While I would hope due process is followed in terms of any appeal, and that if this decision cannot be justified matters can be resolved with any wrongs put right, I have to say the words ‘pot’, ‘kettle’ & ‘black’ come to mind when I hear Gordon Gibb complain about his concerns not being heard and of efforts to silence him.
Yes, a very big congratulations to Robin and all the new Nationally Elected members, particularly Malcolm, Helen and Gordon who have worked so hard for reform over the last year.
Despite those who were not keen for change, and their criticism of aNC raising questions as harmful to the RIAS, the statistics very much prove otherwise.
In the National Elections last year were had barely 1% of the membership bothering to cast a vote - this year it was nearly 24%. This was much higher than the very public RIBA election earlier this year which was more in the region of 18%. Both organisations can hopefully build on that, but what a great turnaround for the RIAS.
More than that, I attended a GIA workshop earlier this week, part of a massive programme to inform and engage members with strategy. It was a packed meeting with a great range of people, young and old. There were people from practice and education as well as non architect, developers and technologists, keen to have their voice heard as well. It is the same in the East will Julie Wilson setting the pace with members engaging in a series of sell-out workshops.
How fantastic is all of this compared to a year ago when the RIAS 5 year strategy came across a slightly embarrassing 'below the counter' rubber stamp job, with pretty much zero engagement of our members.
I was sorry to see Stephen Miles didn't make it on to Council as he so did much to help support reform and like the fantastic Rosalie Menon, was not afraid to speak out. Hopefully they will remain engaged and we will see them back on Council in due course.
Comment on: Can one of these candidates shake up the RIAS?
Gordon Smith says “it was acknowledged the governance structure needed updating” and then admits: “Mistakes have been made in the past but steps have been put in place so they cannot be repeated.”
Well guess what, he was about one of the last people on Council to acknowledge this. I have found him not just a poor advocate for change, but one of a small group who was less than supportive to those of us who tried to raise concerns.
The small group he supported formed themselves in to a “Governance Review Group” most of whom had a conflict of interest. Despite claiming to have met 33 times this little group did not produce any report, did not identify any failings and did not even produce a set of minutes. How can steps be in place to stop problems from repeated when the problems have never been identified in the first place?
When it was finally accepted that the members should vote for the RIAS President, instead of this being ‘decided’ by Council, some of us fought to open this up further by having this role shared by 2 people. This was to make the role more attractive to people who could not afford the time away from their work and families - perhaps younger female architects.
Gordon Smith, as he admitted at the Edinburgh Hustings, was one of those who voted against this, helping to ensure this opportunity was lost.
The failings Gordon Smith refers to all happened on his watch.
Just like the former Secretary, I note Gordon Smith has to indulge in some unfair and uncalled for RIBA bashing to deflect some criticism away from the RIAS. There is no such comparison with the RIBA and this statement is highly misleading. So much for a his claims of collaboration being the key to success.
Robin Webster, since he joined Council earlier this year, has shown himself to be a breath of fresh air, a person of true integrity, progressive and a genuine advocate for change - with no hangover from the previous regime.
I would urge all RIAS members to look closely at what each of these candidates has achieved over their professional lives - and what they are saying here. It is easy to make grand statements about what you would do if you became President, much harder to deliver.
I therefore agree with that last person to comment above: Robin Webster is the only candidate capable of bringing about sorely needed reform.
I personally share the concern expressed by Chris Roche about the number of people who chose not to vote in this election. However, there are a few points worth clarifying:
* Vice Presidents of the RIBA do not determine who can stand for RIBA President.
* Any chartered member is eligible to stand for President - honorary members too.
* The role of RIBA President already comes with a salary.
* The role of Vice Presidents is to chair the main RIBA committees. While VP's are selected by Council - and those choosing to stand are often elected members with experience of serving on those committees - any chartered member is entitled to stand.
* There are currently 7 such roles (4 VP's & 3 Hon Officers), and only 2 are based in London.
With only 3 people wiling to stand and with less than 20% of the membership voting in this election, it seems to me the only safe conclusion about the other 80% is that they have been pretty much silent. Next time around it would be great to see a much more engaged membership debating the issues of the day and if they believe change is necessary, setting this out in a positive and constructive fashion - and then making their vote count.
Surely the point about being part of a professional membership organisation is not about being left to plow your own furrow?
Lisa makes a number of good points, and I agree one of the roles of professional bodies is to promote the value of the work of its members.
This is entirely consistent with one of the key objectives of the current RIBA 5 Year Strategy (2.1) which is to ensure the public understands the impact and value of architecture and architects.