Contrary to comments made in Charles Roberts' letter (NCE 19/26 August), ICE members were consulted last year about the proposals to change the Rules of Professional Conduct.
A large article in ICE News (NCE 17 July 2003) gave details of the proposals and invited feedback to the ethics subcommittee.
More details, including the full version of the Guidance Notes, were given on the ICE website, again with the invitation to comment. The proposals were modified in the light of replies we received.
It is quite right that a number of existing rules have been subsumed into the guidance notes for the new rules. This is an important part of making them simple, transparent and memorable. However, breaches of the guidance notes will in most instances count as breaches of the rule to which it applies, so the impact will not be diminished.
The example referred to by Mr Roberts would, if proven, now be a breach of Rule 1: 'All members shall discharge their professional duties with integrity'.
The Rules of Professional Conduct have been subject to modification by Council since they were introduced in 1963.
We shall continue to consult members ahead of any future modifications.
Gordon Masterton, vicepresident, professional conduct, Institution of Civil Engineers, 1 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA