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Hyett prepares for presidency with new regional emphasis

RIBA president-elect Paul Hyett has moved to rectify what he identified as a failure of communications with the regions during his election campaign by unveiling plans to form a new regional network and discussion forum.

Hyett told the AJ last week that in the run-up to the election he became increasingly aware of the strength of feeling and the way that some regions felt disconnected with the workings of a perceived London-centric institute.

So to redress the balance he is to visit all 11 regions in England and meet up with chairmen and branch chairmen in the next four months. 'We'll discuss plans for improving communications between Portland Place and the branches and the regions, ' he said.

In a further move to bolster good relations with those in the institute's outposts, Hyett this week sent letters to the chairmen of the English regions with plans to also meet up between council sessions, building on the work of the institute's vice-president for international membership John Wright, and vice-president membership Joyce Deans. RIBA chief executive Richard Hastilow will join Hyett for the sessions between the four council meetings each year. 'The purpose is to preview next council issues, review past council meetings and be informed of all the issues going on in the regions and those points they want to take to council, ' said Hyett. 'I want the regional chairmen to believe they can have an impact on council without having to be involved in it.'

The regional thrust mirrors Hyett's pre-election travels, which saw him visit 35 venues, covering all RIBA regions. Hyett, whose two-year term in office starts on 1 July, also plans to talk to the associated presidents in Scotland, Ireland and Wales to improve relationships between them and work on initiatives relevant to the UK as a whole.

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