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Technophobe members given e-mail reprieve

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Council deferred until October a decision on whether to make it compulsory for riba members to have an e-mail address, after an impassioned speech by Marco Goldschmied (left). After declaring himself a 'technophile', he argued: 'The members are free professionals. It is not right for the institute to bludgeon or be seen to be bludgeoning its members.'

Goldschmied said he had learned, while campaigning around the regions, that 'the perception among small practices was that the administration of the institute is against them'.

A survey showing that 86 per cent of the profession have e-mail meant that 14 per cent still don't, Goldschmied pointed out. 'Let's bring our members with us,' he said.

With the rapidly accelerating adoption of improved technology, there was a feeling among council members that resistance would reduce rapidly with time, although Paul Hyett argued that it was important not to exclude members like his father who have 'no e-mail, no photocopier and no fax'.

Spectre of Poulson raised in debate over discipline

The arb is moving more slowly than anticipated on introducing a new disciplinary code, David Rock told council. He was speaking about the progress report on the simplification of disciplinary procedures put to council, originally intended for approval by council in May. This is now likely to be delayed, Rock said.

Sam Webb raised the spectre of John Poulson at the meeting, objecting to the proposal to delete the regulation that prevents members whose conduct is under investigation from resigning. 'Think about police officers resigning in the Stephen Lawrence case,' Webb said. 'Think about Poulson. He filed his bankruptcy at the beginning of 1972 and resigned from arcuk. He wanted to resign from the riba and some members of council wanted him to resign. But we expelled him, and rightly so. We should not shrink from that. We could have another Poulson. It would be a self-inflicted wound if we let them slip away.'

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