New Chapter architects unveil five-point plan to reform RIAS

A group of Scottish architects have launched their five-point plan for the reform of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Presented today by A New Chapter, an independent association of around 150 Scottish architects formed to galvanise support for “a new progressive future” for the RIAS, Reform and Action aims to transform the membership body, support architects and champion architecture across Scotland.

Last year the group launched an unprecedented attack on the RIAS, raising concerns at what they said was “a lack of effectiveness, poor governance and insufficient financial accountability in Scottish architecture’s professional body”.

The five-point plan to reform the RIAS includes:

Unity and Support

  • To organise, unite and support architects in their practice for the benefit of society.
  • To encourage cooperation and collegiate working between all parties working within the built environment in Scotland.

  • To advocate for the important role that architecture plays within civic life and the economy and embed this within the way design services are procured and delivered.
  • Collaboration and Transparency

    • To work collaboratively to foster open-ness and transparency.
    • To promote the practice of architecture with a full and active commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity.
    • To broaden the membership through the sharing and exchange of information and ideas.

    • Excellence and Learning

      • To achieve and uphold the highest standards in attainment in architecture and discussion relating to the built environment.
      • To lead the development and implementation of unique, quality educational and developmental projects related to the physical environment.

      • To place ecology, health and well-being at the centre of design and development of the built environment.
      • Federalism and Internationalism

        • To promote and represent architects at both local and international level.
        • To operate a federal organisation of local chapters.
        • To foster links with international partners with a distinctive Scottish agenda.
        • Governance and Best Practice

          • To represent members, their finances and their interests in an open, transparent and accountable way.
          • To operate, manage and lead in a clear and democratic manner.
          • To support members in the challenges and opportunities within an ever-changing world.
          • Neil Baxter left his position as secretary and treasurer of the RIAS just days after A New Chapter demanded a major shake-up of the organisation.

            Then, in December, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) began a formal investigation into the 101-year-old body after being alerted to serious concerns about the way the organisation is governed.

            Police Scotland confirmed it is making its own enquiries into allegations of financial irregularities at the organisation later in the month.

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