New Search Code Regulatory Committee announced

The Council of Property Search Organisations (CoPSO) has announced the appointment of the public interest members of the newly formed PCCB Compliance Committee which will regulate the Search Code from the beginning of 2020. The Search Code is the quality mark for private sector searches, ensuring the highest standards are maintained by the industry, and is the only Code that is recognised by property lawyers and mortgage lenders. The new Committee will not only be responsible for Search Code registration, but also the inspection team that is charged with ensuring compliance with the Code by registered subscribers, and deciding on all and any disciplinary matters. The Committee is also responsible for the relationship with The Property Ombudsman who provides the redress mechanism for the Code for consumer protection.

The three appointees are Nicky Heathcote who is a Non-Executive Director of Propertymark, Mark McLaren a Non-Executive Director of The Property Ombudsman and Paula Higgins who is the Founder and CEO of the Homeowners Alliance. Nicky Heathcote will Chair the new Committee whose membership is exclusively for public interest representatives.

James Sherwood-Rogers the Chairman of CoPSO said ‘We are delighted to have recruited three such distinguished and respected people to form the new PCCB Compliance Committee which will regulate the Search Code for CoPSO. The integrity of the Code on which so many people depend, including property lawyers and mortgage lenders, is absolutely essential to ensuring robust standards are maintained across the industry. This is for the long term benefit and peace of mind for consumers and ensures a level playing field for our members centred on quality’

Nicky Heathcote commented ‘I am excited to be taking up the challenge of Chairing the new PCCB Compliance Committee and I look forward to working with Mark and Paula as we take ownership for regulating the Search Code for CoPSO. The Code has set the quality standard for the search industry for many years and has widespread recognition from all parties to the property buying and selling process’.

Mark McLaren said ‘Being part of the PCCB Compliance Committee is a natural extension to my role with The Property Ombudsman. I look forward to bringing my experience from many years with Which? and the focus I have for protecting consumers in the home buying process to the table.’

Paula Higgins said ‘With The Homeowners Alliance passion for serving home owners and the home buying process I am really pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the quality oversight of the Search Code. It is essential that consumers can rely fully on the information that is being provided to them when choosing their future home.’