(c) Keith Hunter

Report on RIAS Council

September 2010

The Management Accounts to the half year showed a reduced positive balance, despite a number of adverse and favourable variances. Council approved the accounts with a net surplus of £740.00. The adverse variances included staff costs, RIAS Quarterly, publishing, computer costs and valuation fees, balanced by positive changes in members’ subscriptions, the convention, practice services, postage and the exempt VAT restriction.

Council marked the passing of seven Members, noted two resignations and a non-payment of subscriptions. Council approved a removal for non-payment, six transfers to Retired, three from Retired to Full Membership, two Re-instatements, 28 elections to Student Membership, 13 to Membership and eight nominations to Fellowship or Honorary Fellowship. Council considered the CVs of the latter and approved the nominees.

The synchronisation and simplification of the subscription rates between the RIBA and RIAS as an ongoing adjustment resulting from the RIAS/RIBA Partnership Agreement and that the “outwith” term be replaced with “International” and “Rest of UK” was agreed by Council.

The effect of the recession on RIAS income was indicated to Council at around 17% over the preceding three years and a worst case scenario extrapolated of a reduction of income of 50% in 2014. Many cost saving measures have been introduced while endeavouring to enhance services to the membership, reinforce promotion and political outreach, improve governance and maintain a lively programme of events. Council noted this and agreed that in the light of the current financial climate the Incorporation’s Strategy should be revisited and a report made to the next Council in December.

The President’s Select Committee on Procurement is now fully constituted and the structure of its report agreed to include identifying the problems and consequences in respect of procurement. There was an active discussion at Council on the issue of procurement and many contributions made on the issue.

The recent changes to the Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the new Arbitration Scotland Act 2010 has led the Incorporation into a phased reorganisation of its panels of experts, Adjudicators, Arbitrators, Mediators, Expert Witnesses and Independent Reporters. This will ensure that the process of selection is fair and that members meet the highest standards of professional competence. Council adopted the proposed reorganisation.

The amendments to Byelaws and membership categories to be presented to the Special General Meeting of the Incorporation to follow Council, included the deletion of the ordinary membership class of “Associate” in favour of “Member”, the removal of any restriction arising from place of residence, employment or educ-ation and an amendment to permit retiral of members below the present age of 55 under special circumstances were presented to Council for information.

The nationally elected representatives for 2010, having been elected by ballot on 5th August 2010, were noted as Brendan Liam Diamond, Michael J Goudie and Stewart A Henderson.
Council noted the clarification of the procedures for the nomination and election of the RIAS President. The Electoral College consists of the Council who nominate the President-elect and the election takes place at the AGM. The AGM has power of refusal only. The President should raise the issue of his successor at the September Council and may take the lead in nominating his successor. He is also required to ask Council for any potential candidates for nomin-ation at December Council and election at the subsequent AGM.

Electoral anomalies arising from the new RIBA governance mechanism in the loss of voting rights on RIBA Council for the ex-officio RIAS President and the two RIBA representatives to Scotland were noted. Council agreed to the President and Secretary discussing the matter with the RIBA President and Chief Executive.

The robust press profile adopted by the Incorporation was highlighted to Council along with the regular monthly e-bulletins and RIAS Quarterly. The outline of the new RIAS website was presented to Council and was approved, with very positive comment.

Updated guidance on the use of the RIAS Seal (Crest) was necessary to ensure that external organisations were unable to make use of the Seal in their publicity. Council agreed to adopt the changes proposed.

The Scottish Communities Projects Fund is managed by James Spence Watson FRIAS on behalf of the RIAS and Council noted his report for 2010 with approbation.

Council noted that a further tranche of internal improvements is being progressed and that this will include the upgrading of the emergency lighting resulting from the granting of the liquor license last year, repainting of the basement and sub-basements, feature lighting, electrical upgrading and re-carpeting.

The President commended the Secretary and Depute Secretary on the extensive penetration into the media as represented by the report placed before Council.

The new RIAS Online Directory and the published version will be promoted shortly. The proposal was put to Council that in future 20% of the architect employees of any practice should be members of the Incorporation to qualify for an entry. This is to ensure that those practices in the Directory are those who endorse and support the Incorporation. Council agreed to adopt this proposal.

An update on the operation of the RIAS Energy Design Certification Scheme outlined a rise in the number of Approved Certifiers of Design and subscribers. There will be a further Scheme audit by the Building Services Division (BSD) of the Scottish Government in November. A further opportunity was identified with BSD working on the development of a Section 7, to be concerned with sustainability.

Council noted the successful launch of Dr James Macauley Hon FRIAS’ biography on Charles Rennie Mackintosh on 9th June 2010 and the two half day seminars on the recent changes to the Building Regulations in Stirling and Aberdeen. RIAS visits to the Housing Expo from Edinburgh and Aberdeen and Edinburgh also took place on 4th August 2010.