The RIBA is to consult its members on whether the institute’s president role should be paid
A working group chaired by past president Sunand Prasad, has suggested the president receive an annunal income of £45,000 per year.
Speaking by videolink at RIBA council last week, Prasad described the three day a week role as ‘more onerous than first appears’, with the figurehead expected to chair the institute’s council and board meetings.
On 23 May, the RIBA Board adopted the working group’s recommendations that it ‘would be in the interests of the institute for presidents, their practices or employers to receive compensation for their two year term of office’.
RIBA president Angela Brady, president elect Stephen Hodder and past president Ruth Reed have backed the change. Hodder added that he ‘hopes members will support the proposal, while Reed said the move would ‘promote diversity’.
However former RIBA president Jack Pringle said: ‘If you pay the president there is a danger of attracting people to do a job, rather than attract people who are passionate about the profession and the institute’s role.
‘On the other hand, it’s a two year stint, unlike the other institutes which are only one year, and in the end I was doing it four days a week, so it can get quite expensive for a committed president. Particularly in a recession you could see that it might be difficult to attract good candidates.
‘Maybe council should be debating; status quo, vs two year paid or one year unpaid presidencies’.
A member consultation on the change will take place in July, before a decision is made by the RIBA council in December 2013.
The change, which requires sign off from the Charity Commission, is unlikely to come in before the 2015-2017 presidential elections.
Presidential pay had previously been discussed in in 2002 and 2008, but Charity Commission guidance meant pay could not be offered at the time.