Neil Baxter resigns after ‘transparency’ campaign by Scottish architects

The RIAS secretary and treasurer, Neil Baxter, has resigned just days after a group of more than 150 Scottish architects demanded an independent review of governance at the body.

Neil Baxter

Neil Baxter

A terse statement issued by RIAS said: “The Royal Incorporation has agreed to the request from our secretary, Neil Baxter Hon FRIAS Hon FRIBA, to leave the organisation after 10 years of service.

“Neil will be standing down as of today and the senior management team at the RIAS will continue to deal with all matters relating to the business of the incorporation.”

It refused to be drawn on further details.

But Baxter’s resignation comes after a campaign was launched by leading members of the profession in Scotland including Malcolm Fraser, Charlie Hussey, Jude Barber, Paul Stallan, Kieran Gaffney and Christopher Platt, head of architecture at the Mackintosh.

Calling themselves A New Chapter, they set up a website demanding the incorporation “address key issues surrounding transparency, accountability and inclusivity”.

They are demanding the RIAS:

  • Carry out an independent, third-party review to investigate and resolve historical issues of concern over governance, accountability and transparency in order to recommend actions for future operations, conduct and governance of the incorporation;
  • Allow members to review the RIAS Charter and any draft five-year strategy in order for that strategy to be influenced by and reflect the membership’s aspirations for a dynamic, relevant and inclusive body fit for the 21st century;
  • Provide members with greater clarity of the various roles and responsibilities within the incorporation and, critically, their associated methods of appointment;
  • Consider how public statements are made by the incorporation on behalf of the membership;
  • Allow the membership to elect their president rather than as an appointment-by-council;
  • Separate the executive and financial responsibilities.

Baxter became secretary in 2008 after a stint as assistant secretary.