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Standards v Guidance

Almost since the very first Red Book in the 1970s the mandatory “rules” have been distinguished from content which supports the rules but which is of itself not mandatory.  In the current editions we have PSs and VPSs which are mandatory and then VPGAs which are advisory (10 in the Global and 18 in the UK Supplement). 

In any professional discipline requiring judgement , guidance on what is generally accepted as good practice in different situations is vital.  However, the range of different types of valuation undertaken by RICS valuers and the reasons for which they are carried out is huge.  Some need knowledge of specific statutory or regulatory frameworks.  Increasingly members specialise in a few specific areas.  How many Red Book users need to have side by side guidance on matters as diverse as valuing fuel stations and fine art (in the Global Standards) or local authority assets for financial reporting  and assessing affordable rents (in the UK Supplement)?

Bundling such diverse sub-specialisms together is not only confusing for client-side users, but it also risks giving valuers the impression that they can “have a go” at matters for which they really do not have the expertise, thus undermining PS2.2.   And of course the Red Book does not contain the only valuation guidance issued by RICS.  There are at least 30 separate RICS Guidance Notes on valuation related subjects, which have a similar status to the VPGAs.  Some of these GNs relate to matters already included in a VPGA, e.g. Compulsory Purchase is covered in a UK VPGA and a separate Practice Statement.

What do you think?
Should RICS respond to the comment in the Pereira-Gray Review that the Red Book would benefit from its structure being simplified by refocussing it on just the standards (i.e. the minimum mandatory requirements applicable to all valuations), with asset and application specific material being removed into standalone guidance focussed on different specialisms?

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