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Code of Professional Conduct



1. The Planners Registration Board (the Board) was constituted to provide for the registration of planners, and disciplinary control of the professional activities of registered professional planners, and for related matters.  Registered Professional Planners (RPPs) are governed by the Planners Registration Ordinance ("the Ordinance"), Cap. 418, its rules and this Code of Professional Conduct, under and in addition to the general law.

2. The Object of this Code of Professional Conduct is to promote the standard of professional conduct and self-discipline required of every RPP in the interest of the public.

3. This Code comprises four areas, namely, Responsibility to Society, Responsibility to the Profession, Responsibility to the Clients/Employers and Responsibility to fellow RPPs.  In each of the area are principles and rules which indicate good practice or the conditions under which certain activities are permitted/prohibited.

4. The Board may require any RPP to answer enquiries concerning his professional conduct in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance.  In accordance with Section 23 of the Ordinance, the Board shall have the power to suspend, reprimand or admonish the RPPs, or to remove their names from the register or not to accept their applications for renewal of registration as RPPs, who are proved to have acted against the aims and objects of the Ordinance and contrary to the intent of the Code of Professional Conduct.

5. Unless the context otherwise requires, words importing singular number only shall include the plural number and vice versa and words importing the masculine gender only shall include the feminine and the neuter gender and vice versa and words importing persons shall include companies or corporations and vice versa.
A. Responsibility to the Society

6. RPPs in discharging their responsibilities to their employers and the professional shall at all times be cognisant of the interests of the general public in matters of town and country planning.

7. When making a public statement professionally and personally, RPPs shall:

a) ensure that both their qualification to make the statement and their association with any benefiting party are made known to the recipients of the statement; and
b) avoid giving the impression to any person reading or hearing those views that they form part of a statement made on behalf of the Board.

8. RPPs are encouraged to extend public understanding of the planning profession, and to offer professional advice and comments to the government and related authorities on planning policies and implementation provided that any adverse criticism is neither malicious nor with improper motives.

9. RPPs shall faithfully carry out the duties which they undertake, and shall have a proper regard for the interests both of those who commission, and of those who may be affected by, the planning proposals.

10. RPPs advertising or authorising an advertisement of professional planning services shall ensure that the advertisements are neither misleading to the public nor such as to prejudice their professional status or the reputation of the profession.  In particular, no advertisement of planning services shall contain any of the following:
a) an inaccurate statement
b) an explicit comparison between the service offered by the RPP advertising and the service offered by other RPPs;
c) any endorsement for a commercial product or company; or
d) statement which runs counter to the provisions of the Ordinance.

11. RPPs shall not discriminate on the grounds of race, sex, creed, religion, disability or age and shall seek to eliminate such discrimination by others and to promote equality of opportunity.

B. Responsibility to the Profession

12. RPPs shall order their conduct so as to uphold the dignity, standing and reputation of the profession.  RPPs shall:
a) discharge their professional responsibilities with integrity, dignity, fairness and courtesy;
b) give opinions in their professional capacity that are objective, reliable and honest and to the best of their ability and knowledge;
c) take all reasonable steps to maintain adequate development of their professional competence;
d) accept responsibility for their actions and ensure that persons to whom they delegate authority are sufficiently competent to carry the associated responsibility;
e) not undertake responsibility which they themselves are not qualified and competent to discharge;
f) when working outside Hong Kong show their professional conduct according to the recognised standards of conduct in that country, provided always that their conduct shall be such as to uphold the status and integrity of the profession;
g) have proper regard for the professional obligations and qualifications of those with whom they are professionally associated; and
h) when working within the field of another profession pay due regard to the ethics of that profession.

13. RPPs must not hold, assume, accept or retain a position in which their interests are in conflict with their professional duty.

14. RPPs must not undertake any duties or carry out any instruction of an employer, client or supervisor which involve making statements purporting to be their own but which are contrary to their bona fide professional opinion.

C. Responsibility to Clients/Employers

15. Administrative/General
a) It is the responsibility of RPPs to take all reasonable steps to ensure that all town planning matters are conducted in accordance with the Code.
b) RPPs shall, where necessary, co-operate with or arrange for the services of other experts whenever an employer's or client's interest might best be served this way.
c) RPPs shall not subcommission work for which they have been commissioned without the prior agreement of their client, nor without defining the responsibilities of those concerned.
d) RPPs shall not accept any financial or contractual obligation on behalf of their employer or client without their authority.

16. Remuneration
RPPs shall be remunerated for their planning services solely by professional fee paid by clients and/or a salary and other benefits of the conditions of employment with the employers.  In particular, RPPs must not undertake any planning services, or participate in any actions, which run counter to the provisions of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

17. Conflict of Interest
a) RPPs employed by a government department or agency must not undertake any private planning work or dealings in land, in any area where, by reason of his office, he is in a position to adjudicate or influence a decision.  Provided that prior notice is given to their employer, RPPs are not prevented from undertaking planning work for a residence for themselves or members of their family.
b) RPPs who prepare a planning scheme for a government department or agency either as an employee or a consultant, shall not engage in any dealings in land within the area covered or affected by the scheme.  This restriction applies during the period of preparation of the scheme or thereafter so long as they are still advising the government department or agency on the implementation of the scheme.  Provided that prior notice in writing is given to the government department or agency, RPPs are not prevented from applying for planning permission or dealing in land transaction of a residence for themselves of members of the family.
c) RPPs shall ensure that they are not placing themselves in the position of adjudicating or influencing the decision of their own application to a government department or agency in any circumstances.
d) RPPs who have undertaken planning work on behalf of a client must not, until that engagement has been terminated, undertake work for or on behalf of any other client if by so doing the interests of either client would be prejudiced or the RPPs' ability to act wholly in the interests of either client would be impaired.
e) RPPs shall inform their employer or client in writing of any conflict between their personal or financial interest and faithful service to their employer or client, and obtain the agreement of the parties concerned to the continuance of their engagement.

18. Confidentiality
a) RPPs shall safeguard confidential information relating to their employer or client and shall not disclose such information to other parties without the consent of their employer or client.  RPPs shall not receive any advantage, gift or favour for disclosing such information to other parties nor make use of it for personal gain.
b) Whatever the circumstances, RPPs must always be prepared to justify their action if they have disclosed confidential information.  If RPPs are in doubt about disclosing information in a particular situation they will be wise to seek independent legal advice.

19. Competence/Negligence
a) RPPs must not act or continue to act in circumstances where the client cannot be represented with competence or diligence.
b) RPPs who have accepted instructions on behalf of a client are bound to carry out those instructions with diligence and must exercise reasonable care and skill.
c) RPPs are under a duty to keep their client properly informed and to comply with reasonable requests from their client for information concerning their business affairs.

D. Responsibility to Fellow RPPs

20. RPPs shall where appropriate seek, accept and offer honest criticism of work and properly credit the contributions of others.  They shall not maliciously or recklessly injure the professional reputation of another RPP.  However, they shall bring to the notice of the Board any evidence of unethical, illegal or unfair professional practice.

21. RPPs shall not attempt to supplant another RPP, or collude with any person, to gain a commission or position by unfair means or inducement.

22. RPPs in private practice, on being approached or instructed to proceed with professional work upon which to their knowledge another RPP is currently undertaking, shall notify the fact to such a RPP.




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