As stipulated in the Incorporation's Charter and Byelaws, the governance of the RIAS is federal with the six Chapters (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling) electing office bearers and representatives to the ruling Council to sit alongside nationally elected members, senior committee convenors and co-optees. Council in turn elects the President and other office bearers. While the President is elected annually the provision for re-election for a further year effectively ensures a two year term of office.

The Council is advised on strategy matters by the President's Policy Committee (PPC) and by committees whose remits reflect the breadth of RIAS' activity. PPC meets in advance of Council as a senior member forum.

A robust committee structure underpins the Incorporation's governance. Each committee has considered and agreed discrete remits. The necessary breadth of representation on each committee is maintained. Overarching Terms of Reference are in place to ensure that committees are of sufficient size to be representative but contained in number to ensure effectiveness, that meetings are tightly timetabled to respect the valuable voluntary contribution of members' time, that meetings are quorate and that committee membership is 'refreshed' on agreed cycles.

While the necessity for Terms of Reference is understood it is also important to maintain a degree of responsiveness and adaptability, acknowledging that the overly rigid application of 'rules' in those aspects of the Incorporation's activities not directly governed by the Byelaws or by legislation would be counterproductive.

The reconstituted committees, whose membership includes representatives of each Chapter, offer guidance on all aspects of the Incorporation's undertakings. Committee meetings are planned on a quarterly cycle, reflecting that of Council and are timetabled to enable reporting and policy matters to be processed through PPC/Council.