognises the need to assist by providing support and guidance in compliance with standards and best practice, free at the point of use.
We have a number of tools in our toolkit which enable us to do this. Each tool can either be remote off-site using digital technology such as Teams, or they can be face to face on-site at your premises, subject to COVID-19 restrictions.
Previously our main tool, this in-depth review and detailed report is now primarily used for a small control group to monitor levels of compliance using a grading system. We would also use this approach where we have received complaints or intelligence which suggest a firm presents high levels of risk which need to be investigated.
This is now our preferred approach and is similar to the RRV but does not result in a detailed report, nor is the compliance of the firm/member graded, nor is disciplinary action intended. The firm’s practices and documents are reviewed and non-compliance noted. This is followed by a detailed feedback session where we attempt to coach and lead the firm/member into compliance, providing framework documents and advice as appropriate.
In exceptional circumstances we reserve the right to escalate the review to an RRV.
Workshops have proved to be a very effective way of helping firms/members to examine regulation and best practice in depth and to arrive at solutions for their own setting which comply. Each workshop gathers a group of up to 15 people who will work together in small break out groups. The presenters use PowerPoint presentations to speak to the subject matter and open forum discussion is encouraged.
Each of the three Schemes which RICS regulates have Scheme Rules which authorise us to monitor and enforce compliance where necessary. We also rely on RICS Rules of Conduct for firms and members. Rule 4 requires firms and members to carry out their work with due skill, care and diligence and with proper regard for the technical standards expected of them. Rule 14 for firms and Rule 8 for members requires firms and members to submit requested documents and information in a timely manner.
Our maxim is: ‘It is better to lead a firm into compliance than to force it. Sanctions are generally only considered in cases where non-compliance has created serious risk, there has been irresponsible behaviour, or where a firm/member is un-cooperative or has acted dishonestly.