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Hot Topic Highlight - RICS Policy Priorities for 2019/2020

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What is today's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we look at the RICS’ policy priorities for 2019/2020. You can also listen to our CPD podcast on Anchor for more free AssocRICS and RICS APC training and support.

If you don't have time to read the blog today, make sure you bookmark it for later and just watch our 1 minute summary below.

Why is this important?

All RICS APC candidates have to achieve Level 3 in the mandatory competency, Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Professionalism. For candidates following the pre-August 2018 pathways, this competency was previously known as Conduct Rules, Ethics and Professional Practice.

Being aware of the role, vision and objectives of RICS is an important part of this competency. This includes being aware of current industry issues and policy objectives.

What is the vision of RICS?

RICS’ vision, set out by Governing Council, is to be ‘recognised in key worldwide markets as the leading body that sets and enforces professional standards and offers access to the most sought after professional status’.

The RICS Presidential Team, elected by Governing Council and led by current President, Chris Brooke FRICS, provides strategic leadership and oversight to the highest priority issues facing the organisation.

What are RICS’ policy priorities for 2019/2020?

The RICS Government Relations team has set out three policy priorities for 2019/2020. These will help to ‘inform and advise decision makers across the national and regional government administrations’, allowing RICS to work collaboratively with stakeholders in the real estate sector to bring forward positive social change.

The three policy priorities are:

1. Housing supply

2. Saving the high street

3. Climate change

1. Housing Supply

The 2017 Government Housing White Paper, ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’, confirmed that the UK is not providing enough housing in the right places to meet demand. This forms the focus of the first RICS policy priority.

RICS have stated that ‘affordability and the dream of home ownership is being worn away by successive governments chasing arbitrary housing delivery numbers, blinkered home ownership ambitions, constant tinkering with stamp duty and taxes, and creating a not fit for purpose planning system’.

RICS have, therefore, called for the Government to provide a sustainable system of housing delivery and a fit for purpose planning system. This should deliver housing in sufficient numbers, in addition to meeting tenure, socio-economic and connectivity needs.

RICS have also called for the Government to ensure a continued focus on building standards and community engagement. They have also promoted Modern Methods of Construction as a method to deliver social housing, whole life homes and more sustainable housing.

2. Saving the high street

The second policy priority relates to saving the high street, following a fundamental shift in consumer shopping habits and retail trends. This primarily relates to the increased competition from online shopping and out of town retailing, together with under-investment in many town centres.

RICS have stated that ‘if our high streets are to survive then we need urgent action – but what more can be done?’.

Their recommendations relate to sustainable rental levels, business rates reform, impact of the Future High Streets Fund and Task Force, relevance of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1954, community-focussed high street developments and Business Improvement Districts.

3. Climate change

The third and final policy priority is climate change. This is because the current UK target is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with many towns and cities aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030.

The UK has also committed to delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which will need to be implemented across the planning and development processes.

The built environment contributes 30-40% of total carbon emissions, through both operation and construction. RICS, therefore, recognise the ‘need to change behaviours and processes to provide for growing populations, without compromising fragile eco-systems’. One tool to do this will be the forthcoming ICMS (2nd Edition), which will help to drive ‘whole life-cycle sustainable infrastructure’.

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Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.