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Bichard RICS Review: Need for change is 'urgent' and 'unarguable'

A high-profile review of the governance and purpose of the RICS has said the need for change at the institution is “urgent” and “unarguable.”

RICS appointed Lord Michael Bichard at the end of last year after Alison Levitt QC wrote a 467 page review following media revelations concerning failures by RICS to act on a report by accountancy firm BDO. 

Lord Bichard’s review, published today, said the future success of the organisation “will require nothing less than a transformation of the institution carried out at pace” and described the need for change as “urgent” and “unarguable”.


The report’s recommendations include:
•    A renewed and increased focus on the public interest remit of RICS, including amending the Royal Charter and creating a public interest panel to advise Governing Council
•    Maintaining self-regulation, through greater independence for regulatory functions
•    Increased focus on Diversity and Inclusion across the profession and within RICS governance;
•    Empowering and enabling members through greater support for regional boards, alongside increased member engagement, with renewed focus on younger members;
•    Undertaking an independent review of RICS’ governance and effectiveness at delivering against its Charter for the public advantage once every five years.
•    A new simplified, clear, accountable governance structure
•    Showing greater leadership on the issues that matter most to society, such as sustainability and climate change

Lord Bichard indicated that reform should happen at pace, and identified key actions that should be taken by the organisation immediately. 

These include transitioning the chair of the governing council’s responsibilities to the president, recruiting a new chair of the board, and a permanent leader for the executive. 

There will be a consultation over changes to professional groups and a clear framework within which council will delegate regulatory functions to the standards and regulation Board, to provide it with greater autonomy and control.

Lord Bichard said: “My aim has been to help create a new sense of purpose and direction so that RICS can once more stand tall as an exemplar professional institution, capable of tackling the challenges which will shape the way we all live our lives in the years to come. Issues such as climate change and sustainability, improving the built environment and building safety all sit within the remit of RICS and will benefit from the contribution which a revitalised RICS could make.”

Nick Maclean, interim chair of the governing council, said: “The Bichard RICS Review represents a watershed moment for the institution, and a key point in time which sets out a path for permanent improvement. Implementation of the recommendations will provide a solid accountable structure to effectively support our professionals and work in the public interest.

“RICS governing council strongly endorses the recommendations, and will implement these proposals, that have come about as a result of listening to our professionals, as quickly as possible. This will ensure our global relevance and impact.

“The governance changes specifically will ensure that the interaction between the governing council, president, the executive, and the new support structure are effective and collaborative, and function to the benefit of both our membership and the public advantage.

“It is important to note that this new structure will also empower our regional boards in developing strategy to promote professionalism and the public advantage locally. RICS will have true impact and relevance across all locations.” 

Richard Collins, interim RICS chief executive, added: “I strongly support The Bichard RICS Review recommendations, which will renew our focus on working in the public interest and to the public advantage, including the addition of a new public interest panel. 

“This will ensure that, we and our members, contribute to the important societal issues such as D&I, sustainability and building safety. 

“This work will be supported by increased independence for our regulatory functions through our standards and regulation board, as we maintain self regulation for the benefit of our the public and our professional members.”

  • Algarve  Investor

    Might be too little too late for a previously well-respected organisation. Like partygate and Boris, they might forever be tainted by the scandal and never quite able to recover.

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