Four members of RICS leadership team step down

RICS’ CEO Sean Tompkins, President Kath Fontana, Interim Chair of Governing Council, Chris Brooke, and Chair of the Management Board, Paul Marcuse have got all stood down from their posts carrying out a governance scandal which includes thrown the Institute into turmoil.

The Governing Council of RICS offers published the Independent Evaluation by Alison Levitt QC in to the events that occurred following commissioning of a Treasury Management audit in 2018 and contains voted to simply accept all her recommendations.

The 467-page document concludes that four non-Executive Board members (Amarjit Atkar, Bruce McAra, Simon Hardwick, and Steve Williams), who raised legitimate problems that the audit have been suppressed, had been wrongly dismissed from the Management Board and that sound governance principles weren’t followed.

The statement discovers that the origins of what proceeded to go incorrect lay in the governance architecture of RICS. Too little clarity concerning the responsibilities and roles of the Boards, the senior leadership and the management still left cracks within that your LEADER and his Chief Working Officer had become utilized to operating with small efficient scrutiny.

Although they believed these were acting in the very best interests of RICS, these were resistant to becoming challenged. When non-Executive members of the Management Board insisted they must have sight of inner audit reports and refused to back off it grew to become a “them or us” circumstance.

The record concludes that this had not been a cover-up just as much as a power battle. The Executive utilized the governance framework as a fig leaf because of its actions and demonstrated a collective failure of good sense in allowing the problem to escalate unnecessarily. RICS had not been well offered by its lawyers who must have provided objective advice but noticed their role to be to safeguard the Executive.

Levitt completely exonerates the four non-Executives dismissed from the Board and states they might have failed RICS should they had supported down.

The BDO audit, which elevated serious issues about Treasury Management controls, in December 2018 has been received by the principle Operating Officer, but not distributed to the Management Board until seven months later.

Governing Council was unacquainted with the report’s existence until it discovered of the non-Executives’ dismissal in November 2019 and had not been proven it until January 2021. Unlike that which was claimed publicly later, Governing Council had not been “kept fully educated”

As the constitution and construction are the real cause of what proceeded to go incorrect in 2019, the review says there exists a real risk that when it is not handled something similar can happen again.

The report’s major recommendation will be for a wide-ranging external overview of purpose, strategy and governance, led by an unbiased reviewer, like a retired senior civil servant.

The Governing Council provides committed to implementing all of the report’s recommendations and contains released a formal apology to the four non-Executive directors and wanted to reimburse their legal fees. It has additionally apologised to members of the GC2019 team who have been incorrectly threatened with legal motion and also wanted to reimburse their legal fees.

Before the report’s publication, CEO Sean Tompkins, President Kath Fontana, Interim Chair of Governing Council, Chris Brooke, and Chair of the Management Board, Paul Marcuse possess stood straight down from their posts also. Amit Shah, the Chair of the Audit Committee, has arrived at the finish of his term.

Talking about his resignation Tompkins mentioned: “The changes which might flow from the independent governance evaluation will need time to achieve, time I could longer invest in after a decade as CEO no. I believe this involves longer-term leadership to aid Governing Council with the critical trip of change and, as a total result, I am standing as CEO lower.”

Fontana furthermore commented:  “Following independent evaluation, and in the very best attention of the Organization, it is befitting me to now give to the incoming President Elect Clement Lau to prospect the Organization as President with immediate effect. It’s high time for the Organization to spotlight the future and for me personally to transition the change of presidential leadership sooner than my mentioned term in October. I’ve always been enthusiastic about my engagement in the RICS and contains already been my ultimate privilege to possess been elected President. I’ll remain a committed person in RICS and will continue steadily to work in its greatest interest all the time.”

An activity is under solution to appoint a fresh interim CEO, having an announcement imminently expected. Nick Maclean, who brought the Steering Team for the Independent Evaluation, has already been appointed Temporary Chair of Governing Council, and you will be donating his salary for the role to Lionheart, the RICS charity.

Governing Council will direct the reaction to the report, which includes been published completely on view version relative to the advice of Alison Levitt QC.

Along with recommending a wide-ranging external evaluation, a series is manufactured by the survey of interim recommendations associated with governance, Executive remuneration, whistle blowing and legal services, which is implemented in full, which includes:

  • Greater oversight for Governing Council, which should discover the Minutes of most committees and Boards. Updates should be supplied by the Chair of the committee or Board, not by the principle Executive or another senior employee.
  • A lot more frequent meetings of the Management Board, that ought to be recognised as getting responsibility for several operational matters and really should receive Minutes and documents it requests from all the Boards. Members will be able to raise problems with Governing Council straight.
  • Financial bonuses at senior executive degree should be examined to determine if they’re appropriate for a specialist membership organisation.
  • The whistle-blowing procedures ought to be overhauled to permit any complaint against a senior person in the senior leadership group to be described an independent alternative party.
  • External legal services should always get on the foundation that RICS may be the client, not really its senior management. RICS should think about whether previous legal services kept this principle at heart sufficiently. The provision of legal services to RICS ought to be dependant on competitive tender every 3 years.

Nick Maclean, Temporary Chair of Governing Council stated: “We have been grateful to Alison Levitt QC on her behalf very thorough document and have approved her findings within their entirety. We commissioned an unbiased reviewer because we have been focused on fostering a culture of openness and transparency which is why we’ve published it completely.

“Whilst her statement makes uncomfortable reading through it provide us having an opportunity to carry out far-reaching reforms and create RICS as the precious metal standard for expert bodies, that will regenerate our historic organization.

“I’ve personally apologised to the non-Executive Board members who have been unfairly dismissed with respect to RICS and wish to continue doing this apology publicly, along with apologising to members of the GC2019 team who have been improperly threatened with legal actions.

“We’ve recognized the decisions of the CEO, President, Chair of Governing chair and Council of the Management Board to stand straight down and thank them because of their service.

“I could promise our members and staff that people will have an open up dialogue about our plans for the brand new, external overview of our organisation and about additional changes we apply to handle the failings determined in the record.

“I could reassure the wider profession and the general public our oversight of expert and regulatory standards hasn’t already been compromised by the events referred to in this review. These features are governed by way of a independent Board, set up at the start of 2020, with a lay majority and chaired by Dame Janet Paraskeva independently.”

Alison Levitt QC mentioned: “RICS can be an organisation about which its members are usually passionate. Whilst those that provided evidence if you ask me disagreed about a large number of things, there is one issue which united them, namely the feeling of pride they sensed at getting members of RICS.

“It has been a unfortunate and depressing episode in the life span of an excellent Institution. There exists a yearning to come back RICS to a posture of pre-eminence in expert membership organisations. I’m confident that with imagination and courage, an unbiased external governance review can put RICS in to the position of continue in unity in the general public curiosity.

“My survey has not made simple reading through for the Governing Council of RICS, that has shown courage, leadership and a genuine commitment to transparency by publishing it completely. I am pleased that it’s adopting all my recommendations immediately.”