DCS discuss 'Professional Ethics' with ICMSC Member, in Africa
“….Behaving ethically is at the heart of what it means to be a professional; it distinguishes professionals from others in the marketplace.
RICS professionals demonstrate their commitment to ethical behaviour by adhering to five global professional and ethical standards…..”
It is a well-documented fact that professional standards are not only consistently expected from every Chartered Surveyor, but more importantly, there really is no substitute for any other type of behaviour(s). Of course, mistakes [and errors of judgement] will occur, but in such instances, what measures should be applied [by the RICS] and adhered to [by members and firms], particularly when the scenario presented is not exactly clear-cut?
· What does ‘professional ethics’ look like?
· Is ‘integrity’ a tangible thing that can be successfully critiqued by peers?
· What is ‘the standard’ duly expected from built environment professionals?
· How subjective is the above, and is this clearly understood by the general public?
In an attempt to avoid subjective interpretations of the facts as presented, the public interest test often goes much further, as follows;
· Is a half-way house / borderline scenario permissible?
· What is the consequence(s) or ramification(s) for outright misdemeanour(s) / minor errors of judgement?
· How does RICS navigate appropriate solution(s) between the two boundaries?
· Many have also asked, when things go wrong and/or an appeal is made, who is regulating ‘the regulator’? [the recent RICS consultation seeks to address this too].
In an attempt to maintain confidence in the profession and the regulatory framework to which it exists within, the RICS has (since its inception), relied upon members [and firms] to adopt and maintain a well-documented standards hierarchy, implemented by way of a suite of professional statements and guidance notes. With a growing global presence, the RICS Rules of Conduct [hereon referred to as ‘the Rules’] introduced and applied in each geographic area, potentially brings with it a unique set of challenges. It is very difficult to apply a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to the general administration of ‘the Rules’, and that is the principal challenge for any professional body with a global footprint. That said, to maintain an objective and consistent approach to the application of ‘the Rules’ and ensure, that public interest and trust in the profession is maintained, all members [and regulated Firms] are required to stay abreast of them.
Last year the RICS, along with our Founder & Chairman, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS, embarked upon a review of ‘the Rules’ for members and regulated firms, which historically have proved quite challenging both to understand and administer. The RICS, as a self-regulating body, sought to address several challenges and set about an in-depth review of ‘the Rules’, followed by a lengthy consultation, which was welcomed by many across the profession. Building upon the results in the Defining Our Future report, and along with other subject matter experts, including Christine O’Rourke, RICS Head of Conduct Standards; a new suite of documents will soon be published, the latter of which will [offer an Ethics FAQ] and cover an array of areas including:
Bribery, corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing
Conflicts of interest
Ethics [refer to the Global Professional & Ethics Standards]
Rules of Conduct
As advised above, amendments to ‘the Rules’ will soon be implemented and offered to members both in the UK, Ireland and all overseas territories. With reference to Ethics, all Chartered Surveyors are required to uphold and identify with the following 5 ethical standards, which should all be read in conjunction with the applicable regulatory notes [Version 7] along with a very useful decision tree:
Every member of the RICS must:
Act with integrity
Always provide a high standard of service
Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession
Treat others with respect
The DCS 'African Union'
As part of our on-going [and growing] partnership with various individuals, government / public, private and membership-led, sector based organisations, located across the African continent, our Chairman was recently approached by the ISU [Uganda], Leadership Committee. The ask was to deliver an update to members regarding the above, noting the 'country specific challenges' disclosed by ISU members themselves. Such a request is a huge vote of continued confidence into the brand and mission of DiverseCity Surveyors, and one that now extends beyond our UK footprint of activity during the last 15years.
Our strapline of “individual potential” is now resonating and being sought by many professionals located in countries across West and East Africa where [pre and post] RICS APC advice, wider post-qualification [and mid-management] professional career guidance and other topical CPD support, is desired. Affordability in these emerging economic areas remains a key issue [citing Agenda 2063 and the entire AfCFTA economic block, headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia] and at DiverseCity Surveyors, we continue to do all that is humanly possible to accommodate and compliment the efforts of others including the RICS, whilst maintaining the unique value proposition afforded to us as professional members. At DCS, it has always been ‘by Surveyors for Surveyors’ and that perspective has now come into its own, with both technology and various project funding / financial organisations, now seeking our 'repatriated' local knowledge and support.
Credit: ISU / DCS
So, the event to be hosted by ISU [an ICMSC Coalition Member], marks yet another pivotal milestone in the journey for professional surveyors [and local firms] on the continent who are desirous of increasingly higher levels of professionalism that will allow them to compete, like for like, with those service offers duly expected and offered by, other established professional services firms across the globe. The event itself is designed to accommodate and service the growing ‘individual’ needs of ISU professionals, all of whom aspire to compete and service the growing post-BREXIT [Commonwealth-led] FDI flows across the globe, much of which is also demanding tougher ESG deliverables [see also the RICS Guidance Note], in pursuit of greater levels of sustainability and carbon neutrality.
Credit: The Future Report 
Along with the ‘positively disruptive’ impact(s) of digital transformation, the time to realign our core values as Chartered Surveyors, has never been greater or more pressing. Clearly some challenging, but equally exciting times ahead for all – particularly those on the continent; further announcements to follow, watch this space....!