Consultant found in breach of code of professional conduct

A consultant member was found to be in breach of the professional code of conduct by the conduct and discipline panel in April for failing to exercise due care and diligence in carrying out duties to the client.

The member appealed against the decision by way of written representations. The appeal committee has upheld the panel's findings and agreed that the member did misdirect the client to the wrong venue for an appeal hearing and failed to submit material evidence to the Planning Inspectorate in advance of the hearing, both of which amounted to a failure to exercise due care and diligence in breach of clause (c) of the code.

The committee also found that the member was in breach of paragraph 7 by failing to issue written terms of engagement to the client for the additional work to be carried out in respect of the subsequent appeal. Written terms of engagement had been provided to the client in respect of the lodging of the initial application but further notification should have been sent setting out the fee proposal and scope of work to be carried out for the appeal. The committee also raised concern over the details provided in the initial written terms of engagement. These should have provided a clear description of the scope of work on which the fee estimate was based and should have set out clearly who would be dealing with the work, together with their respective charging rates. This is particularly important where a junior member deals with a matter but is overseen by a senior member and different rates are applied. The committee agreed that the member should be reprimanded without being named in the published report.

For more information on the code, please email RTPI complaints investigator Sandra Whitehead at sandra.whitehead@rtpi.org.uk


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