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Morale concerns at RIBA Trust

RIBA Trust chairman Stephen Phillips has raised concerns over the morale of Trust staff ahead of crunch talks with institute chiefs about the scrapping of the organisation

Trustees of the institute’s abolished cultural wing will meet with RIBA chief executive Harry Rich and president Ruth Reed tomorrow (25.01.11) to discuss a ‘way forward’ for staff and services.

Phillips, who succeeded Tessa Blackstone to the chair in October, said he was keen to secure ‘an overall deal which saves the [Trust’s] cultural output.’

The RIBA Trust was scrapped late last month as part of a package of streamlining measures which saw Trust operations cease on 31 December with its board left hanging in the balance and its director Charles Knevitt issued a redundancy notice.

Phillips said: ‘It would be a terrible shame if the board had to depart. I’m very concerned about staff morale, as they need to know quickly [what will happen next].’

Meanwhile Stephen Hodder, RIBA vice-president for membership (Nations & Regions), hopes he has helped thrash out a way forward for the much-troubled London region (AJ 08.04.10). Hodder oversaw an extraordinary meeting of the region on 20 January, at which members voted for a new structure.

After the meeting Regional Chair, Paola Boffo, said: ‘Council agreed the changing nature of the region was such that there was a feeling that change was necessary for the benefit of our membership. We believe we now have a sustainable structure that will allow the region to be more outward-facing.’

Although well received by almost all of the councillors, MJ Green, chair of Camden Architects Forum, was unhappy about the shake-up. She said: ‘Co-opted members – namely individuals who do not necessarily represent membership – are given the right to vote.

‘Each branch has seen its representatives cut from two to one; even fewer representatives to vote and to voice members’ concerns.’

Postscript

Paolo Boffo has thanked all councillors for their contribution and the previous chair, Azar Djamali, for her efforts throughout a challenging period for the region.

RIBA President, Ruth Reed, also thanked Azar Djamali, and said, ‘I am encouraged that the London Regional Council now has a real mandate for moving forward at this critical time for the profession in London. My thanks go to all those who worked to achieve this.’

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