On 9 December 2021, CICAIR released a statement concerning Assent Building Control Limited (“Assent”).
In that Statement, CICAIR said that Assent had been subject to disciplinary proceedings which had resulted in a Level 3 Sanction imposed in accordance with the then Sanctions Guidance and a recommended period of withdrawal of approval. The Statement confirmed that Assent’s appeal had been dismissed and that Assent had commenced Judicial Review proceedings.
Assent commenced Judicial Review proceedings in the High Court alleging that, amongst other things, CICAIR’s previous Sanctions Guidance was unfair, unfit for purpose and thus unlawful. Following a review, CICAIR decided to consult on proposals that its Sanctions Guidance be revised to both expand the range of sanctions available to a Disciplinary or Appeal Panel, and further to expressly set out aggravating and mitigating factors which a panel should consider when deciding on sanction for an Approved Inspector’s conduct. Following that consultation, CICAIR adopted new Sanctions Guidance effective 1 September 2022 which will provide greater flexibility to CICAIR panels to address the range of conduct issues they are asked to consider.
Accordingly, CICAIR and Assent agreed to explore a way in which the Judicial Review proceedings could be resolved. This included agreeing that the previous Disciplinary and Appeal Panel Decisions be quashed and remitting the original complaint to a new Disciplinary Panel for determination under the new Sanctions Guidance.
Assent and CICAIR are pleased that they have been able to work together to arrive at a now mutually agreed solution which, because of the newly adopted guidance, will also be to the benefit of the profession and public more generally.