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The riba needs focus, not committees . . .

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letters

You reported on the riba members' forum (aj 8.10.98). Being provocative is always a dangerous strategy, but a profession in which sole practitioners earn £16,000 a year needs some straight talking followed by clear strategic thinking and grassroots action.

I took the view that the 90 members at the forum were sufficiently mature and interested in the future of the riba to think further about some of the challenges raised. Time will tell.

Why not continue the debate via the ribanet icon 'Changing riba' or direct to me, Colin. James@Lineone.net. I may give you answers you would prefer not to hear, but I am happy to discuss the reasoning behind them.

I found the forum helpful in that it reinforced my impressions that:

Our communication with members is even worse than we thought it was

We provide little in the way of support and encouragement for small practitioners who form the bulk of our membership

Our public image is poor and we need to re-market the profession.

Our aspirations will not be achieved through the present unfocused and sometimes moribund committee system. Yet there is a vast amount of valuable work going on, in the practice area for example, that most members are not aware of, but most members would wish to influence.

That is why the Council meeting on the 21 October is so critical. We have the opportunity to create an institute where strategic policy, implementation and financial resources can be matched for the first time.

No more pie-in-the sky, half-baked projects or unfocused spending. We have the opportunity to create a focused but diverse, influential but inclusive institute. Lets not squander that opportunity.

COLIN JAMES

Witney, Oxfordshire

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