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RIBA by-law change opens up board to non-architects

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Specialists from outside the architecture profession will be offered positions on the soon-to-be appointed RIBA board, a special general meeting of the institute's council decided last week.

The council approved the appointment of two key people to the board to help with the direction of institute affairs in a unanimous decision to change policy by-laws and open RIBA administration to outsiders.

RIBA president-elect Paul Hyett, who will be the first chair of the board when it is established later this year, said the move would streamline decision making at the institute. 'RIBA, in terms of management, will become lighter on its feet and relieve council of routine decision making, ' Hyett said. He added that the board, to consist of no more than 14 members, would be hired and fired by the council and remain subordinate to it.

The board will include RIBA's president, immediate past president, president-elect, chief executive officer and a number of senior office holders - as wellas two non-members.

RIBA honorary secretary Roger Shrimplin said specialists in either finance or marketing were likely to be invited to join the board, but added that the board was yet to expand membership beyond its architectural core. 'It gives council an opportunity to choose people who aren't architects, ' Shrimplin said. 'If they want to bring in somebody with special expertise as a board member to help with the direction of RIBA affairs they now can.'

Shrimplin said the increased flexibility to make appointments was central to the institute's role of advancing architecture and promoting the use of architects.

Other by-law changes made at the meeting included the requirement of institute presidents to serve a full year as president-elect to improve the transition between presidents. Past presidents' two-year terms were also limited to one year.

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