The much-anticipated recommendations on how RICS should be run following last year’s governance scandal has been published by Lord Bichard, who has admitted that many members are unhappy with the current arrangements or the support offered by RICS to them.
Launched at its London HQ London during a two-hour presentation and endorsed by RICS’ governing council, the review recommends “nothing less than a transformation of the Institution carried out at pace” and that the need for change was “urgent and unarguable”.
Key recommendations, which are designed to prevent a coterie of senior management from ever running the organisation without accountability again, include a strengthened more autonomous regulatory Board, increased autonomy for the Institution’s global members, and a renewed focus on delivering for the ‘public advantage’.
This means decision-making, apart from regulatory rulings made by its Standards and Regulation Board, will be undertaken by RICS members.
“My aim has been to help create a new sense of purpose and direction so that RICS can once more stand tall as an exemplar professional institution, capable of tackling the challenges which will shape the way we all live our lives in the years to come,” says Lord Bichard (pictured).
RICS says the specific Governance recommendations (see below), which will see decision-making transferred to members, include a reformed Governing Council with responsibility for setting the strategy and overseeing the work of the new RICS Board, which has responsibility for delivering the strategy and business plan.
It also sets out increased independence and autonomy for the existing Standards and Regulation Board and regional RICS boards given more powers.
Lord Bichard also says commercial activities should be demarcated from the Institution’s other activities.
Immediate first steps will include transferring the Chair of Governing Council’s responsibilities to the President; recruiting a new Chair of the Board, and a permanent leader for the Executive.
Nick Maclean (pictured), interim Chair of Governing Council said: “The Bichard RICS Review represents a watershed moment for the Institution, and a key point in time which sets out a path for permanent improvement.
“The governance changes specifically will ensure that the interaction between the Governing Council, President, the Executive, and the new support structure are effective and collaborative, and function to the benefit of both our membership and the public advantage.
The recommendations in full
- Increased focus on the public interest remit of RICS, including amending the Royal Charter and creating a public interest panel to advise Governing Council;
- Maintaining self-regulation, through greater independence for regulatory functions;
- Increased focus on Diversity and Inclusion across the profession and within RICS governance;
- Empowering and enabling members through greater support for regional boards, alongside increased member engagement, with renewed focus on younger members;
- Undertaking an independent review of RICS’ governance and effectiveness at delivering against its Charter for the public advantage once every five years.
- A new simplified, clear, accountable governance structure
- Showing greater leadership on the issues that matter most to society, such as sustainability and climate change