Pressure is mounting on the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to explain the nature of the redacted chapter of the Levitt Review, which Property Week can reveal contains “unsubstantiated allegations” and is currently being reviewed by law firm Kingsley Napley.
The public version of Chapter 5 of Alison Levitt QC’s independent review into the events that led to the wrongful dismissal of four non-executive directors who raised concerns about a financial audit is titled ‘The Issues’ and comprises five fully redacted pages.
On page 39, Levitt writes that Chapter 5 contains “allegations out of the scope of my review and thus have not been investigated”.
In response to questions from Property Week, a RICS spokesperson confirmed that a full version of Chapter 5 had been seen by the RICS Governing Council (GC), which has commissioned Kingsley Napley to produce a report on the allegations within it.
“When this report is received, GC will review it and decide on any appropriate action,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that Chapter 5 was removed by Levitt herself and consisted of “unsubstantiated allegations outside the scope of her review and, which, she said, should not be published in fairness to those involved”.
It is understood that the GC has appointed Levitt’s assistant in the independent review, Christopher Foulkes from Kingsley Napley, to review the chapter and deliver his findings to the GC at the start of next year, though it is not yet clear when or if the full chapter will be made public.
A source close to RICS said the chapter contained “the case for disciplining the wrongdoers” and that it “names and goes into details of unethical behaviour”.
The RICS sources and RICS members Property Week spoke to said they believed RICS should either release the chapter or further explain why the organisation could not release it.
Neil Sinclair, chief executive of Palace Capital and a long-time RICS member, said: “I’d like to know why they took it out, but we’ve had no communication from them on anything.
“There may be a very good reason, but they need to communicate to members: ‘This has been taken out and this is why we’ve taken it out.’”
Bruce McAra, one of the four wrongfully dismissed RICS non-executive directors, told Property Week he welcomed the review of the redacted allegations.
“I welcome the further review of redacted allegations in the Levitt Review,” he said. ”Given the far-reaching consequences of the review on the institution and its members, it would be great if GC can explain to members what process is being followed to conclude these outstanding matters so they can be laid to rest.”