The Bichard RICS Review: Recommendations for an overhaul of the RICS structure

Published on 30 June 2022

The Bichard RICS Review has been published this month following the investigation into the institution by Lord Michael Bichard. In his report, Lord Bichard has made a number of recommendations in relation to the purpose and governance of RICS, which they have been urged to adopt "at pace".

The focus of the Review is to help create a new sense of purpose and direction for RICS and to ensure that it will have the resilience to tackle any future challenges that it may face in years to come. 

The major theme of Lord Bichard's recommendations is to provide the members themselves with more decision-making powers, bringing the focus back on them. Part of this will entail scaling back the current focus on commercial activities, or at least moving these to a distinct commercial arm that will report to the board. It is hoped that, in doing this, RICS will be better able to offer the core free services to its members which Lord Bichard considers should be at the heart of its activities.  

The first phase of the recommended reorganisation will involve re-establishing RICS' reporting lines and the introduction of new leadership roles to simplify its governance model. This will involve introducing a new President role to oversee the governing council, as well as a new board to oversee daily operations, and to deliver a business plan that has been agreed by the governing council. These changes, amongst others, are due to be made in October 2022. This is aimed at being a point of significant change within the leadership of RICS. 

In addition, Lord Bichard proposes changes to the governing council, the highest governing body within RICS, including boosting its number from 22 to 28 members and also making changes to the composition to better reflect geographies and specialisms. A senior independent governor will be introduced to monitor the governing council.  Regional boards will also be provided with more autonomy and devolved power, in the hope that it will help members to feel more engaged and empowered. 5 new committees and 3 new panels will be created, including a public interest panel and a diversity and inclusion panel, in order to better represent RICS' members and their interests. 

It has also been proposed that a new public fund for public interest activities is established. Lord Bichard has suggested that the fund is made up from fines paid by members who have been found to have breached regulations and can then be used to support RICS members in undertaking pro bono work.

A 5 yearly independent review will be undertaken on the body, in addition to external performance evaluations for every 3 years. Lord Bichard has, however, advised that he believed that RICS should remain a self-regulated body so that the standards and regulations are more autonomous. He conveyed that he would be surprised if the Government did not consider at some point whether a separate entity should regulate the surveyor profession, which, in his view, would be a mistake.

It is hoped that these changes will be to the benefit of both RICS members and society as a whole by “advancing and facilitating access to surveying knowledge by maintaining and promoting the usefulness of the profession”.

You can read the Bichard RICS Review here

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