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In July 2016 a Consent Order Panel of the Professional Conduct Committee issued a £2000 penalty order to Mr Andrew MacSwayed of Tonbridge, Kent after he admitted unacceptable professional conduct.

Mr MacSwayed accepted that the terms of engagement issued to his clients was inadequate and did not comply with the Code of Conduct. He also accepted that he had failed to adhere to terms agreed at the outset, failed to carry out work without undue delay, failed to communicate adequately with his client, that he had withheld drawings until his client had agreed to new terms and conditions and that he had issued inaccurate and/ or unjustified invoices. Mr MacSwayed accepted that his actions amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.

The ARB took into account that while Mr MacSwayed did not deal with any day to day fee agreements, billing or invoicing issues, he assumed overall responsibility for the process. It further took account of the fact the company had changed its procedures since the complaint was raised, which means he now signs each invoice.

The ARB submitted that as Mr MacSwayed’s conduct had a serious impact on his client, the imposition of a reprimand would fail to mark the gravity of the numerous admitted failings. However it was acknowledged that this was the first disciplinary matter Mr MacSwayed had been involved in, and that he had demonstrated insight into his failings. It was agreed that the appropriate sanction was a £2000 penalty order, and this was approved by the Professional Conduct Committee.

A copy of the Consent Order can be found here.

Notes for Editors

ARB is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. The Act requires ARB (among other things) to:

· Maintain the Register of Architects (Section 3)

· Prescribe qualifications for entry to the Register of Architects (Section 4)

· Deal with competence to practise (Section 9)

· Issue a Code which lays down standards of professional conduct and practice (Section 13)

· Regulate use of the title “architect” and prosecute those who use it unlawfully (Section 20)

The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The Committee determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence. Where a guilty finding is made, the Committee will consider whether to make a disciplinary order, which means:

· a reprimand

· a penalty order (to a maximum of £2,500 for each offence)

· a suspension order (to a maximum of 2 years); or

· an erasure order

Consent Orders are a new process for cases to be resolved by consent without the need for a public hearing. Disposal of appropriate cases by consent is an effective case management tool which reduces time taken to deal with allegations, and avoids the stress and cost of a full hearing. A Consent Order is entirely voluntary, and will only be proposed where it would not be detrimental to the public interest.

Money raised by fines imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee is paid to HM Treasury.

Any queries relating to this matter should be directed to professionalstandards@arb.org.uk

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