Immediate past president Owen Luder criticised honorary secretary Clare Frankl's paper on developing a subscriber class last week, warning that the new package under discussion was too cheap and would be resisted as a 'back-door' form of membership.
Frankl's paper proposed cutting subscriber rate membership to £54 and initiating a recruitment programme to bring other non-architects into the institute as a means of 'broadening the base' - as well as adding to the coffers.
But besides Luder's concern that the paper had a financial bearing on the institute's position without the necessary 'pink slip' procedure, other worries hinged on the proposal to lump in Part II students along with other subscriber members such as clients, contractors and members of the press. There was criticism that it also undemocratically disallowed voting rights to members in the class on the presidency or even standing for council - especially given that the present charter permits a non- architect to actually become president. Other concerns on behalf of small practices were that it represented a 'dilution' of the riba and would engender a new breed of 'quasi-architects.'
The director general said the paper did not represent an expenditure implication for the institute - although Luder felt it would not benefit from income from the measure - and it would be 'tragic' if the paper was put back.
Council agreed to alter the subscription rate, voting 31 for and 10 against, and for under-26-year-olds to pay just £27 from 1 February. But council deferred a decision on establishing a Part II register listing subscriber- class members with the qualification, and deferred also until March moves to allow those on such a register voting rights in presidential elections.