Professional Standards Guidance Note – Drafting PCC Decisions
The Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) has a professional and legal duty to give reasons for the decisions it reaches, so that its findings can be readily understood. This gives the architect concerned the right to a fair trial and allows them to appeal the decision should they so wish.
Furthermore, the Architects Registration Board has a responsibility to act openly and transparently. In taking this open and transparent approach, decisions reached by the PCC help to provide learning points for architects.
When the PCC makes a finding, it should be recorded in a way that allows any interested party to understand what was decided, and why. The issues being considered, findings of fact reached, and conclusions arrived at should be easily understandable, without the need to refer to any other source.
A PCC decision should include:
- details of the parties involved in the case
- a background to the case to allow readers to understand the issues being considered
- specific allegations being made against the architect
- any preliminary matters dealt with, including any advice that was received from the Clerk to the PCC
- findings of fact relating to matters that were disputed
- conclusions reached on any submissions made
- whether the proven facts amount to unacceptable professional conduct and/or serious professional incompetence
- any findings reached based on evidence given through mitigation or aggravation
- the penalty imposed, with reference to the Indicative Sanctions Guidance
While the nature of every case means that a certain uniqueness in drafting style is necessary, PCC Chairs are encouraged to have regard to each other’s decisions to ensure a consistent approach in drafting decisions.
All decisions should, however, be written clearly and explicitly, avoiding jargon, overly technical language, or unexplained acronyms. They should be formatted into numbered paragraphs containing short and legible sentences.