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Flashcards in 04 Ethics Deck (43)
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How would you define ethical behaviour for a chartered surveyor?

Acting in accordance with the 5 RICS professional and ethical standards


Why are the ethical standards important?

Create a clear and streamlined guide to members to ensure that clients and anyone else who deals with the RICS has confidence in the profession


Name the RICS professional and ethical standards.

  1. Act with integrity
  2. Always provide a high standard of service
  3. Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession
  4. Treat others with respect
  5. Take responsibility


What is meant by 'act with integrity'?

  • Being honest and trustworthy in all that I do
  • Transparent, respecting confidential information, not taking advantage of anyone, not allowing bias or pressures affect my judgement or obligations, not accepting gifts or hospitality that might suggest an improper obligation, acting in the interest of the public


What is meant by 'provide a high level of service'?

  • Ensuring the best possible advice, support or performance is given to my clients
  • Be clear about the service being provided, act within my scope of competence, transparent about fees and any other costs or payments, communicate with clients in a way that allows them to make informed decisions


What is meant by 'promote trust within the profession'?

  • Act in a manner, both in professional and private life, that promotes me and my firm in a positive way
  • Promote the highest standards globally, amending behaviour to suit others, fulfil obligations


What is meant by 'treat others with respect'?

  • Be courteous, polite and consider cultural sensitivities and business practices
  • Never discriminate, encourage the fair and respectful treatment of clients


What is meant by 'take responsibility'?

  • Be accountable for my actions and don’t blame others if things go wrong
  • Always act with skill, care and diligence, respond to complaints in the appropriate professional manner, prepare to question things that don't seem right


Give some examples of how you reflect the RICS ethical standards in your work.

  1. Integrity - turning down an invitation from a contractor whilst settling the final account
  2. High standard of service - referring clients to specialists when scope is outside competence
  3. Trust - rejecting the early certification of work
  4. Respect - working with people from different backgrounds equally
  5. Responsibility - questioning unsafe working on site


What is the RICS Decision Tree?

Flowchart to help members decide how to act in difficult situations where their professional ethics may be at stake


What factors does the RICS Decision Tree consider?

  1. Sufficient facts
  2. Legality
  3. Ethical standards
  4. Consultation of appropriate people
  5. Clear reasoning
  6. Impact if actions made public


What is a conflict of interest?

Anything that impedes or might be perceived to impede an individual's or firm's ability to act impartially and in the best interest of a client


Give some examples of where conflicts of interest may arise.

  1. Acting for two different parties with competing interests at the same time
  2. Financial interests (e.g. gaining over and above your normal fee)
  3. Personal relationship
  4. Commercial relationship
  5. Interests of your firm conflict with that of your client


What should a surveyor do if a conflict of interest arises?

  1. Should be dealt with by implementing openness and transparency
  2. Declare any conflicts of interest clearly to all parties ASAP and offer to stand down from acting for any party
  3. All parties can then decide how they wish to proceed and if there are any objections you must stand down


Describe a conflict of interest you have experienced and how it was resolved.

  • Refused to accept certain gifts/hospitality from a contractor whilst settling the final account due to timing and how this may be seen as affecting impartiality
  • Resolved by referring to the RICS Professional and Ethical Standards Decision Tree to aid my decision to refuse


What is a 'Chinese Wall'?

An information barrier within an organisation used in order to prevent exchanges or communication that could lead to a conflict of interest


Can one part of a chartered surveying practice work for a client, whilst another part of the practice is working for a different client who has conflicting interests to the first?

  • Yes, providing a Chinese wall is effectively implemented
  • Teams should be physically separated in different parts of the building (or in different buildings)
  • Requires a compliance officer to monitor the 'wall' - education and training must be made available to those managing the wall


You're acting on behalf of a client in a dilapidations claim and realise you know the other party personally - what should you do?

  • Declare any conflicts of interest clearly to all parties ASAP and offer to stand down from acting for any party
  • All parties can then decide how they wish to proceed and if there are any objections you must stand down


Your neighbour asks you for help in designing a loft conversion - what would you do?

  1. No terms and conditions
  2. No PII
  3. Potential conflict of interest
  4. Follow the RICS Decision Tree
  5. Say no and offer to set up a formal meeting with a director of my firm
  6. Alternatively, refer them to the RICS 'Find a Surveyor' service


What is a bribe?

  • The exchange of something of value in return for someone doing or agreeing to do something improper in a business context
  • Bribery also covers the offer or request for a bribe, even if it is not completed


What legislation exists in relation to bribery in the UK?

Bribery Act 2010


What is the purpose of the current UK legislation on bribery?

Criminalises bribery in the UK, making it a criminal offence to directly or indirectly:

  • Offer, promise or give a bribe
  • Request, agree to receive or accept a bribe


What legislation has the current bribery legislation repealed?

  1. Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889
  2. Prevention of Corruption Act 1906
  3. Prevention of Corruption Act 1916


What are the penalties under the current bribery legislation?

A maximum 10 years' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine


Who does the current bribery legislation affect?

Near-universal jurisdiction, allowing for prosecution of UK individuals or companies doing business overseas, as well as overseas individuals or companies doing business in the UK


What standard are judgements under the current bribery legislation based upon?

Judgments are decided based on the 'reasonable person' test


What are facilitation payments and what is their legal status?

  • Also known as 'grease' or 'speed' payments
  • Unofficial payments made to public officials in order to secure or expedite the performance of a routine government action
  • Illegal under the Bribery Act 2010


How can bribes affect surveyors?

Can be vulnerable to bribes because of the role they play in facilitating transactions, checking owners/contractors are complying with legislation and awarding construction contracts


Would the offer or acceptance of gifts or hospitality amount to a bribe?

  • Could amount to a bribe if they are intended to induce someone to behave in a manner that breaches an expectation that they will act in good faith and impartially
  • However, bona fide hospitality and promotion intended to improve the image of an organisation, better present products and services or establish cordial relations is seen as an established and important part of doing business and is not criminalised under the Act


What considerations should RICS members have in relation to offering or accepting gifts and hospitality?

RICS members should follow these rules:

  1. Only offer or accept gifts and hospitality that are customary, proportionate and reasonable in terms of value and frequency
  2. Never offer or accept any gift or hospitality if it may improperly influence your decisions/judgement or give the appearance of doing so (e.g. consider the timing of the gift)
  3. Only offer or accept gifts and hospitality that you would be happy for others to know about
  4. Follow the policies and procedures of your employer in relation to gifts, hospitality and promotional expenditure - e.g. record in company's gifts and hospitality register
  5. Report any concerns about bribery to your employer or to RICS Regulation