RIAS Outcome Statement RIAS Consultancy


The RIAS has determined a complaint relating to RIAS Consultancy

The RIAS recognises the important role complaints play in highlighting areas for
learning and improvement. The RIAS Council has carefully considered the specific
complaint about the RIAS Consultancy which surfaced some of the challenges facing
the profession around, what many regard as, the current inflexible, public
procurement processes.

The complaint highlighted that the RIAS must maintain professional rigour in its
administration and advice and guidance to clients on fees.

It’s a key topic for RIAS and its members and we are committed to doing all that we
can to create approaches that better reflect the changing context we are all operating
in and the needs of architects, designers and their clients.

For 25 years, the RIAS Consultancy has played an important role for members by
strengthening support for the architecture profession through new client appointments;
architectural competitions; income generation and the creation of greater financial
stability for the organisation.

The RIAS Consultancy work has included high-profile competitions such as the
Gateway Building for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Edinburgh and for prestigious
clients including the National Galleries of Scotland.

It reinforces the need for change to current public procurement processes and
underpins why this topic is central to the RIAS Strategy “Creating Space for Inspiring
Conversations” which was first published in 2019. Our ambition to transform
procurement processes is shared by partners in the public sector, private sector and,
indeed, within government. It will take a huge collaborative effort but members can
rest assured that we are doing everything we can to effect this change.

We want to get this right in order to support the profession; promote the value of
architecture and design; encourage innovation and create opportunities for new and
emerging practitioners.

Despite a most challenging year, RIAS has made considerable progress. We have
taken a number of steps that address areas highlighted in the complaint and will, over
the course of the next year or so, strengthen the role the RIAS Consultancy is able to
play. We want nothing less than for the RIAS Consultancy to become the go to place
for appointing the best architects in Scotland. In summary, these steps include:

  • The appointment of Tamsie Thomson as the new CEO of RIAS. Tamsie
    brings a wealth of experience to the RIAS including, importantly, her extensive
    experience of developing client relationships and competitions with New
    London Architecture. This will be invaluable in determining the correct, future
    shape of RIAS Consultancy.

  • The RIAS will update its policy and procedures for RIAS Consultancy to
    reflect the RIAS ethos and build in systems that ensure RIAS members
    interests are put at the heart of the processes employed. This work, alongside
    the development of a business plan by RIAS Services Board, will enable RIAS
    to be more proactive in seeking and supporting new RIAS Consultancy clients
    and ensuring that the ethos of the RIAS is not compromised.

  • The Transforming the Value of Consultancy initiative has resulted in
    renewed support by Scottish Government (via Scottish Futures Trust) for the
    architecture and design professions. RIAS is playing a key role in this important
    work which seeks a fundamental shift to better align fees and procurement
    strategies to the challenges set by a zero-carbon future. The RIAS will be
    watching with interest the Green Paper on procurement and anticipated UK
    government bill.

We believe these steps will guide the future approach and shape of RIAS Consultancy
and ensure that it is working to the highest professional standards and acting in the
best interests of the sector and clients.
Our commitment at all times is to help create opportunities for and raise the profile of
our members and their work.

10 September 2021

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