Insitute criticised for lack of transparency

RIBA has been slammed for “exclusionary tactics” after it emerged new members will be excluded from voting in the institute’s upcoming elections.

On 28 June voting will open to elect the organisation’s president, as well as 13 council seats and the president of the Royal Society of Architects in Wales.

But a rule change for 2022 means that members must have joined 10 or more days before the official notice of the election – published on 3 May This means any architects or students who have joined RIBA since 23 April will be ineligible.

Simon Allford

Source: Jean Goldsmith

Current RIBA president Simon Allford

According the institute, the addition of a cut-off point has been under consideration since last year and was approved by the council on 28 April 2022.

It said that cut-offs were “standard practice in membership organisations like ours” and encouraged all eligible members to engage with the election.

But grassroots campaign group Future Architects Front (FAF) decried RIBA for “outrageous lack of transparency” and said the institute had made it clear that “new members interested in creating a progressive future for the institute are not welcome”.

“We’re calling on all members to join us in condemning these exclusionary tactics,” the group added.

The FAF is part of an informal campaign group supporting Mace architectural worker Muyiwa Oki as a challenger in the forthcoming election, which has encouraged students and younger architects to take part in the process.

An FAF statement read: “Candidates like Muyiwa Oki will energise and motivate new members to join RIBA in the hope that the institute may one day represent their values. Their votes will now have zero impact.

“This voter exclusion succeeds only in keeping RIBA unrepresentative and irrelevant.

“RIBA’s new election rules are undemocratic and designed to maintain the status quo of the institute”.

In its own statement, RIBA said it was “committed to reviewing and improving our election processes to involve and benefit from the skills and experiences of all members, across the globe”.

It continued: “In 2020, we stopped the long-standing previous requirement which allowed only RIBA Chartered Members to vote in the Presidential elections, thereby enfranchising Student, Affiliate and Associate Members.

“In 2021 RIBA Council voted to change the RIBA Regulations so that International Members would become eligible to stand and vote for roles which were previously known as ‘national’ Council seats.

“This year we removed any requirement for Presidential candidates to have already been involved in RIBA governance before standing – thereby opening up the potential pool of those eligible to stand.”

The results of the elections will be announced on 2 August, with current president Simon Allford, co-founder of AHMM, completing his two-year term next year.