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A message to RIBA members

03 October 2019

At a Special General Meeting on 2 October 2019, RIBA members voted overwhelmingly in favour of a number of governance changes to radically transform the way the institute runs.

Thank you to all those who voted.

The RIBA is now seeking exceptional candidates for the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees. Find out more about this role and our new governance structure.

Subject to ratification by the Privy Council, our new governance structure will be operational in early 2020, enabling a much more efficient and effective way of working and better outcomes for members. This will mean the RIBA, and in particular your elected RIBA Council representatives, can focus more time and resource on the issues that matter to you.

The new approved governance structure has been developed following detailed consultation and review with members. It has been guided by your senior representatives alongside independent expert legal and governance expertise.

To clarify what the changes are, please see the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What are the key changes that will be made?

  • RIBA Council, chaired by the President, will remain the most senior governance body representing the membership
  • A new Board of 12 trustees will be established - this will become the seat of fiduciary duties
  • The majority of the new Board trustees will be Council Members
  • Council selects the trustees and has the power to appoint and remove Board members
  • Three seats on the new Board will be ex officio: President, Honorary Secretary, and Honorary Treasurer
  • The roles of President, Honorary Secretary, Honorary Treasurer, Vice President Membership, and Vice President Students and Associates remain enshrined in the constitution. Council will decide any additional officer roles. The emphasis will be on balancing roles based on skills and experience, and improving diversity and inclusion throughout.

Will the RIBA Council/Board no longer exist?

The current Board will no longer exist when the Privy Council issues an Order approving the new Constitution.

On ratification, RIBA Council will seamlessly evolve into a fully representative body (ie no longer sharing fiduciary duties with a Board).

Who will be in charge?

The President will be Chair of RIBA Council and be an ex officio member of the Board.

The Chair of the new Board will oversee the management of the operations of RIBA. The Chair will be selected by Council based on a skills and experience matrix and could be the President or a Council member, but is not required to be.

Will these changes reduce the influence of members on their institute?

No, it has been designed to improve influence. Council members will no longer have to deal with operational detail and will be responsible for collecting insight from the membership and the profession, to guide the strategic direction of the Board.

Will this reduce the scrutiny of executive decisions?

No, the Board will have oversight over executive decisions including the business plan, with improved scrutiny due to the broader mix of skills represented. Council will ultimately oversee and hold the Board to account to deliver the Strategic Plan.

Will the regional governance structures change?

No, the current regional, branch and international chapters will be maintained. Where possible, new focus will be afforded to the international Regions as the RIBA refines its membership proposition and increases its leadership role in setting standards for the profession on a global basis.

Will these changes encourage more diversity to our governance?

That’s a clear objective of the changes. A fair and transparent appointment (and removal) process, based on relevant skills matrices, has been included. This will add fairness to our processes and ensure diversity is a key consideration in appointments to all offices.

Any questions?

Don’t hesitate to email governance@riba.org.


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