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RIBA president Alan Jones returns after ‘sincere and unqualified apology’

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  • 12 Comments

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.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Jones 

  • 12 Comments

Readers' comments (12)

  • To be perfectly 'full and frank', a rather anodyne statement, and this sometime president has surely lost his credibility. The RIBA isn't his wife.

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  • If all that happened was an extra-marital affair I don't see what the problem was. Private matter and should not have been quizzed by RIBA staff.
    The fuss made by the RIBA was out of all proportion and shows to just what depths of irrelevancy this institute has sunk.

    But, Alan Jones was unable to draw a line under the incident and foolishly stepped back from the Presidency.
    Both poor judgement calls : He should go.

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  • Surely it’s important to have updates on how the president is acting and it’s impact on the profession. Seems frustrating that it’s taken a saucy scandals like this to get an update.

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  • What his apology basically says is: I cheated on my wife that eventually affected the professional body, which I abandoned during a crisis and humiliated across all national papers while also lying to RIBA staff but now I am sorry so I am returning to office and everything is fine. Well, actually it is not. A silent resignation would have far more dignity in it. Alan Jones, please understand this and leave.

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  • RIBA Code of Professional Conduct
    INTEGRITY
    Members shall behave with integrity and shall strive to safeguard and improve the standing, reputation and dignity of the Institute and its Members in all their professional activities. Members shall consistently promote and protect the public interest and social purpose, taking into account future generations.

    1.2 Members must be honest and truthful
    1.3 Members shall not allow themselves to be improperly influenced by others
    1.4 Members shall not allow themselves to be improperly influenced by their own self-interest.
    2.1 Members must not make or be a party to
    any statement which is:
    (a) untrue;
    (b) misleading;
    (c) unfair; and/or
    (d) contrary to their professional knowledge.
    2.2 Members who find themselves party to any such statement in
    paragraph 2.1, must take all reasonable steps to correct the statement
    immediately.

    Just going to leave this here. I won't be renewing my RIBA membership until Mr. Jones is out of office.

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  • Not only should this plonker be stripped of his duties with immediate effect, he should have his Architect title revoked for serious breach of conduct.

    He had his opportunity to re-sign, he didn't, and he misled the profession, abused his power, and was improperly influenced by his own self-interest as the gentleman above listed. This is coming from the loquacious fibber that wore a T-shirt that says 'Professionalism starts at the front door' - No it doesn't, professionalism starts with you.

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  • If all persons in positions of high office resigned over an extra marital affair, that would certainly clear the decks and rid us of PM who is rapidly loosing what ever confidence the public once had in him. But if that is the top and bottom of the matter it looks as though the RIBA grossly over reacted.

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  • It remains unexplained what motivated an institutional apparatchik to take it upon themselves to ask personally invasive questions on what is a private matter? Also, why was the President's role and duties assumed by the non elected non architect salaried CEO rather than an elected RIBA member of Council or that of the second place contender in the RIBA Presidency elections? In tandem with recent constitutional changes to RIBA Board, this demonstrates the stark disconnect from its fee paying membership.

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  • Daniel Lacey

    That reads like a Dominic Cummings apology.

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  • How embarrassing for RIBA, not only should the body uphold its code of conduct in this instance and request his resignation, but this is a disappointing missed opportunity to replace (yet another) white male president with someone who can represent RIBA's claims of championing inclusivity and diversity in architecture. From the list I could find online naming 58 RIBA presidents (there have been 78), two are (caucasian) women. There is no time like the present to put your money where your mouth is, RIBA.

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