The way we remember moments of significant change is often shaped by our experience of its beginnings. Despite the strength of these immediate impressions, it is also true that the lasting significance of change often becomes clear only months or even years after the events that first brought it into being.
The COVID-19 pandemic is just such a change. For me and many people I know, this extraordinary year is most vividly characterised by the human response to the unprecedented health emergency that we saw emerge at the beginning of 2020. I am inspired to this day by how people – and in particular colleagues and professionals working in the built and natural environment – are continuing to respond.
However, I am also acutely aware of the tectonic shift that is taking place under the surface, across our societies, within the world economy, and in the built and natural environment itself. Like all organisations, for at least the next couple of years RICS will remain fully tested by COVID-19 and we are not immune from its effects. But in the last few months – covering Q4 of RICS’ business year from May to July – we have evolved ourselves and the way we operate in this new context in order to continue fulfilling our 152 year-old purpose: to promote the usefulness of the profession to the public advantage.
To do this, we had to take a number of tough decisions very rapidly in order to continue supporting the profession’s work to the public advantage, ensure our people’s wellbeing and safeguard the finances of the organisation. I am extremely proud of the agility and resilience that RICS staff have shown throughout this time – they have embraced new ways of working facilitated by our ongoing digital transformation, which has enabled us to be more productive and innovative as we enhance the profession’s delivery of positive social impact.
A particular highlight is the continued success of digital assessments, which has seen over 2,200 assessments delivered through only digital means since lockdowns began. This reflects the continued resilience and flexibility of our global candidate and assessor community, as well as the hard work of RICS staff, and I thank them all.
This and many other examples from the quarter have all contributed to our long-term plan to achieve Governing Council’s aim for RICS to be a relevant and trusted 21st Century global professional body. You can read about them in our full Q4 Global Performance Report here.
Of course, COVID-19 is far from under control, and we still have a long way to go before the lasting effects of both the virus and the policy reaction are fully understood. For RICS, we will continue to develop the digital capability that has allowed us to be resilient during this crisis, and work to deliver the efficient operating model that will allow us to support future generations of professionals for years to come.
Looking back over the quarter, I am humbled by what professionals and RICS have achieved by working together, and by committing constantly to high-standards in the public interest. We have done more than we ever thought possible, in the most extreme of circumstances. Now, looking forward, I am confident that by continuing to adapt our organisation at pace and embrace the need to evolve and innovate in new ways, we will deliver confidence in the built and natural environment for future generations.
I welcome all comments on this quarter’s performance.
Chief Executive Officer
Sean has been Chief Executive of RICS since September 2010. Sean has transformed RICS from a traditional, trusted UK mark of professionalism built on high standards and ethics to one of international recognition, influence and thought leadership. From governments to financial institutions, RICS’ standards, qualifications and thought leadership are respected and recognised. As well as advancing RICS’ strategy and goals, Sean is also a passionate champion for greater diversity and inclusion within the profession.