RIBA council seeks to reclaim power over board decisions
RIBA council has approved a motion calling for greater influence over decision making in the institute
The institute’s elected assembly has launched an investigation into ways it can achieve greater control over decisions made by Portland Place’s board of trustees.
Other reforms to be considered included a new right for council members to sit on committees and invitations for all councillors to RIBA events.
The move comes three years after RIBA created a 10-strong board to run the institute and create its annual budget and business plan.
Councillor Gavin Hutchinson, who seconded the motion said: ‘The new structure has been running for three years now and at times council felt that on occasion matters came to council with a little bit of a pre-formed decision.’
‘What has been agreed is that there will be a review over the summer period to report back to council at the next meeting in September.’
Scotching the potential for further restructuring, Hutchinson said: ‘I don’t see it as something that will result in major structural changes. It makes sense to have a board but the council are minded we have a responsibility for setting strategy for the executive to execute.’
Past president Owen Luder said the council appeared to have been ‘stripped of virtually all its powers’ when he returned to the elected body in 2010.
He said: ‘The Board of Trustees should be independent of the executive. At the moment it not only complicates RIBA governance but means that the Board of Trustees are not as they should be watchdogs on what the executive Board and Council does but [focus] only on issues that relate to the RIBA status as a charity.’
RIBA president elect Stephen Hodder said: ‘I welcome the formation of this working group to explore new ways in which the RIBA Council can be as effective, accountable and transparent as possible. We will report our recommendations to Council in the due course.’
The working group will be chaired by Hodder and will include councillor Elspeth Clements who proposed the motion.
The approved motion
Council should set up a representative group of Council Members and Elected Officers, supported where appropriate by senior members, to review the running of Council meetings. The group to meet over the summer and make its recommendations to September’s Council.