The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) was hoping to spend this year celebrating its 150th anniversary, but instead it is now busy dealing with the consequences of last month’s The Presidents Club charity black tie do in central London.
RICS now says it may expel any member proved to have broken its ethical code of conduct while attending the event, where it is alleged hostesses were propositioned for sex and groped.
It is over two weeks since the scandal broke after a Financial Times reporter gained access to the event while posing as an agency hostess, but RICS now says it has been moved to comment about the “inappropriate behaviour towards female hostesses” working at the black-tie do at The Dorchester hotel.
This follows the publication of the guest list by The Guardian last week, which revealed that the property industry was heavily represented at The Presidents Club event.
In response to this, the venerable institutions says: “RICS does not regulate the entire real estate sector.
“As a professional body, RICS has a code of ethical conduct for members of its profession. It applies to all members of the profession, at all times – there is no moment or place when a professional can ignore the requirements of the ethical code that they have signed up to.
“We are therefore very clear on our primary response to those asking questions of us: if we receive evidence of misconduct on the part of a member of this profession, we will investigate and take whatever disciplinary action is necessary. The range of sanctions that can be applied by our independent disciplinary panel includes expulsion from the profession.”
RICS also says that it is already working on a range of initiatives with the property industry to bring “a more diverse range of people” into the sector including a recent call for more women to join the industry, and that it was “a time for change, in no uncertain terms”.