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More inclusion using electronic methods

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Kate Macintosh (AJ 16.11.00) writes as if the best way of engaging the RIBA with its membership is to change nothing.She is mistaken.

The world is changing around us, and the RIBA needs to change.

In the past few years the RIBA's membership has grown by more than 2,000, and its finances have improved by in excess of £2 million.The range of services provided to members has expanded greatly - particularly in the area of electronics, in which the RIBA now leads the world.This was achieved through a vigorous programme of change.Take two examples.

Six years ago there were more than 60 headquarters committees.That was an excessive number to oversee the activities of 100 staff. The number of committees has been halved, with resources shifted to electronic communications. That has increased, not reduced, member involvement.The online discussion forums at 'RIBAnet Conference' now receive more than 150,000 visits a year, far more interaction than could ever have resulted from headquarter committees.

Six years ago the employment arrangements at the RIBA were archaic.There was, for example, no staff appraisal system.My predecessor attributed this to the layer of bureaucracy created by the recognition agreement with the MSF union.That agreement was terminated, on proper notice.The RIBA now has a staff appraisal system, and has obtained Investors in People accreditation.

I have always been committed to wide member involvement in the institute. That is why I am enthusiastic about the Internet, and why my presidential election website at www. alexreidwebsite. com is designed to gather members' views. My aim, if elected, would be to create a listening, helpful and inclusive RIBA.

Alex Reid, Cambridge

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