Last week’s RIBA Council kicked off to a rip-roaring start with past president Owen Luder slamming the institute for emblazoning ‘private and confidential’ across council papers which contain only a sliver of secret material, stating: ‘Please can we make sure everything we do can be seen to be open and transparent.’
In response to further criticism from Luder, president Angela Brady called for a show of hands in support of publishing council papers online to which the assembled council members agreed: ‘That is a confirmed decision’, she said.
But what is so sensitive it must be discussed only during RIBA’s ‘closed camera’ sessions? The unexpectedly contentious honorary fellowship of City of London planning officer Peter Rees.
The council was forced to vote on making an exception to its own rule about honorary fellowships after a clerical error meant Rees – who is an ARB-registered architect and eligible to be a chartered member of the institute – was chosen for the gong.
Honorary fellowships are only conferrable on non-architects. Fortunately for Rees, who presumably won’t have to pay the newly hiked £383 annual membership fee, the council sanctioned his exception. But as one unnamed councillor explained: ‘The fact they made it confidential is clearly to cover their own embarrassment.’