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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

RICS commits to speedy reforms following independent review

The interim chairman of the RICS governing council has vowed to get the beleaguered body in a “good position” for reforms before his term ends this October.

A long-awaited report into the structure and aims of the RICS, published yesterday, made 36 recommendations, all of which have been backed by its governing council.

The report, written by Lord Bichard based on 564 submissions from members, recommended: 
•    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.

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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. 

Nick Maclean, interim chairman of the governing council for the RICS, said he didn’t want to lumber future members with the weight of reforms and wanted to get the work started before he leaves his post in October.

“We will do our utmost to make sure we are in a good position and get this underway.

“We need to make sure we can get the impetus for changes in place and need to be in a position where we pass the baton of change to new members.

“The objective is to do this at pace and make this an institution that honours its public obligations and works for members regardless of where they are.”

Maclean added that he would wait for the terms of reference before considering to “throw his hat into the ring” for the new chairman of the board position.

Similarly, Richard Collins, interim chief executive said he would be interested in applying for the role permanently, which is being advertised publicly.

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. 

The BDO report said that two years ago RICS was at risk of “unidentified fraud, misappropriation of funds and misreporting of financial performance.” 

BDO’s report also gave the lowest possible 'no assurance' rating for the effectiveness of RICS’ financial controls - something which Levitt described as being “the most significant criticism an auditor can make” of an organisation.

RICS has already issued apologies to four non-executive directors who wanted the organisation to act on the BDO report’s concerns, but who instead had their appointments terminated.

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