At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) in London on 7 April 2016, Mrs Mary Tadros was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and suspended from the Register of Architects for two years.
Mrs Tadros was charged with unacceptable professional conduct based on two allegations, that she failed to provide evidence of adequate and appropriate Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) or that she failed to maintain adequate and appropriate PII.
The case arose out of a complaint made to the ARB. When asked by the ARB to provide evidence of her current insurance policy as is the standard policy when receiving such complaints, it was alleged that Mrs Tadros was unable to provide evidence of PII and that she had failed to maintain adequate insurance cover.
Mrs Tadros attended the hearing via telephone and denied the allegations. She said she was covered by her employers’ insurance policy for work undertaken in that capacity, but she was unable to provide evidence to demonstrate that she was insured for any work she undertook privately. She subsequently accepted that the work which related to the preparation of survey drawings, amounted to architectural work. She conceded that the work was undertaken in a private capacity as a sole trader, that she did not have PII in place for such work but should the commission have gone further, she would have ensured the PII was in place.
The PCC found that Mrs Tadros had been given numerous opportunities to provide evidence of her personal PII cover but had failed to do so. The documentation she did provide, supposedly to confirm that such cover was in place, was not evidence of adequate and appropriate PII cover, but was a proposal form dating back to 2011 in the name of a different company. It found that it was a proper inference to draw, on the balance of probabilities, that she had failed to maintain adequate and appropriate insurance cover.
The PCC considered that Mrs Tadros’s failure to have adequate and appropriate PII was serious. It noted that such a failing put both the architect and the client at risk in the event that a claim is successfully made against the architect. It further noted that members of the public should be able to expect that their architect has sufficient PII cover in place and that a failure to do so severely compromises the reputation of both the architect personally but also that of the profession.
In considering sanction, while the PCC noted that Mrs Tadros had no previous disciplinary history, she had engaged in the regulatory process but she had demonstrated little insight into her failings. It noted that she had failed to appreciate that she needed to obtain PII cover in respect of work undertaken by her in a personal capacity and that such cover needed to be in place at the time a claim is made, rather than just when the work was undertaken. It further considered that Mrs Tadros had been given ample opportunity to address the ARB’s concerns but her responses were evasive and unprofessional. The PCC considered that in light of her lack of understanding, there remained a risk of her continuing to practise uninsured and therefore she posed a continued risk to the public. In the circumstances it decided that the most appropriate penalty was that Mrs Tadros should be suspended from the Register for a period of two years.
A copy of the Committee’s decision can be found here.