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Report on RIAS Council

December 2010

The RIAS Council Meeting set for December 8th was suspended due to the poor weather. The following subjects were put to Council for their re-scheduled meeting.

A marginal improvement in the Management Accounts to the end of the third quarter to September 2010, with a positive balance of £2,165 is reported to Council. The continuing recession has affected the draft 2011 budget which reflects anticipated reductions in RIAS and Practice Services subscriptions, showing a positive balance of £995.

The Membership report indicates 1 resignation. 18 transfers to the retired category, 6 re-instatements and 1 retiring Fellow. Additions included 2 Affiliates, 15 Student Members, 8 members and 9 Fellows. 2 proposed Honorary Fellows are also notified (names withheld - pending offers being made). The passing of 4 members is regretted by Council.

The outline RIAS Strategy is being presented, requesting approval for completion by the Secretary and the nominated sub-group.

The President’s Commission on Procurement has been focused on proposing to the Scottish Futures Trust that they adopt a more appropriate regime in respect of projects being directed through the hubCo process and adopt a raised financial threshold.

It is suggested that the Scottish Government initiative to establish a Scottish Arbitration Centre, involving a number of interested professional organisations may unduly benefit the legal profession. Council is asked to agree that the RIAS join with others in proposing that this issue be left until after the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections.

It is reported to Council that the proposal to have quarterly meetings with RIBA representatives to discuss and resolve mainly technical and management issues within the RIBA/RIAS Agreement has only resulted in two meetings in 2010. Council is asked to approve the continuation of RIAS senior member involvement in those meetings.

Council is presented with an update on progress with the new website, copies of the templates, which have been developed along with the Content Management System and visuals of possible Chapter microsite design approaches.

Further redecoration and refurbishment works to the RIAS’s HQ at 15 Rutland Square, Edinburgh are proposed for early 2011. The revised budget of £45,000 will further progress the programme of repairs and redecoration approved by Council in 2008.

The extent of media coverage being achieved by the Incorporation is illustrated in the extensive Media Log.

The disposal of some books and furnishings has now been completed and the monies earned will go towards the restoration of the Library. J&J J Hardie has been commissioned to restore the Secretary’s desk, library table and chairs. The library bookcases have been cleaned, repaired and polished. The cost of these works is £2,635.

The Interim Review of the RIAS Energy Design Certification scheme highlights success at the recent annual audit by Building Standards Division. The continuation of the Scheme and approved underwriting of a further £2,000 up to a further review of the Scheme to May 2012 is proposed.
The launch of the RIAS Practice Directory is now scheduled for 2011. Potential subscribers have been approached to offer a down payment to obtain VAT at the current rate.

There is concern at Historic Scotland and English Heritage’s proposal to review the RIAS Accreditation scheme. It is proposed by the Conservation Committee that the RIAS should take a principled stance.

RIAS’ significant concerns on the performance of Planning Offices was recorded at the Planning Review workshops held by the Scottish Government at Victoria Quay in October.

The recent Salary and Benefits Survey 2010/2011 is reported.