ALEP exists to ensure that barristers, managing agents, project managers, solicitors and valuers involved in leasehold enfranchisement adhere to an agreed level of conduct and service.
ALEP represents its member organisations with the following aims:
- To promote best practice among members through an evolving code of practice.
- To provide potential clients with details of member organisations with sufficient knowledge, intent and capacity to provide a satisfactory service.
- To provide an avenue for recourse for dissatisfied clients of member organisations by means of an effective independent complaints procedure.
- To act as a forum for member organisations for the exchange of ideas and to increase standards throughout the sector.
- To represent members' interests to government, the press, other associations and the general public.
The operation of a credible and effective complaints procedure gives clients of member organisations the confidence that they can seek and obtain redress where appropriate.
ALEP members should each publicise their own complaints procedure in accordance with any professional or regulatory obligations that they operate within. In addition, on enquiry, they should also make clear to clients that they have the option to escalate their complaint to ALEP should they feel that they have not obtained sufficient redress. The procedure for dealing with complaints is to be available in writing and shall be made available to the client and to any member of the public on request.
- Complaints should be made to the ALEP Complaints Committee within six months of the matter in question
- The ALEP Complaints Committee will invite the member to respond.
- The ALEP Complaints Committee will make its decision.
- The decision may be to issue a warning, make a finding of 'no fault' or to decide to expel a member from ALEP.
- The Complaints Committee may take into account a member's previous complaints record when making its decision.
- If the decision is to expel the member from ALEP, the ALEP Advisory Committee reserves the right to publicise this.
- The outcome of any complaints procedure will otherwise generally not be made public.
- There will be a right of appeal from the decision of the Complaints Committee to ALEP's Appeal Committee whose decision shall be final.
- For the avoidance of doubt the function of the Complaints Committee in dealing with any complaint about a member is simply to make a finding as to whether the member in question has breached the terms of ALEP's Code of Practice in dealing with the matter with a view to deciding whether membership should continue. It will not make any finding as to whether the complaint raises any other issues such as professional negligence or breach of professional duty.
- The complaints procedure is not intended in any way to remove other avenues of redress that anyone using the services of an ALEP member may have with bodies that regulate the individual activities of members, such as the Solicitors Regulation Authority, The Bar Council or The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
- As ALEP is a not-for-profit organisation, it does not have the resources to offer an arbitration service relating to member complaints.
Members' Commitment to the ALEP Complaints Procedure
In addition to their own complaints procedure, ALEP members shall cooperate with staff and any appointees of ALEP's Complaints Committee who:
- Are investigating a complaint or allegation made against a member.
- Have sent to the member a written enquiry relating to a member's alleged non-compliance with the Code of Practice.
ALEP communicates information to members that is relevant to the industry with a view to promoting knowledge, best practice and communication.
The following communication tools are used:
- Conferences - to raise the profile of the sector and improve the professionalism of practitioners. These are open to members and non-members.
- ALEP events such as informal drinks events - to allow members to network with other enfranchisement professionals in a relaxed manner.
- Attendance at non-ALEP events such as property exhibitions - to raise the profile of ALEP amongst potential clients and to attract members.
- Other activities as deemed appropriate by the Committee.
ALEP is run by its Directors, an Advisory Committee, ('the Committee') and an Executive Committee ('the Executive Committee'). The members of the Advisory Committee are elected at a General Meeting of the Association which is normally held annually ('the AGM').
1. The Advisory Committee
The Committee is presided over by an Honorary Secretary and has as its President an individual whose expertise and standing in the enfranchisement industry is widely accepted.
Generally only members of ALEP may serve on the Committee, save in exceptional circumstances where an individual of sufficient standing in the field of leasehold reform or a related sector may be asked to serve on the Committee. If this is to be the case, the membership will be asked to confirm the appointment at the next AGM.
If, during the course of the year, vacancies on the Committee arise, then the Committee may appoint a suitable candidate to fill any such spaces on a temporary basis, subject to any such appointee standing for election at the next available opportunity (together with such other candidates as may stand at that time).
The appointment of individuals to the Committee shall be in accordance with the ALEP Election Procedure, details of which shall be published to members of the Association from time to time. There are normally two Advisory Committee meetings in any given year. The composition of the Committee is currently as follows:
- Honorary President
- Honorary Secretary
- Solicitor Representative (x3)
- Valuer Representative (x3)
- Barrister Representative (x1)
- Managing Agent Representative (x1)
- Project Manager Representative (x1)
- Administration and Finance Officer (Non-voting)
- Company Directors
- Company Secretary
The Directors may decide during any year of the Company's business to expand or vary the composition of the Committee provided that it is in the best interests of the Association as a whole to do so. In which case any such change in the composition will normally be put to a vote of the members for ratification at the following AGM.
Members of the Committee serve in office for a term of two years from the date of their election after which time they must resign and seek re-election at the following AGM. Members of the Committee have an indemnity from the membership of the Association in respect of all things done lawfully in the name of the Association.
Officers of the Company may also sit on the Committee and may also hold other offices within the Association.
2. The Executive Committee
The day to day running of ALEP is dealt with by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee consists of the Company Directors and a Company Secretary. The Executive Committee meets on a monthly basis and each Executive Committee meeting is attended by one visiting member of the Advisory Committee on a rotating basis. Advisory Committee members who attend the Executive Committee meetings may be paid a disturbance allowance as a contribution towards the costs of their attendance. Members of the Executive Committee are entitled to charge for their time and attendances either on a consultancy or on a cross-charging basis.
The Company currently has four directors: Anna Bailey, Alex Greenslade, Mark Chick and Andrew Pridell. Under the terms of the Constitution and the Articles of the Company the Directors agree to have regard to the Constitution and by the decisions of the Committee in deciding how to deal with the Company and its assets.
The Directors will look to the Committee to direct them as to how the Association is to be run in the best interests of its members.
The Company reserves the ultimate right to amend this Constitution and its Articles as it sees fit.
Any amendments to the Constitution will be put to the Committee, although any amendments of substance will normally be put to the membership at the following AGM.
Changes to the Articles of the Company will be put to the Committee prior to adoption.
The Constitution is a statement of intent and is not intended to be a prescriptive legal document. It sets out the framework under which ALEP aims to conduct its business. Any dispute arising as to the construction or interpretation of the Constitution shall be referred to the Directors whose decision shall be final.
A complaints panel ("the Complaints Committee") is appointed by the Committee on an annual basis and includes at least one representative from each of the following: a firm of solicitors, a firm of chartered surveyors, a barristers' chambers, a managing agent, and a project manager. In the event that a complaint is received three members of the Complaints Committee will be selected to deal with this.
In the event that a complaint or allegation about a member would place one or more members of the Complaints Committee elected to sit on any complaint in a position of actual or perceived conflict of interest, then they shall stand down from that Committee and another member of the Complaints Committee shall stand in their place. If there are no further members of the Complaints Committee available, then one or more members of the Committee shall stand in their place. In the event of an appeal against the decision of the Complaints Committee, the matter will be referred to the Appeals Committee which will comprise two members of the Committee who have not dealt with the matter previously. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be final.
Subscription fees are set by the Committee each year. Where a member organisation can join under more than one category (e.g. an entity that is both a firm of surveyors and managing agents), the second entity will obtain a reduced subscription in respect of its annual membership which will normally be half the price of membership.
Where a member organisation has a secondary membership in this way, the member shall have only one vote and therefore shall be deemed to be only one member of the Association for this purpose. Any events, activities or media produced by ALEP should be self- financing (i.e. there will normally be a charge to attend such events with a discount for ALEP members).
ALEP is managed on a day to day basis by DRIVE Marketing Limited.
The Committee will set a budget and decide on expenditure in any given year and will lay a set of the Company's accounts before each AGM for review by the members.
Where a member organisation or individual provides services to ALEP, these may be charged for provided that these are contracted for (in advance) on an arm's length basis. Where a member of the Committee or their organisation is involved in the provision of services to ALEP that member shall not take part in any vote or decision taken by the Committee to elect to recommend that the Company purchase such services.
Whilst members of the Committee may be reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred in relation to ALEP activities, there is a general understanding that Advisory Committee members may not charge their time to attend Advisory Committee meetings or for attendance at conferences or other events, except if they are contracted to provide services at these or where such attendance forms part of a paid engagement properly contracted for on an arm's length basis with the Company.