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News & opinion

5 NOV 2021

Launch of New Rules of Conduct

RICS Rules of Conduct are one of the most important ways that we provide confidence to clients and the public that RICS members and firms act competently and ethically.

Many people only think of the Rules of Conduct as a tool to be used in considering complaints, but they also support our professionals in making the many complex and balanced decisions they face regularly.

Following a global consultation, we launched new Rules of Conduct which provide a clearer simpler framework to show what the public can expect from a RICS member or firm. Here are five important things we’d like you to know about the new rules, which will be implemented from February 2, 2022.

They will replace several documents

One of our aims in revising the Rules of Conduct was to make them simpler for professionals and the public by building the rules on ethical principles and combining the requirements for members and firms. The new Rules of Conduct is a single document which replaces the old Rules of Conduct for members, Rules of Conduct for firms and global ethical principles.

They were developed with the support of members

As well as the members who were involved in the working and advisory groups that drafted the Rules, we received a lot of helpful feedback during our consultation. Not everyone agreed with our proposals, and some people were very critical of them, but the majority supported the new document. We carefully considered all the feedback and have made a number of changes to the rules, mostly by changing the wording of individual behaviours, but also by adding the encouragement of diversity and inclusion to Rule 4. We have published a consultation analysis which gives a summary of the responses we received and the decisions we made as a result.

They reflect existing good practice

We know that members and firms worry about an increasing regulatory burden. There have been no changes to the underlying ethical principles for the profession. The Rules organise them into a simpler framework, and the professional obligations in the appendix were already present in the existing rules. The example behaviours reflect what most of our professionals and stakeholders tell us has been important to them for some time – including encouraging diversity and advising on sustainability. The Rules will help members and firms identify good practice and find any gaps where they could improve, but most will find that they are already acting in accordance with them.

There is support to understand the new rules and how to use them

We have already published the Rules, but they come into force on 2 February 2022. All members and firms have access to free online CPD that explains the new rules and the similarities to and differences from the old rules and global ethical principles. We are also publishing a number of scenarios looking at common ethical dilemmas in practice and how you can use the Rules of Conduct to make decisions. We are also conducting a webinar on 18 November 2021 where panelists will share their thoughts on the new Rules and how they apply to firms, members and APC candidates, followed by a question and answer session.

They apply to members and firms globally

The Rules of Conduct apply to all RICS members including student and trainee members, and to all regulated firms, wherever they work. We understand that how our professionals achieve compliance with the rules may be different in different cultures and legal systems, but we expect RICS members and firms everywhere to apply the same ethical principles. We have translated the new Rules into nine different languages, and the introductory CPD will be translated into five different languages to support members in different markets.