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. . . and pact with RIAS raises concern about independence

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The council gave unanimous support to a solution aimed at improving the deteriorating relationship with the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), but a lone dissenting voice warned that the deal could compromise the RIBA's ability to set its own subscription rates and budgets.

Key to the deal is the proposal to standardise the subscription rate between the two institutes, meaning that RIAS annual fees will rise by about £100. But future increases will have to be agreed between the two institutes, leading to worries that 'the tail could be wagging the dog'.

'The RIBA would have less power to do what it wants with its subscription rates, ' warned John Wright. 'I wouldn't wish to see a situation where there would be some kind of veto over what the RIBA does with its subscription rates.'

But this was the only negative point to be raised in a meeting where councillors were clearly anxious to forge a better relationship with their counterparts north of the border.

The shake-up follows a series of meetings between Paul Hyett and his Scottish equivalent Gordon Davies in which a framework for setting and processing joint RIAS/RIBA fees was thrashed out. 'The spirit of the agreement recognises both institutes have a close relationship, but demonstrates that Scotland also has its own culture, ' said Hyett. The proposed settlement will include the following points:

New RIAS members can automatically join both institutes but will be forced to pay full RIBA membership - slapping an extra £100 on the current £35 RIAS fee.

The RIAS will collect subscriptions for joint membership and a mutually agreed percentage will go to London.

Architects in Scotland can remain RIBA-only members and pay subscriptions direct to London.

Similarly, architects can remain solely with RIAS but they will be forced to pay the higher RIBA subscription rate, phased in over three years.

Architects solely joining either the RIBA or RIAS will receive services from their chosen institute - but will be charged the higher joint rate.

The RIBA president will now have a seat on the RIAS council and vice versa.

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