Alan Jones, who stood down in March over allegations linked to an extramarital affair, has returned to his post after giving a ‘sincere and unqualified apology’ to members
The Northern Ireland architect temporarily stepped back from the role of RIBA president amid an investigation into whether he had breached any RIBA codes of conduct, or abused his position, in the course of the affair.
He has said he had been trying to help find a job for a woman who had ‘become frustrated in her attempts to enter [the] profession’, stating that they had initially become friends before ‘the relationship became close for some months’ (see full letter to RIBA members below).
According to Jones, matters between the pair ‘came to a head [in March and] I disclosed the matter to my wife and to the RIBA, which led to a report being made to the Charity Commission’.
This prompted the RIBA Board to instruct solicitors Browne Jacobson to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
In a statement released today by Jones, he admitted he had not given a ‘full and frank account of events’ when asked about them by RIBA staff in December 2019.
An institute spokesperson said that, following the conclusion of Browne Jacobson’s inquiries, the matter had been resolved ‘fairly and proportionately’, noting that Jones had apologised, but gave no further details of the results of the law firm’s investigation.
Jones will return to his role today (15 June).
His temporary departure made national headlines and he was criticised for leaving the institute rudderless at one of the most challenging periods the profession has experienced. At one point, the Metropolitan Police confirmed it had received a report about possible ‘malicious communications’ linked to the affair.
It is understood the matter was transferred to the Police Service of Northern Ireland but the investigation was subsequently dropped.
Jones will remain president until August 2021.
Alan Jones’s statement
To my fellow RIBA members:
You will have seen media articles about recent events and that I was stepping back from my post for a period. I am writing to explain what happened and to apologise for my conduct which led to this, which was not of the standard you have a right to expect of me.
Some time ago I came into contact with a person who had become frustrated in her attempts to enter our profession. My intention was to help and support her. However, gradually we became friends and later the relationship became close for some months. In March, matters between us came to a head. I disclosed the matter to my wife and to the RIBA, which led to a report being made to the Charity Commission.
In December 2019 when I had been asked about this by members of the RIBA staff, I did not give a full and frank account of events. This I plainly should have done. I have now apologised to those concerned for this serious failing and have undertaken to the RIBA Board that nothing like this will happen again.
I am sorry for the distraction my conduct has caused to the RIBA at a time when our focus should be on supporting our members. I offer you all my sincere and unqualified apology.