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RIBA reports ‘serious incident’ involving president to Charity Commission

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The RIBA has reported a ‘serious incident’ involving its president Alan Jones to the Charity Commission, the AJ has learned

The charities watchdog confirmed it had been informed by the institute about a matter connected with Jones’s shock decision to temporarily step down.

Jones emailed members of RIBA Council yesterday (31 March) to say ‘a matter had arisen’ in his personal life that meant he could not carry on with his presidential duties at this time.

While details of the ‘incident’ involving the Northern Irish architect have not been disclosed, the AJ has been contacted by sources that claim the matter is now the subject of scrutiny by both the Charity Commission and the RIBA.

A Charity Commission spokesperson said: ‘The RIBA has acted in line with our guidance, by submitting a serious incident report to the commission in connection with the recent stepping down of the charity’s president.

‘We are currently assessing information provided by the charity. We are unable to comment further at this time.’

The commission’s guidance says a serious incident constitutes an adverse event – whether actual or alleged – that results in or risks significant:

  • harm to a charity’s beneficiaries, staff, volunteers or others who come into contact with the charity through its work; 
  • loss of a charity’s money or assets;
  • damage to a charity’s property; or
  • harm to a charity’s work or reputation

After the RIBA was presented with the commission’s statement this morning, it issued a statement made by its honorary secretary Kerr Robertson, who is overseeing presidential responsibilities on an interim basis.

He said: ‘I can confirm that we are aware of a personal issue in relation to the president. This is a confidential matter and therefore it wouldn’t be appropriate for the RIBA to comment further at this stage.’

The revelation comes just a day after the RIBA’s chief executive Alan Vallance announced to staff that Jones, who has only held his post for seven months, would not be contactable for the next ‘four to six weeks’.

However, there was no explanation about why Jones had decided to stand down.

In Jones’s email to council, he said: ‘I’m grateful for the strong support I have from my wife and family. I need to take some time out from my duties as president and would be grateful if everyone could respect our privacy.

‘I appreciate this comes at a time when there are extraordinary demands on everyone and I can only ask that you reinforce your support to our staff and senior officers during this period.’

The AJ has approached Jones for comment.

Click here to read the AJ’s interview from 25.09.19 - Alan Jones: the RIBA’s promo president 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It's difficult to reconcile something described as a 'serious incident' relative to the RIBA's status as a registered charity with the need to safeguard the privacy of someone's 'personal life' - even if that person is the President of the Institute.
    And (as an ex-member of the RIBA) it would seem absolutely essential for the Institute to clarify this matter without delay not just for the sake of the members, also for the sake of the Institute's - and the profession's - standing.
    No 'cover-up', no matter how 'personal' the matter.

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