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7 JAN 2022

CEO Membership Update

Dear Members

When we held our AGM in December, we presented the main planks of our manifesto for change to transform the Institution and the way in which it works with, and supports, members. To keep you all informed on the progress we are making, I will be reporting each quarter in 2022 reviewing recent work and outlining the key tasks for the quarter ahead.

For this new year, I am looking in particular at the following priorities.

Governing Council Elections

On January 17, we will be announcing details of the timetable and process for the election of six new members of Governing Council to hold the Council Strategy Seats from 1 July 2022. I experience at first hand the work done by members of Council on behalf of the profession and see every day the personal commitment they make on behalf of all of you. Council’s role, and the work of its members, is at the heart of our work. Participation by members in Council elections, either by standing for election or voting, is vitally important to the wellbeing of the Institution and I would urge all members to get involved.

Implementing the outcomes of the independent review

As we reported in December, we have made good progress in implementing the eighteen recommendations of the independent review, and I am confident we will have completed all of them during the first half of 2022. The most significant of the recommendations is the review of RICS’ purpose, governance and strategy being undertaken independently by Lord Bichard, whose call for evidence is open until January 22. All stakeholders can submit their views and keep up to date on progress here. The Bichard RICS Review will be submitted to Council by June 2022.

UK candidate assessments

Our delivery of the Autumn UK assessment session was unacceptable. I apologise for that, and I recognise the very significant impact this has had on candidates, assessors and firms. In December we made progress in delivering assessments against our revised timetable, but we have a significant number of assessments to complete at the beginning of this year. We must deliver these assessments well and properly support candidates through the process. We are focused on effective planning for 2022 sessions to ensure that we never let down candidates again in the way we did last year.

Additionally, we have been working with our newly established Entry and Assessment Steering Group to conduct an in-depth review of all aspects of entry into the profession. Your participation in this review is highly encouraged and more information on how you can get involved will be shared soon.

Technology update

The trigger for the problems with assessments was the impact of a major IT implementation in August 2021 which caused major unforeseen problems, including with our ARC system which supports candidates and assessors through the assessment process. Our systems and processes must properly support candidates and members in interacting with the Institution – too often this is not the case and the improvement of our infrastructure to properly support members is critical. We will make progress on this during the first quarter of 2022 and will keep you updated.

Member Engagement, Experience and Value

By the end of this month, we will have published details of changes to our ways of working with, engaging and supporting members. The starting point for this work was the issues identified by members during the major consultation we ran with members early in 2021. The changes we will be making have been developed by a working group of members from all parts of the world, including Governing Council members. We will ensure the first set of improvements are implemented well and support the group as it continues to identify further improvements to the way we work with and support members.

Upholding Standards

Our Standards and Regulation Board and its work is central to our commitment as an Institution and profession to work for the public advantage. A decision was made in the last quarter of 2021 to maintain our cladding guidance for valuers in order to protect both the public and the stability of the property market in light of building safety concerns.  There will likely be continuing debate on this topic and the Board will continue to act in the public interest and is committed to supporting all parties in tackling this issue head on. Going forward, RICS will continue to support a risk-based proportionate response and will ensure our guidance remains relevant, including if further announcements are made. 

Diversity and Inclusion

Progress has been made in making the profession more diverse and inclusive, but we have more to do to make our profession genuinely accessible and welcoming to all. Early this first quarter, we will be launching our Diversity and Inclusion Board to help shape our strategy for the Institution and the profession. It will take time to make this an integral part of our DNA but it is an essential ingredient of our long-term future.

The RICS team

Professional bodies can achieve most when they effectively bring together the talents and input of members with those of the organisation’s internal team. RICS is fortunate in having a talented and committed team which is passionate about delivering the programme which Governing Council has set out, supporting candidates and members and helping the profession deliver positive outcomes in the public interest. It is critical to our success that we support and develop our people and attract new talent to help us in our work and I will be prioritising efforts to build the team at RICS within a culture which properly supports our purpose and values.

Membership renewals

We are in the midst of the annual membership subscription renewal process and I would like to thank all members who have already renewed. I recognise you all have a choice about whether to continue to support the Institution and that we have to do more to demonstrate the value of membership. The steps we are taking are important in demonstrating that value, but they are the start of the change process and there is much more for us to do.

When I write the second of these updates, I will go through each of these work streams so you can see how we are doing. Of course, over and above this work schedule, there is the Institution’s day by day work around the world to support members and the work you do to drive positive change for the built and natural environment. So, there is a lot to do but we all relish the challenge.

I do want to be certain that in everything we do, members views are being fully considered. Please do get in touch if you think that there are other more important items which should be on my agenda – I am always pleased to hear from you.

Richard Collins

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Richard Collins