Following revelations in 2020 that four members of the governing board had been dismissed for raising concerns about financial controls at the Institute, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors commissioned an independent review led by Alison Levitt QC. The findings of that review were published last week in a 467-page report that recommended a wide-ranging review of purpose, governance and strategy at RICS.
In this article, RICS Members at Jansons Property share their views on the findings of the report and what changes they would like to see at the Institute.
Tom Jansons, Development Manager
”I qualified for the RICS relatively recently and for me, it was quite a tough process to go through, I felt it was a big achievement to receive my accreditation and something I’m proud of. It is something I tell people about and an achievement I will always be proud of. Membership in the RICS is a big thing and it should continue to be an important element as new people come into the real estate industry.
It’s good for us as an industry to know that the new generation coming through are of a high enough standard to be in control of the built environment in this country because these people are going to be building our future buildings and providing important advice and direction. So, we need to make sure that these people uphold a certain standard.
I’ve been a qualified member for four years but I’m not sure I get as much value out of being a member as I thought I would, considering the amount of money I pay every year. The value for me is the RICS accreditation next to my name on my business card and on my emails. But whether there is anything else around that I really gain… probably not. I’m happy with the RICS, I’m happy with my membership but I’d like to see them provide more value to members, for being a member, whatever that might be. If you look at the cost of the membership in comparison to other professional bodies, we are paying more. And the recent events that have happened have made my generation start to question membership a little bit I think. Not as much as the older generation, because we are still recently qualified, and we still remember the process we went through to get accreditation, and we still feel very proud of it.
For me, it’d be good to see more communication about what’s going on, future events, the property world etc. but at the moment the communication they have is pretty poor.”
Andy Jansons, Managing Director
”I think it’s massively lost its way in terms of an institution. It is now held in high regard by other professions, by those in the banking industry…. If you are coming into the profession, it is very much viewed as a hurdle that graduates will need to jump over, be a member of RICS and that involves two years of working, keeping a diary of work experience, an interview and passing the test of professional competence. That seems to be what’s driving the institution, rather than actually being an institution that’s there for its members, such as me, who are continually paying for no real benefit. I don’t require to be a chartered surveyor, nor do I get any networking opportunities, which I think many institutions would offer.
I think it’s massively lost its way in terms of an institution.
I think the backup they provide is very poor, it’s not commercial, it’s not attractive and it seems to be led by faceless people. I remember years ago, it used to be a quite prestigious achievement for somebody to be president of the RICS. I can think of a couple of names there, like Graham Chase, who had his own practice in retail real estate, who was an agent, was admired by people for his knowledge but also his personality, or Clive Lewis, who was such a big personality. And I think that’s what it lacks now… it lacks the personality that we as chartered surveyors can identify with, in terms of being vibrant, forward-thinking, and this is something they definitely aren’t.”
Henry Revill, Development Surveyor
”Having just enrolled with the RICS, the institution is very much a new one to me. It is no coincidence that the majority of graduate jobs being handed out in the real estate sector focus on achieving the APC qualification in order to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor. Having spoken to a number of people in the industry who have gone through the rigorous interview process, it is clear that the APC is a real commitment and there is a genuine feeling of achievement when the process comes to an end. I am a long way from qualifying but to qualify as a Chartered Surveyor genuinely motivates me in my work.
From a graduate perspective, it is something that most of my peer group from my MSc Real Estate course at the Henley Business School are doing so in order to avoid feeling like you’re falling behind everyone enrols.
The obvious benefits of membership include being part of an institution that promotes working to the highest standard of excellence and integrity whilst perceived benefits include enhancing your employability. So for a graduate looking to progress in their career, the APC qualification is one that definitely helps to achieve this.
I am yet to see what the RICS will give me back in return for my membership fees but with the publication of the Levitt Report revealing the scandal surrounding the RICS maybe the credibility of this historic organisation will be restored.”