Updated: Oct 29
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What is today's blog about?
In this week’s blog, we look at the Bichard Review into the purpose, governance and strategy of the RICS. This is essential reading for all RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates, as well as qualified surveyors.
This will cover several competencies, although primarily it relates to Ethics, Rules of Conduct and Professionalism.
You can download the full report here.
What is the Bichard Review?
The Bichard Review is an independent review of the RICS’ purpose, governance and strategy. It was commissioned by RICS Governing Council in December 2021 following the Levitt Review (read more about this in a previous blog). The Levitt Review was another independent review, but into treasury management issues at RICS during 2018 and 2019.
The aim of the Bichard Review was to ‘create a new sense of purpose and direction so that RICS can once more stand tall as an exemplar professional institution, capable of tackling the challenges which will shape the way we all live in the years to come’.
The reporting process included a call for evidence, leading to 551 submissions, 90 meetings and round table discussions with 372 participants. The final report was released by Lord Bichard in June 2022.
You can watch this video to find out more:
What recommendations were made by the Bichard Review?
There are 36 recommendations made by the Bichard Review. These are set out below, as referenced directly and in full in Appendix 2:
'RICS now agrees and seeks to amend its Charter to incorporate the following revised purpose: “The Institution exists for the benefit of society to deliver positive change in the built and natural environment in the United Kingdom and around the world. It does this by advancing and facilitating access to surveying knowledge, by maintaining and promoting the usefulness of the profession and by leading, supporting and regulating a body of skilled professional surveyors and firms who demonstrate the highest ethical and technical standards”.
Governing Council should consider the global strategy and a delegation framework to give appropriate freedoms, resources and responsibilities to regional and area boards, whilst maintaining globally consistent standards.
Commercial activity be separated from other activities at RICS. This should be led by a suitably qualified Executive with strong commercial experience, and it should report into the Commercial Committee, who should ensure these activities deliver value for members as well as value for money.
RICS Matrics should be re-invigorated to give younger members a stronger voice in the Institution, including by allowing an appropriately selected representative from the community of younger members to sit on Governing Council, and participation by younger members should be encouraged throughout the whole RICS governance structure.
A Diversity and Inclusion Panel should be established to provide advice to the RICS Board and Standards and Regulation Board.
RICS needs to significantly improve its technology.
The RICS should reaffirm its commitment to work in the public interest and for public advantage.
The Governing Council should produce and consult on a framework document setting out the responsibilities and governance of the Standards and Regulation Board. This framework should align where possible with the Legal Services Board’s Internal Governance Rules.
To put public interest at the heart of its work, RICS should consider establishing a fund for public interest activity, which might include support for members to undertake pro bono activity and scholarships for students from communities where surveying is not well represented. This could be funded through the sanctions imposed on members and firms from regulation.
A Public Interest Panel should be established to advise the Governing Council.
RICS should develop further its thought leadership role.
RICS should make it clearer how clients can complain or seek redress for inadequate service.
The Standards and Regulation Board should consider the establishment of a Consumer Panel to report to the Board on consumer issues and the extent to which regulation is effective in the public interest.
RICS should commission an independent review of its effectiveness and the degree to which its work is undertaken for the public advantage every five years. This review should be published and laid before Parliament and the devolved administrations in the UK.
RICS builds upon the foundation of the Member Engagement, Experience and Value (MEEV) programme to ensure all members have access to a high quality offer, which should include content and events led by members in their geographic area, supported by local staff where appropriate.
RICS instigates a customer service improvement programme, spanning processes, systems and culture, to ensure that members receive an improved level of service.
The relationship between members and staff is re-defined to make clear that staff advise and support members.
RICS should draw up, and consult on, a renewed staff and member partnership statement which clarifies expectations of both parties. This should take place following the work to establish the Institution’s new values.
RICS should consult widely on a proposed set of values that will be applicable to all staff and shared across the whole surveying family. This set of values should include reference to quality of service, respect and public advantage.
The Nominations and Remuneration Committee should oversee the Senior Vice President selection process and the Presidential Nominations Committee should be dissolved.
A Senior Independent Governor should be appointed to act as an intermediary between Governing Council, the Board and the Executive.
Governing Council should remain the body ultimately accountable for directing and overseeing RICS’ strategy, but should be reformed so its membership of 28 better reflects the geographical distribution of members and the importance of professional specialisms
Governing Council should be Chaired by the President, who will be the highest elected officeholder and should represent the pinnacle of the profession.
Governing Council should meet formally four times a year, with additional meetings as required to ensure effective direction and oversight of the strategy.
An RICS Board should be formed to oversee day to day operations and delivery of the business plan agreed by Governing Council. The Board will have an appointed Chair, who will be an RICS Member and there will always be a majority of RICS Members on the Board.
An Audit, Risk, Assurance and Finance Committee should be formed from the existing Audit Committee to replace the existing Audit and Finance Committees, with enhanced responsibilities for managing risk. The current Finance Committee should be dissolved.
A Membership Services Committee should be formed to advise on the operationalisation of RICS strategy in the world regions and ensure a consistent and improved level of quality in member services globally.
A Knowledge and Practice Committee should be formed to oversee the Professional Group Panels, to lead on the advancement of knowledge and professional development and to take responsibility for policy affairs and thought leadership and ensure a consistent level of representation across RICS disciplines
RICS should consult on the structure of its professional disciplines to inform the development of a number of Professional Group Panels, which will lead the advancement of knowledge and professional development with their respective surveying sectors.
The Nominations Committee and Remuneration Committee should merge to form a new entity with responsibility for both areas. This new Committee would oversee an updated Global Appointments Model and advise on appointments to Governing Council, the Board and other governance appointments as appropriate.
A separate commercial arm should be established, with responsibility for delivering RICS’ commercial activities.
A Commercial Committee should be established to have oversight of RICS’ commercial activities.
All committee Chairs should undertake an annual evaluation to monitor the performance of their Committee.
All Committee Chairs should introduce an appraisal process to develop and evaluate the performance of the members of their Committee.
The Board and Standards and Regulation Board should commission an external evaluation of its performance every three years.
Governing Council should simplify the election process for governance bodies and set this out in a straightforward and transparent manner'.
What else do I need to know from the Bichard Review?
We recommend that all RICS APC and AssocRICS candidates read the Bichard Review, particularly the following sections (which also contain further information and context on each of the recommendations):
Chapter 1 – read this to find out about the history and purpose of RICS.
Chapter 2 – read this to find out more about the current and proposed future strategy of RICS. This includes a focus on membership engagement, sustainability, diversity & inclusion and technology.
Chapter 3 – read this to learn about RICS regulation and the public interest mandate.
Chapter 4 – read this to gain an even deeper understanding of membership engagement issues.
Chapter 5 – read this to strengthen your understanding of the culture and values of RICS. How do you feel that these align to your own values?
Chapter 6 – read this to learn more about the governance structure of RICS and how it can be improved in the future (see below for an idea of what might look like in practice).
What will happen next?
RICS Governing Council are working to implement all of the Bichard Review’s recommendations ‘at pace’. This will be through five new working groups and three phases, which are set out in Chapter 7 of the Review:
Transitioning the responsibilities of the Chair of Governing Council to the President, recruiting a new Chair of the Board, leader of the Executive and Chair of the combined Nominations and Recruitment Committee and undertaking various consultations.
Transitioning the responsibilities of the Management Board to a new Management Board, recruiting or appointing a Senior Independent Governor and other members and conducting elections for geographic Governing Council seats in early 2023.
Establishing new key Committees, Professional Group Panels and World Regional Boards and electing new disciplinary Governing Council seats.
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Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.
N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.