Skip to content

Responses to questions and comments on RICS proposed Governance changes

Responses to questions and comments on RICS proposed Governance changes

The questions and responses below are reflective of questions and comments we have received from the profession in response to correspondence providing advance notice of Council’s intention to propose changes to RICS’ constitution. 

We will keep them regularly updated over the voting period in order to reflect members’ views and provide answers in a timely way to assist members in deciding how to vote.

Click below on the section you are interested in:

Vote purpose and timing

  • The special resolution includes four proposals under two headings:

    Putting in place high level governance fit for an agile 21st century profession, namely

    • Moving to a more globally representative and diverse Governing Council
    • The creation of a new role of Chair of Governing Council

    Remaining trusted to set and enforce our own professional standards, through 

    • Creation of a joint ‘Standards and Regulation Board’
    • Renaming our Conduct and Appeals Committee to the RICS Regulatory Tribunal

    The profession is invited to vote on all four changes as one package, created by Governing Council to modernise RICS governance and ensure the profession remains relevant and trusted.

  • Voting on the Special Resolution opens on 26 October 2018. Eligible voters can vote online until 26 November 2018. Alternatively, eligible voters can vote either in person or remotely during the Annual General Meeting, taking place on 27 November 2018 in Hong Kong.

  • The current proposed changes – phase one of the reforms - cover only the highest level governance of the Institution: the governance bodies that are most visible to our external stakeholders. However, a great deal of detail will sit underneath this high-level structure and there will be a second vote next year to agree more detailed changes affecting active members and the many boards, committees, panels and groups that form the backbone of the Institution. 

    The aim of phase 2 of these reforms in invigorating and empowering bodies such as the UK and Ireland Board will be to ensure greater involvement by the profession, ensuring its expertise is brought to bear in setting standards and developing policy and thought leadership positions.

Consequences of the vote for the UK and Ireland

  • No, far from it. The UK is and remains the profession’s vitally important home market. However, as the profession around the world continues to grow, Governing Council believes it’s important to have a wider range of views and geographical perspectives at the Council level as Council is responsible, in the Charter and Bye-laws, for the long-term future of the profession.

    As a result of these proposed reforms, members can expect to see an enhanced and increasingly visible and influential UK and Ireland World Regional Board, proactively supporting, promoting and driving the profession and its market recognition forward at a regional and local level in the profession’s heartland.

    The World Regional Boards, including the UK and Ireland Board, will lead the profession in their regions, building strong relationships with stakeholders and ensuring the profession is promoted and supported.

  • There will be 25 seats on the new Council if the proposals are approved. Council proposes that six of these are dedicated for election by the EMEA region and of these, two will be dedicated to the UK and Ireland. There are also six elected strategy seats (four of which are already held by UK&I based members) and four office holder seats (at least two of which are already held by UK-based members who will be in those posts for some time to come). This means that for the next five years there will in practice be at least eight UK-based members on Council.

    In deciding its proposals on the configuration of seats Council recognised that, with more than half of the votes coming from the UK, this was likely to be the position for the foreseeable future and would provide a correct reflection of the make-up of the profession as it grows and evolves.

Issues of constitution and authority in RICS

  • Governing Council, even in its current form, is not a direct representative body. Members are elected to provide strategic leadership and oversight, bringing perspectives from their part of the profession. We could never create a functioning Governing Council representing all the geographies and specialisms but we can ensure that Council is equipped to make sure the profession remains relevant, trusted and valued in the 21st century – that is the purpose of these reforms.

  • No. The changes have been devised and proposed by Governing Council, the profession’s elected leadership body. Council has discussed and carefully considered these issues over a substantial period. Governing Council will remain, on behalf of the profession and wider stakeholders, the strategic leadership and oversight body working in partnership with the staff team to achieve the profession’s aims and ensure it stays relevant, trusted and valued.

  • Council believes that the current approach in which the President chairs Council for one year while in office does not provide the consistency and strategic long-term thinking needed to drive forward the profession. RICS is now a complex global body of considerable size and importance to its stakeholders (clients of the profession, governments etc) and as such needs a chair of longer tenure to lead Council in ensuring a future for the profession.

  • The President will remain the lead ambassador and public face for the profession. He or she will lead the programme of engagement with the profession and stakeholders, building the profession’s future and promoting the benefits of Chartered Surveyors.

  • The Chair of Governing Council will:

    • ensure that there is increased connectivity and engagement between Council members, the Executive and with other stakeholders between physical Council Meetings
    • provide continuity of leadership between Council meetings and allow the President to concentrate on his/or her ambassadorial duties
    • form an effective partnership with the Chair of the Management Board and the Chair of the Standards and Regulation Board
    • be responsible for effective coaching and performance management to utilise the skills of each Council member to ensure a high performing Governing Council
    • provide assurance to the profession that Council acts in the best interests of the profession without bias and that the aims and objectives of Council are being effectively managed
    • be responsible for achieving consensus through the recognition of the diverse views of Council members.
  • Council has decided that the Chair could be, but does not have to be, a member of the profession. If these changes are approved, applications for the role will be invited from members of the profession and those who are not members of the profession.

    The best person for the role will be selected through RICS’ appointments model. This will be an open, fair and transparent process in accordance with good practise appointment processes.

  • The proposal is that there will be 25 elected seats on Council. This includes 15 elected regional seats: two for UK; two for mainland Europe; one for Middle East; one for Sub-Saharan Africa; two for China and Hong Kong; one for India; one for South East Asia; one for Australasia; three for Canada and USA; and one for Brazil. There are also six elected strategy seats which are based on professional specialisms and 4 office holder seats elected by Council – the President, the President Elect, the Senior Vice President and the Chair of Governing Council.

    The changes proposed by Governing Council are designed to bring perspectives from across a range of regions and professional disciplines, with a broad split of seats that reflects the current and anticipated future distribution of the profession. Although there are only two seats for the UK, in practice members from the UK will hold at least eight of the seats for the foreseeable future as two current office holder and four current strategy seats are already held by members from the UK.  Council took account of this this when it decided on the base seat allocation.

    An important consequence of the proposed role of a smaller Council – to act as a long-term strategy body for the future of the profession - is that the World Regional Boards, would take a more prominent role in supporting and promoting the profession and setting the strategy for their regions.

  • The proposed single Board for Standards and Regulation, if approved, will cover all aspects of policy relating to qualifying, practice standards and enforcement. It will NOT however cover disciplinary case handling – that is a matter (as now) for disciplinary panels which are at arm’s length to the Regulatory Board and the rest of RICS.

    Council believes that bringing together our approach to setting standards and how they can best be enforced is the best way to ensure that we remain trusted to set and enforce the profession’s standards. There is also a benefit for the profession, in that a single board will have an overview of the total expectations and requirements placed on the profession by RICS – under the current separate standards and regulation regimes, there is a risk of a fragmented and burdensome approach. 

Benefits to the profession

  • All organisations need to keep pace with external expectations and stay up to date in terms of governance and these proposals are intended to modernise the Institution ensuring it – and the profession – remain respected and up to date and effective. Perhaps the most important benefit for members of the profession is the prospect of remaining a self-regulating profession, trusted to set and enforce its own standards rather than regulated under statute as many professions already are.

    Governing Council believes that the best way to serve members’ interests is to ensure that the profession is trusted and relevant. Council believes this will be best achieved through building a modern, diverse and agile Governing Council and an appropriate oversight body for the setting and supervision of regulations and standards. Council believes the proposals will ensure trust and ongoing demand for the profession into the future. They will also provide for greater agility in decision making and responding to the rapid pace of external change. Regional Boards will continue to focus on supporting and promoting the profession in our regions.

  • This vote will not have an impact on member fees. The purpose of the proposed changes are to put in place a governance structure fit for a 21st Century Professional Body and our aim is to continually modernise and make the Institution more efficient.

Voting matters

  • Governing Council is the body, elected by the profession to take responsibility for deciding how we can best organise RICS to ensure the profession remains trusted, recognised and equipped with relevant skills. Council has considered the current proposals in great depth and believes that, as a package, they ensure that our high level governance structure reflects the needs and direction of the profession and the world it serves.

    It’s clear from our regular surveys what members of the profession expect from us and what they are interested in – there is a strong demand to be promoted to clients and potential clients and to be supported with the necessary qualifications, skills and knowledge to take the opportunities ahead. Whilst Council has been considering governance needs, it has also been consulting with the profession on the major trends, shifts and impacts affecting the sector. The insight we have gained from this consultation will inform Council’s strategy and plans, ensuring that all members of the profession, wherever they practise, whatever their size or professional discipline, feel supported and equipped for the future. We cannot hold back the tide of rapid progress but we can focus on what is important for the profession – having relevant skills and qualifications.

  • The decision to hold the Council meeting and AGM in Hong Kong was taken some time ago on the basis that Chris Brooke, the President elected by Council and to be inaugurated next month, is based there. There are 20,000 members of the profession in Hong Kong and Greater China. As part of the reforms Governing Council has already introduced, it now meets twice a year as opposed to the previous three times, and the cost associated with holding Council meetings has in fact been reduced in recent years.

    At least one of the meetings each year is held in the UK and the other meeting is held in a place where the profession is growing and developing. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam – a Chartered Surveyor - will host the inauguration at Government House, a sign of high regard for the profession on the part of the Hong Kong authorities.

  • No. The proposed changes are being delivered as a single package of measures and we are asking you to vote yes or no to all of the proposals. Governing Council believes that all of the changes are needed to modernise our governance.

  • All chartered members of the profession (MRICS and FRICS) are eligible to vote.

  • We want to make it as easy and accessible as possible for members of the profession to be able to vote on these important proposed governance changes. Therefore, we have put in place four voting options;

    1. Attend the meeting in person;
    2. Attend the meeting remotely;
    3. Vote online;
    4. Vote by proxy.

    By putting in place flexible and alternative voting mechanisms our intention is to encourage wide participation across the profession in this important vote. The vote is administered by Electoral Reform Services, a UK based independent elections oversight body.

  • Please do not vote in advance of the meeting taking place, but register to attend the AGM by visiting You will be provided at the meeting with an electronic device to cast your vote.

    Please be aware that you need to register in advance to attend the AGM. The deadline for registration is Friday 23 November 2018 at 12:00 hours HKT (04:00 hours GMT).

  • Please do not vote in advance of the meeting taking place but register to attend the AGM remotely by visiting

    You will be provided with a secure voting link to cast your vote from wherever you are located during the meeting.

  • Yes, you do need to register in advance and the deadline for registration is Friday 23 November 2018 at 12:00 hours HKT (04:00 hours GMT).

    If you have registered to attend in person or remotely and have cast a vote in advance of the meeting, then that vote will be automatically rescinded and you will be able to vote at the meeting.

  • Please follow the voting instructions you receive from our independent election agents, Electoral Reform Services (ERS) in an email or letter and vote either yes to the proposals, no to the proposals, or abstain.

    The closing date for voting in advance of the meeting is Monday 26 November at 14:00 hours HKT (06:00 hours GMT).

  • You can nominate the Chair of the meeting (who would normally be the President) to cast a proxy vote for you at their discretion at the meeting - in other words the Chair of the meeting will vote yes, no or abstain on your behalf.

    Follow the instructions you receive from our independent election agents, Electoral Reform Services (ERS) in an email or letter and instruct the Chair of the meeting to vote on your behalf. The closing date for giving your proxy vote to the Chair is Monday 26 November at 14:00 hours HKT.(06:00 hours GMT).

  • The result of the vote will be announced at the end of the AGM in Hong Kong on 27 November and will be posted on

  • There is no minimum numbers of votes needed. If a majority of the votes cast are in favour of the Special Resolution then the Resolution is passed. If there is not a majority of votes in favour, the Special Resolution is not passed.

  • The proposed changes to the Royal Charter and Bye-Laws will be sent to the Privy Council for formal approval. See here for more information on the Privy Council and its relationship to Chartered Bodies.

    The Privy Council have already been consulted on the proposed changes and Privy Council advisors have indicated their in-principle support. If Privy Council grants formal approval, the changes will be incorporated into an updated version of the Royal Charter and Bye-Laws.

  • If the vote on the Special Resolution is not in favour then no changes will be made to the Charter and Bye-Laws and the current Transitionary Governing Council, Regulatory Board and Conduct and Appeals Committee will continue to operate. Council will consider possible next steps to respond to the profession’s view of the future.