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RICS Governing Council Issues Public Apology to Dismissed NEDs

RICS Governing Council Issues Public Apology to Dismissed NEDs
30 September 2021 | Updated 01 October 2021
 

RICS has, on the recommendation of an independent review, published a public apology to the four Non-Executive Directors who were wrongly dismissed in 2019.

The body has also apologised to former members of Governing Council who had been improperly threatened with legal proceedings.

These apologies were made privately, immediately before the publication of the independent review, and have now been made public.

 

"On behalf of the Governing Council and RICS, I apologise unreservedly for the way you have been treated. We thank you for your courageous persistence in the pursuit of unacceptable conduct. It is an exemplar for the behaviours we expect of officeholders of this nature."

–Nick Maclean

Acting Chair, RICS Governing Council

 

“Unacceptable and Indefensible” Treatment

 

Nick Maclean, Acting Chair of the Governing Council, described Amarjit Atkar’s, Bruce McAra’s, Simon Hardwick’s and Steve Williams’s treatment and dismissal as “unacceptable and indefensible” and issued the following:

“On behalf of the Governing Council and RICS, I apologise unreservedly for the way you have been treated. We thank you for your courageous persistence in the pursuit of unacceptable conduct. It is an exemplar for the behaviours we expect of officeholders of this nature.

“As Ms Levitt concluded, you were right to challenge the refusal to give you full and proper information about our Treasury Management function. In finding that you were not to blame for what happened and being satisfied that you would have failed us had you not escalated the situation, Ms Levitt concludes that you are entirely exonerated.

“We accept and agree with this conclusion without reservation.”

The apology also detailed regret for any “anxiety and inconvenience you have suffered from RICS’ initial response to the media reporting”, stating that the body has initiated steps to address the systemic issues that allowed “the Institution to treat you in the way it did”

 

New Value Statement for RICS

 

The Governing Council of RICS has also published a statement setting out the values expected of the institution in response to the independent review.

The statement describes how the organisation shall commission an independent review into governance (to commence before the end of November), introduce a new whistleblowing structure and initiate a “shake-up of executive remuneration”.

The values statement identifies six key values: integrity, transparency, inclusion, collaboration, advocacy and passion.

Nick Maclean said: "Ethical culture and behaviour are at the core of RICS’s identity and we believe our new values statement will be an important step in restoring pride in our institution. However, we are aware that we will be judged by our actions, not our words, and that is why we felt it was important to give an update on our response to Alison Levitt QC’s recommendations, with a clear timeline for each one”.

The Governing Council has also provided a timeline for its response to other recommendations from the review:

 

  • A review into reward structures and levels for senior executives will be undertaken and a procurement process will take place to select the external advisers who will undertake it.
  • An agreement to deliver a best-in-class whistleblowing process is being drawn up with Protect, the charity which supports employees and businesses in raising concerns at work.
  • Wide-ranging governance reforms are already underway ahead of the independent review. All minutes of Board and committee meetings will be shared with Governing Council, Management Board, Audit Committee and Standards and Regulations Board by the end of October.
  • The Management Board will now meet eight times a year, with members of the Presidential team excluded from meetings, and any member of a RICS board can now raise any matter directly with Governing Council.
  • No new instructions will be given to legal advisors Fieldfisher. A new framework is being drawn for procuring legal advisors and a tender process is expected to begin in January 2022

 

Further updates on its key recommendations will be provided at the Annual General Meeting on November 25th.

 

Picture: a photograph of the RICS logo on a wall

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 30 September 2021

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