Jane Duncan has defended the RIBA’s response to the EU referendum result, after it was branded ‘useless’ by nearly a fifth of respondents to an AJ opinion poll
More than 200 readers took the AJ’s post-referendum survey. When asked about the RIBA’s response to the leave vote, 55 per cent said the body had not been helpful, and 22 per cent described it as ‘useless’.
However, the RIBA president insisted the institute had ‘sprung into action’ following the referendum result and wanted to help its members during this ‘uncertain time’.
Duncan said: ‘I know that many in our profession voted to remain in the EU – but we have to be pragmatic: it is happening, and we must ensure we consider how best to prosper outside of the EU.’
She said that a RIBA ‘Brexit team’ had been working with the government since the referendum result in June.
She said: ‘My dedicated Brexit team within the RIBA have, since the result was announced, been working with the Creative Industries Council Brexit Group, which reports directly to government, attended regular meetings with other built environment Institutes who have shared concerns and goals, discussed Brexit with our sister architecture institutes the RIAS, RIAI, RSAW and RSUA and are meeting separately with government soon.
‘With our monthly RIBA Future Trends survey we are also continuing to monitor closely any economic impact on the profession.’
Duncan added that a dedicated email address has been set up so members can contact her directly with concerns or questions about Brexit.
Anonymous comments in the AJ survey revealed a generally negative attitude towards the RIBA’s work since the referendum result.
One respondent wrote: ‘The RIBA should have done more before Brexit. Unfortunately it appears incapable of doing anything to influence government on any topic.’
Another said: ‘Why didn’t it stand up for Remain? The RIBA needs to be proactive in supporting the profession, EU resources, and ensuring that architects still have access to EU work, funding and exposure.’
In June, the RIBA’s interim chief executive, Alan Vallance, defended the institute for not taking a position on the EU referendum.
He said: ‘[Making any statement] would have put at risk £14 million of RIBA funds. We were frustrated, but the decision not to issue guidance was the correct one.’
How to contact the RIBA about Brexit
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org (the account is monitored daily)
• Click here to find out more information on the RIBA’s reaction to Brexit
AJ, Hellman Brexit and RIBA cartoon September 2016