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News & opinion

18 MAY. 2018

Governing Council: April 2018

Our top governance body, Governing Council, met in London last month for the first of its two annual meetings to look at future strategy.

As the body that sets the strategic direction of the profession, and having hosted the World Built Environment Forum Summit in the two days before the meeting, Council had a great deal to think about and plan for.

This report covers the main business considered at the meeting and how Council is working to fulfil its brief to set a leading strategy for our profession, ensuring we remain relevant and trusted by our clients, customers, governments and the wider public.

Election of a Senior Vice President

Each year one of Council’s roles is to elect a Senior Vice President who will eventually become President of the Institution. Any member of the profession is eligible to stand for this office and this year two candidates, Kath Fontana FRICS and Scott McMillan FRICS, were put forward by the Leadership Nominations Committee for consideration. Both candidates gave presentations on their vision and plans for the role, and answered Council members’ questions. As announced on the day, Kath Fontana was elected and will take up the role of Senior Vice President in November of this year.

Making Council fit for the future

Council has been working on a number of changes to RICS’ governance and these will be put to a vote of the whole profession in October 2018. The aim of the reforms is to ensure that as the leadership body Council has the range of skills and perspectives it needs to shape a global profession in the face of challenges ahead. At the meeting, Council voted in favour of some final aspects of the change proposals. We also considered the key messages on the importance of these changes we intend to communicate to all members of the profession during this year. The proposed changes will be set out for the profession’s consideration and vote during this year. 

Setting future direction

Council considered two major issues at the meeting: the future of the profession, and urbanisation and the role of the profession.

The future of the profession

Professor Richard Susskind, co-author of The Future of Professions presented to Council on his view of the impact of data and artificial intelligence on professional services. In a highly thought-provoking speech, he set out the challenges and opportunities ahead for professional service firms and individuals, highlighting the need for all professions to work out how they could provide greater value for clients beyond the purely transactional level, which in many cases is already being replaced by technology.

Based on the excellent debate which followed, Council agreed that major issues to consider include:

  • skills required in a digitalised world
  • emerging new disciplines for the profession
  • education, qualifications and assessment
  • CPD requirements
  • standards and how we regulate them.

Chris Brooke FRICS, President Elect and Sean Tompkins, RICS CEO will lead further discussions on these issues with as many members of the profession and interested stakeholders as they can reach over the next months with a view to drawing up a report and action plan.

Urbanisation and the role of the profession

Having spent the previous two days at the World Built Environment Summit, Council discussed the opportunities of urbanisation, with three million people a week now moving to cities. Council agreed that the role of surveyors in this is multi-faceted and covers not only cities, but also the management and development of land and resources outside cities. The theme rapidly linked back to Council’s discussions on the future of the profession, with a recognition that the profession would need to be equipped through its qualifications, standards and guidance to meet the expectations and needs of city decision makers on strategies for economic development, infrastructure financing, project management, place making, housing provision and workplace management.

Through the World Built Environment Forum we will continue to explore and develop action plans from these themes and discussions. Please do bring ideas to this online forum.

With a firm eye on the future throughout its meeting, Council recognised the major changes, developments and challenges ahead and resolved to ensure that as a body we will lead the organisation into the future, making sure we are all equipped to meet public expectations and thrive as a world class profession.