Mr Faheem Aftab
THE ARCHITECTS REGISTRATION BOARD
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
In the matter of
Registration No. 063106J
Held as a video conference
8-12 May 2023
Andrew Webster KC (Chair)
Robert Dearman (PCC Architect Member)
Jules Griffiths (PCC Lay Member)
In this case, the ARB is represented by Greg Foxsmith of Kingsley Napley LLP.
Faheem Aftab (“the Registered Person”) has attended this hearing but is not legally represented.
The PCC found the Registered Person guilty of unacceptable professional conduct (“UPC”) in that he:
(1) acted contrary to the requirements of Standard 9.2. of the Architects Code in that APH Architects Ltd, of which he was the Principal and/or Director, was subject to an Employment Tribunal Judgment (“the Judgment”) and he:
(a) Failed to pay the financial order as instructed by the Judgment; and/or
(b) Failed to notify the Registrar of the Judgment within 28 days
(2) The Registered Person’s actions at particular 1 (a) and/or 1 (b) lacked integrity;
and that by doing so, he acted in breach of Standards 1.1, 9.1 and 9.2 of the Architects Code: Standards of Conduct and Practice 2017 (“the Code”).
The sanction imposed is erasure.
- The charge made against the Registered Person is that he is guilty of Unacceptable Professional Conduct (“UPC”). The particulars in support of the charge are:
“(1) The Registered Person acted contrary to the requirements of Standard 9.2. of the Architects Code in that APH Architects Ltd, of which he was the Principal and/or Director, was subject to an Employment Tribunal Judgment (“the Judgment”) and he:
(a) Failed to pay the financial order as instructed by the Judgment; and
(b)Failed to notify the registrar of the judgment within 28 days;
(2) The Registered Person’s actions at particular 1(a) and/or (b) lacked integrity;
(3) The Registered Person’s action at 1(b) were dishonest.”
- The charge comes before the PCC further to its jurisdiction under the Architects Act 1997, sections 14(3) and 15(1)(a) to determine whether an architect is guilty of UPC; and if so, to determine whether a disciplinary order ought to be made in consequence thereof; and if so, what order should be imposed.
- The Registered Person is a registered architect. On or about 26 February 2021 a complaint was made to ARB that the Registered Person had failed to comply with the terms of a financial order made by the Employment Tribunal. Following investigation, a report dated 24 February 2022 was submitted to the PCC.
- The Presenter made an application to hear matters relating to the Registered Person’s health to be heard in private in order to respect the registered Person’s Article 6, ECHR rights. There was no objection to the application. Having balanced the interests of the public with the interests of the Registered Person, the PCC determined that it would be proportionate to hear such evidence in private.
Response to Charge and Admissions of Fact
- The Registered Person, upon the charge having been read to him, admitted particulars 1(a) and 1(b) of the charge and admitted, upon that basis, the allegation of UPC. The registered Person otherwise denied the charge.
- In the light of the admissions made, the PCC determined that PARTICULARS 1(a) AND 1(b) OF THE CHARGE WERE FOUND PROVED.
- The PCC had regard to the evidence, presented in witness statements of Kalwant Gill-Faci (“the Referrer”) Clementine Baldwin and Viviana Schejtman. The PCC also heard the Referrer, the Registered Person and Dr Jo Deakin, the Registered Person’s spouse, in person. The PCC also has regard to the documentary material presented with the Report to the PCC and documentary material produced in a defence bundle, a supplementary defence bundle and further letter from Dr Jo Deakin. The Presenter and the Registered Person made oral submissions on the evidence.
- In her witness statement the Referrer stated that in January 2019 she was invited by the Registered Person to join his company, APH Architects Ltd (“APH”) as a “director.” She commenced employment on 14 January 2019. The professional relationship broke down and the Referrer left in April 2019. She stated that she did not receive full remuneration for time worked and raised proceedings in the Employment Tribunal (“ET”). On 7 November 2019 the ET determined that APH had made unauthorised deductions from the Referrer’s wages and was ordered to pay her the gross sum of £5,000.41 (wages) and £634.61 (pension); to pay damages for breach of contract in the amount of £1,057.69 and a further £704.42 in respect of holiday entitlement. The judgment of the ET was produced to the PCC. The Referrer stated that the sums ordered to be paid had not been paid, despite recovery proceedings.
- Ms Baldwin, a legal assistant with Kingsley Napley LLP, stated, under reference to information obtained from Companies House, that the Registered Person was a director of AHP Architects Ltd, with a correspondence address the same as that of the Registered Person in the paperwork submitted to the ET.
- Ms Schejtman’s witness statement recorded that ARB received the complaint from the Referrer on 26 February 2021. ARB did not receive notification from the Registered Person detailing the fact that he had been subject to an ET judgment prior to the complaint.
- In her oral evidence the Referrer adopted her written statement as her evidence. She stated that when working with the Registered Person she had become aware by March 2019 of the Registered Person missing deadlines. She was concerned as to her own professional standing as a result. She resigned. She later received a letter from him criticising her work. She did not accept the criticism. She said there were cash flow difficulties within the practice and that when a second salary payment was late she decided to leave. She was not paid in full. She raised ET proceedings, in which she was successful. She said she had never been paid in respect of the successful award against APH. APH was dissolved and she realised she would not be paid. She complained to ARB as she believed some sort of justice was required for what had been done to her. She said the non-payment had impacted upon her mental health, which she detailed to the PCC. Finally, she said the Registered Person had been in contact with her by voicemail shortly after the complaint had been made, to ask if they could ”work through things.” There had, however, been no further communication from the Registered Person.
- In cross-examination the Referrer stated that she was unaware of having failed to attend meetings with a client. She said that having spoken to the relevant client, that client did not share the Registered Person’s belief that he lost work because she did not attend a meeting. She denied having any discussion with the Registered Person in which she threatened reporting him to ARB for non-payment of her salary.
- In response to questions from the PCC she said that she had been told by the Registered Person at about Christmas 2018 that he had been suffering with a health condition. She said that the Registered Person had a learning difficulty. Whilst with APH she observed that he struggled to do his work. She said she had to work hard to keep the business afloat because of that.
- The Registered Person in his oral evidence described his health in the period from 2016 to date. He observed that 2019 was a transitional period of his life. He failed to remember things, such as making mortgage payments. He described a range of medical issues that he had suffered over the last few years.
- He described his career before establishing APH. He also said that when the Referrer left, and with his health deteriorating, he handed the work of the practice to another architect to complete. He stopped working.
- In cross-examination he said he had been confident setting up APH because of the assistance he would have from others. His health had, however quickly declined. The Referrer had not attended a number of meetings. He had not wound-up APH. When asked why he did not pay the Referrer he said it was “about timescales.” When asked what he might have done differently, he said he would not have started a business. He said it was legitimate of him to sack the Referrer. He said he was deeply sorry for what had arisen. He said that the letter of termination of employment to the Referrer, dated 3 April 2019, had in the light of his learning difficulty been compiled by himself and Damian Hosty. He rejected the idea that he had acted without integrity on the basis that he was not aware of what was going on at the time and had not sought to mislead anyone. He said he had no recollection of leaving a voicemail for the Referrer after having been notified about the complaint to ARB. He had contacted ARB immediately after receiving notice of the complaint. He said he could not afford to be dishonest.
- In response to questions from the PCC he said that Damien Hosty was not employed by APH. He was a friend, looking after him. He said he had been in denial as regards his health and had not been disclosing matters to his General Practitioner. He said that the medical notes he had presented were extracted by him from a large bundle of notes. He said that the notes presented were the ones that he considered to be relevant. He said he was diagnosed with long covid in June 2020.
- Dr Jo Deakin, the Registered Person’s wife also gave evidence. She also spoke to the Registered Person’s health. After he started his company, things got worse for the Registered Person. He was assisted in financial matters by his friend Damian, who she described as his “financial advisor.” She said the Registered Person’s post built up, answered. She was unaware other than by the explanation given by the Registered Person why the Referrer had left APH. She recalled that the Registered Person passed his work on to other architects. There had been no payment for a project undertaken with one client. She and the Registered Person had separated. In cross-examination she confirmed some of the health conditions that the Registered Person had given evidence about. She said the Registered Person was ”in an absolutely terrible place” at the end of 2019, and that he was not able to function.
- Having regard to the whole evidence before it, the PCC reached the following findings of fact.
Findings of fact
- In reaching its decision the PCC carefully considered the submissions made, together with the evidence presented to it.
- The PCC also has regard to the advice of the Legally Qualified Chair that on disputed issues of fact, the onus of proof was on ARB and that the standard of proof was the civil standard of the balance of probabilities. In determining the facts, the PCC considered the evidence in the round and noted that it was entitled to draw reasonable inferences from established facts, but that it was not to speculate.
Particular 1 (a) and (b): ADMITTED AND FOUND PROVED
- The Registered Person admitted these allegations and they were found proved in the light of that admission.
Particular 2: FOUND PROVED IN RELATION TO PARTICULARS 1(a) and (b)
- In considering the issue of integrity the PCC accepts the Presenter’s submission under reference to Wingate v Solicitors Regulatory Authority  1 WLR 3696 that integrity entails maintaining the higher standards which society expects from professional persons and which professionals expect from their own members in the light of the way in which the profession professes to serve the public.
- The PCC also had regard to the terms of Standard 9.2 of The Architects Code: Standards of Professional Conduct and Practice (“the Code”) which provides:
“9.2 You are expected to conduct yourself in a way which does not bring either yourself or the profession into disrepute. If you find yourself in a position where you know that you have fallen short of these standards, or that your conduct could reflect badly on the profession, you are expected to report the matter to ARB. You should notify the registrar within 28 days if, for example, you:
- fail to pay a judgment debt”.
- The PCC also noted the terms of the Advisory Notes issued by ARB in relation to the Architects Code. In that regard, it noted that a lack of integrity does not require an intentional act; and that reckless conduct may be characterised as lacking in integrity.
- The issue of fact in respect of this particular of the charge was the degree of cognitive impairment, if any, the Registered Person has been suffering since 2019, when the ET passed judgment against APH, in so far as that might be relevant to the issue of the extent to which the Registered Person had acted with integrity.
- The PCC found the medical records produced were of limited reliability. The Registered Person stated in his evidence that the records produced were only part of a bundle available to him. The records that were produced appeared partial and far from being a comprehensive record of the Registered Person’s health over the relevant period. Some of the health conditions described by the Registered Person were determined to be implausible not to have been recorded, having regard to their seriousness and likely involvement of other medical practitioners in tertiary care, notwithstanding the Registered Person’s evidence that he downplayed the seriousness of his symptoms at the time.
- However, the medical records provided an independent basis upon which to assess the oral evidence of impairment in 2019 and thereafter. The PCC preferred the apparently contemporaneous medical notes over the oral evidence as to impairment of function. The PCC accepted that there had been some low mood in 2019, but not as much impairment of function as was described by the Registered Person. The PCC noted the email correspondence sent in November 2019 by Damian Hosty. The PCC did not hear from Mr Hosty, but both the Registered Person and Dr Deakin, when asked, raised no concerns as to the probity of that individual. He stated in that correspondence that he had spoken to the Registered Person regarding “a number of issues” APH was facing and had agreed action plans with the Registered Person to settle them. As regards the judgment debt, there was an indication of a willingness to pay, but only over time, once funds were available. A subsequent email advised that it was anticipated that APH would be placed in funds to meet the debt. The PCC also noted that in 2020 the Registered Person was approached by High Court Enforcement Officers who recorded the Registered Person’s awareness of the judgment debt and that he was desirous of resolving the matter and was making certain enquiries.
- The PCC takes the view that the independent documentary evidence demonstrates, on the balance of probabilities that the Registered Person’s cognitive functions were not so impaired that in 2019 and 2020 that the Registered Person was unaware of the judgment debt, nor that he had not paid it (in the sense of having his company, APH, discharge its debts). The PCC therefore concludes on the balance of probabilities that he was so aware. The PCC also concludes on the balance of probabilities, that in the light of its view as to the Registered Person’s cognitive ability to appreciate the unmet judgement debt, the Registered Person had such a degree of cognitive ability, he also had the ability to appreciate the terms of the Code and the expectation to advise ARB of the failure to make payment within 28 days. The Registered Person admitted that he did not do so.
- The PCC thus determined on the balance of probabilities that the Registered Person was aware in 2019 and 2020 and thereafter of the expectations of an architect to comply with the Code, including Standard 9.2 and that he had failed to so comply in the manner set out, and admitted, in Particulars 1(a) and 1(b) of the charge. The PCC determined on the balance of probabilities that such failure amounted to a reckless disregard to the requirements of the Code and as such amounted a lack of integrity on the part of the Registered Person.
Particular 3: FOUND NOT PROVED
- In assessing whether the Registered Person’s conduct as admitted and found proved under Particular 1(b) were dishonest the PCC had regard to the decision in Ivey v Genting Casinos (UK) Ltd  UKSC 67. In the view of the PCC the Registered Person was, subjectively, aware at all material times of the judgment against APH, that the financial orders within it had not been paid, and that the outstanding judgment liability was not communicated to ARB after it had been outstanding for more than 28 days. However, in the view of the PCC, ordinary decent people would not consider that the Registered Person’s failure to communicate with ARB was dishonest as, in the assessment of the PCC, ARB had not proved on the balance of probabilities that it was more likely than not that the Registered Person’s failure was motivated by a desire or intention to deceive.
Finding on UPC
- The PCC proceeded to consider whether the Registered Person’s conduct amounted to UPC. UPC is defined by s. 14(1)(a) of the Architects Act 1997 as “conduct that falls short of the standard required of a registered person”.
- The PCC had regard to the advice of the Chair that the issue of whether the proved conduct amounts to UPC is one for the PCC’s independent judgment. The deficient conduct must be serious. The PCC also bore in mind that to reach a decision of UPC “a degree of moral blameworthiness on the part of the registrant likely to convey a degree of opprobrium to the ordinary intelligent citizen” was required (Spencer v General Osteopathic Council  EWHC 3147 (Admin),  1 WLR 1307) The PCC also reminded itself of the relevance of drawing a distinction between a single act and multiple acts of concern, viz.
“mere negligence does not constitute misconduct” and that “a single negligent act or omission is less likely to cross the threshold of misconduct than multiple acts or omissions and a single instance of negligent treatment unless very serious indeed, would be unlikely to constitute deficient professional performance.”
(R (Calhaem) v General Medical Council  EWHC 2606 (Admin).)
- The Presenter submitted that UPC had been established in respect of each and all of the findings of fact. Failure to pay the judgment sum showed a disregard to the legal system, to the Complainer, and to the reputation of the profession. Likewise, a failure to advise ARB as the Registered Person’s regulator of the outstanding debt was a similar disregard. Integrity was a fundamental principle of the profession and the public expect registered architects to act with integrity at all times. The failings were serious and amounted to UPC as they had the potential to substantially undermine confidence in the profession., even though falling short of dishonesty.
- In response the registered Person said he recognised the findings of the PCC as correct and that they were serious. He accepted the decision of the PCC that his conduct lacked integrity. He recognised that integrity was an essential aspect of the profession. He apologised for any hardship he had caused.
- The PCC regarded each and all of the particulars of the charge that had been proved to be serious. The Code sets out standards of conduct that the public are entitled to expect from registered architects.
- The Registered Person admitted UPC on the basis of his admission of Particulars 1(a) and 1(b). The PCC’s judgment was that his admission was apposite in the circumstances. Both matters demonstrated a serious departure from the standards of conduct to be expected of a registered architect. The PCC recalled Standard 9.1 of the Code, that registered architects should ensure that their professional finances are managed responsibly, as well as Standard 9.2 in relation to advising ARB of outstanding liabilities. The Registered Person’s failures resulted in the Referrer going without remuneration for her work. The PCC also accepted her uncontested evidence that she also suffered as a consequence, in terms of her personal health. Further, ARB was deprived of information relative to the Registered Person’s management of his professional financial liabilities and thus of its ability to properly regulate the profession having regard to the public’s expectation of architects, the management of their professional financial responsibilities and the reputation of the profession generally. The Registered Person’s conduct also showed little regard for the determination and authority of the ET. Furthermore, in finding the Registered Person’s conduct in both aspects of Particular 1 as lacking integrity, the PCC Committee recalled Standard 1.1 of the Code, a Standard that on its own terms “underpins the Code”. Standard 1.1 states that a Registered Person is expected at all times to act with integrity. The PCC’s judgment was that whether looked at individually or collectively the Registered Person’s proven conduct fell seriously below the standard expected of a registered architect. It had serious effect on the Referrer and serious adverse consequences for the reputation of the profession. In the view of the PCC, the profession would regard each and all of the matters proved as deplorable. The Committee therefore had no hesitation in concluding that the Registered Person’s conduct as found proved under Particulars 1(a), 1(b) and 2 individually and collectively amounted to UPC.
- The PCC, having found the Registered Person guilty of UPC, went on to consider whether a disciplinary order was necessary.
- The Presenter drew to the attention of the PCC the Registered Person’s past regulatory history. The Registered Person was found guilty of UPC in July 2012 in respect of various allegations, including of actions contrary to Standards 1, 1.5, 2, 11.1 and 11.4 of the Architects Code of Conduct 2002, which allegations the Registered Person had admitted. Following an “appeal”, the sanction imposed was set aside and a dishonesty allegation (which had not been admitted) was considered of new in 2013 along with the earlier admitted matters which had previously been found proved. In June 2013 the PCC determined that the Registered Person was guilty of UPC in respect of the earlier admitted allegations and in respect of the reconsidered allegation, which, in broad terms, was of having informed ARB that his insurance was covering him for a project when he was aware that the insurers had previously declined cover. The Registered Person was, however, found not to have been dishonest, nor was his integrity called into question, but his conduct was described by the PCC on that occasion as “appalling.” In respect of both findings of UPC he was suspended from practising for a period of two years, “by the narrowest of margins”; in context, in contrast to erasure. On that latter occasion he was considered to be remorseful and contrite.
- Under reference to the Sanctions Guidance, the Presenter submitted that aggravating factors in this case included a substantial risk of harm to the public, including financial harm. He noted the financial impact identified by the PCC in this case and drew parallels with the earlier UPC findings. He acknowledged the passage of time since the last findings, but submitted they were nevertheless relevant in the context of a pattern of poor conduct. He accepted there was no finding of dishonesty, but that the finding of lack of integrity was relevant as an aggravating factor. He recognised as a mitigating factor that there has been some evidence of insight and remorse, not least in the admissions made. He recognised the Registered Personal circumstances, including periods of stress and illness. He accepted that there had been some evidence of illness. He submitted that in the light of previous findings of UPC making no order was unlikely to be appropriate, but the precise order to be made was a matter for the judgment of the PCC.
- The Registered Person said that he understood and had tried to comply with the process of the investigation. He said he recognised that his illness did not condone or alleviate his responsibilities. He accepted he had duties to perform, but mistakes were made. He submitted that the financial consequences of his conduct were his, as was the moral responsibility. He said he would take steps to remedy the financial consequences. He then said he would like to be able to take remedial steps. He wanted to be in a position to ensure that would happen. However, he described how, as a result of the earlier PCC finding, which had in part been subject to criticism in the High Court, he had previously been unlawfully found to have acted dishonestly, and as a result he had lost five years of his career. He had found it hard to get employment.
- In response to questions from the PCC he described his employment history since 2013, including work as a registered architect, other than as a registered architect and periods of unemployment. He said he lived in the family home. He was supported by his mother. He had no significant savings. He would, however, meet any penalty order that might be imposed. He said he was sitting on a job offer requiring a registered architect that was dependent upon the determination of the proceedings. He would be supervised in that role by a registered architect. Asked to identify what he had learned from the matters charged in these proceedings he was said that providing information is fundamentally important and that checks and measures needed to be imposed. He had to realise the extent of his abilities and the need to only take on what he was capable of taking on; and when not, to flag it up and seek help and guidance. He said he understood the limits of his abilities. He relied on his lessons learned. He said he took on board the findings regarding integrity.
- The PCC, following the advice of the Legally Qualified Chair, reminded itself that the primary purpose of any sanction is to protect the public, uphold public confidence in the profession and to declare and uphold proper standards of conduct and competence. Sanctions are not imposed to punish architects, although sanctions may have a punitive effect. It also reminded itself of the need to have regard to the Sanctions Guidance issued by ARB, and of the need to act proportionately.
- The PCC considered the aggravating and mitigating factors in the case. In considering aggravating factors, the PCC determined that the Registered Person’s conduct presented a substantial risk of harm to clients and the wider public, noting the adverse financial and health consequences caused to Ms Gill-Faci and that adverse financial consequences were a feature of the earlier proceedings in 2012 and 2013. The PCC, whilst recognising the passage of time between the 2012 and 2013 proceedings and the present proceedings, also had regard to a pattern of financial harm being caused to the public and less than candid communications by the Registered Person with his regulator on financial matters affecting the interests of the public. What might otherwise have been a mitigating factor, that there had been 10 years or thereby between the earlier and the current concerns, that mitigation was itself reduced bearing in mind the employment history explained by the Registered Person and the limited period of time he was engaged in employment likely to give rise to responsibilities regarding the financial interests of the public and the potential to have to engage with ARB in respect of the same. Further aggravating factors were seen to include a failure to acknowledge failings, in not reporting the outstanding judgment debt to ARB promptly. He also acknowledged that he minimised his own health concerns, which was of concern as to his ability to appreciate the need for support going forward. Furthermore, the PCC noted that despite a wavering commitment to meet liabilities, the debt to Ms Gill-Faci had not been paid and therefore there had been no remediation, nor was there evidence of remedial action to avoid repetition. For example, the Registered Person did not seek to demonstrate any attempt to familiarise himself with the expectations of the Code.
- As to mitigating factor, the registered Person did express insight and remorse. However, the impression gained by the PCC was that whilst the registered Person made reference to expressions of apology and claimed to have some insight, in substance there was little, if anything, to demonstrate that. Notably, the indebtedness remained undischarged. The Registered person offered no concrete proposal as to how he would secure payment of the debt. When asked what he had learned from the last occasion when he had been found to have been less than candid with ARB and to explain why he had again been less than candid, the Registered Person who had hitherto been someone garrulous in his expressions of apology and understanding, struggled to find an answer. The impression of the PCC was that the Registered Person’s expressions of insight and remorse were superficial. The PCC recognised the health issues the Registered Person faced in 2019 and 2020 was also relevant mitigation, but tempered its mitigatory effect bearing in mind that the PCC concluded that his cognitive deficit not as significant as the Registered Person would have had the PCC believe. The PCC also had regard to the limited admission made at the start of the proceedings.
- The PCC considered first whether it would be appropriate to impose no sanction. However, the Registered Person’s conduct was not, especially when viewed in the light of past findings, considered to be at the low level of seriousness as would justify such an approach and the PCC identified no exceptional circumstances that would justify such a conclusion to proceedings, given the findings already reached.
- The PCC next considered whether a reprimand would adequately reflect its concerns as to the Registered Person’s conduct. The view of the PCC was that the Registered Person’s conduct was simply too serious to justify such a such a disposal. His conduct could not be described as not demonstrating a risk to the public. In the view of the PCC there had been serious harm and there was risk of future harm to the public. The Registered Person did not present with a previous good disciplinary conduct record. He had not taken corrective steps. His insight was, as commented upon, viewed by the PCC as somewhat superficial. The PCC did accept, however, that the Registered Person’s actions were not deliberate. That was not, however, sufficient to outweigh other considerations as to render a reprimand a proportionate response to the seriousness of the findings.
- The PCC then considered whether a penalty order would be a more appropriate disposal. The PCC determined that the established allegations were too serious to warrant such a disposal, especially bearing in mind the lack of integrity found proved, the limited insight shown and the and the risk of future harm to the public arising from the recurring nature of the Registered Person’s unacceptable professional conduct.
- The PCC therefore turned to consider the imposition of a suspension order. The seriousness of the Registered Person’s conduct found proved in these proceedings justified such an order. Such an order would have the ability to provide a degree of protection to the public. It would send a message out to the profession as to the seriousness of the Registered Person’s conduct and provided a marker as to behaviour unbefitting an architect. It would afford to the Registered Person a period for reflection to mitigate the prospect of repetition of his conduct. However, the PCC was concerned that the Registered Person demonstrated little meaningful insight into his conduct. It was also concerned that this was not the first time in his career that the Registered Person had been found guilty of UPC and that the current circumstances demonstrated repeated concerns as to the management of professional finances and the candour expected of a registered architect with their professional regulator. Such candour is an essential aspect of the ability of ARB to provide effective regulation of the profession and thus to maintain the reputation in the minds of the public. On the previous concerns the Registered Person was suspended for a period of two years, rather than have an erasure order imposed “by the narrowest of margins.” Concerningly, on this occasion the Registered Person has been found to have acted without integrity, which was not the case previously. When asked what he had learned from the previous regulatory proceedings the Registered Person found it difficult to provide an answer and such answer as he did provide was, for the reasons already given, superficial.
- The PCC was therefore concerned that in the event of a return to practise after a period of suspension no meaningful reflection would have occurred; and that even if afforded a further period for refection there was a material risk of repetition of his behaviour upon return to practise. The Registered Person eventually suggested that to mitigate risk of repetition he had learned to only undertake what he was capable of, to impose checks and balances and to communicate. However, it noted that despite this purported learning from the last findings of UPC and the apparent support provided to him in his APH venture by the Referrer and Damian Hosty, the Registered Person’s conduct is again the subject of adverse regulatory findings of broadly similar nature: management of professional finances and communication with his regulator. The PCC therefore determined that having regard to the need to protect the public the risk of repetition after a period of suspension was sufficiently great as to necessitate the imposition of an erasure order.
- Erasure from the register is permanent, unless and until the Registered Person applies to re-join the register and that application is successful. The Registered Person indicated a desire to remediate. It is not the role of the PCC to ‘tie the hands’ of ARB as to the circumstances in which an architect can re-join the Register. However, if the Registered Person was minded to seek to re-join after the minimum period of erasure (two years) he might expect the PCC to see evidence of attempts at remediation, but more significantly of concrete steps taken to consider, reflect and engage upon meeting the requirements of professional practise that have been found to be deficient in these proceedings.
- The PCC determined that the duration of period before which the Registered Person is to be entitled to apply for restoration to the Register shall be a period of two years. The PCC determined that such a period proportionately balanced the necessity, in the public interest, to reflect the seriousness of the Registered Person’s conduct with the ability of the Registered Person to reflect on his conduct and demonstrate meaningful insight and remorse should he decide to seek a return to the Register.