The RIBA is contemplating radically changing the way its different membership classes are represented on council
The institute is investigating whether RIBA Council’s makeup should proportionally represent the different classes, and whether it should halve the number of councillors.
The move follows an earlier motion brought to council in March by RIBA ambassador for young persons Albena Atanassova which related to student voting rights .
Her comments led to a council representation review chaired by vice president for membership nations and regions Anthony Clerici.
Currently there are 61 seats on council, and Clerici said there was no intention to make council any larger, but one suggestion discussed at the meeting was to cut the number of councillors by half.
It was also suggested that students – who make up 30 per cent of RIBA members but have just 3 per cent of council seats – should have a greater representation and be able to stand for longer than the current single year term.
How are RIBA members represented on council?
|RIBA membership classes||Members||Council seats|
|President and past president||-||-||2||3%|
|UK chartered members||23,272||56%||53||87%|
|International chartered members||4,239||10%||2||3%|
The suggestion to lengthen a student’s term on council was met with some caution. Head of Birmingham School of Architecture Kevin Singh worried that it could ‘lead to a certain type of student being able to take on the role’.
He added: ‘One year is too short to make a meaningful impact, but two years could be more appropriate.’
But student councillor Marie Braithwaite, welcomed the potentially longer terms. ‘I support three years on council,’ she said. ‘If there is a problem with practices and universities supporting students to attend council then the RIBA should intervene.’
Academic Flora Samuel added: ‘I am completely in favour of a reduced number of national councillors if it means more students could be involved. I would give up my place to allow a student to sit on council. We spend an insane amount of money on council and anything to reduce this is a good thing.’
The review is scheduled to present its recommendations to council in September alongside Atanassova’s deferred motion.
Changes to council would require amendments to the RIBA’s by-laws so we are unlikely to see any changes before the 2017 council election.