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RIBA North Regional shake-up to create new partnerships post

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October 25 2005

RIBA North is to close its Newcastle office by the end of the year, making two staff redundant, and creating a new post Head of Strategic Partnerships, in an attempt to the bolster the institute’s relationship with local government, the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and other regeneration bodies.

The move is the outcome of a regional review of services, which followed on from a National review of the regions held last year. Two years ago the RIBA also undertook a Core Costs Review to look at how they could cut costs. One outcome of that review was an agreement that the subsidy to the regions would be cut over a number of years. By the time the process comes to an end in 2007 the regions are expected to have found other sources of income complement their subsidy.

“No doubt the cost savings were an issue in the background, but the changes in the North are not driven by cost savings, they are more about improving services for members in the region.” said Nick Taylor, the recently appointed RIBA Executive Director of Professional Services.

The shift in funding makes the RIBA regions more commercially creative and externally orientated, but has been criticised by some members for making the profession overly reliant on government-funded bodies. “The current regional director and regional council were frustrated by the weight of administration work, which meant people in the office didn’t have the time or the skill base to do representative work. We will put the administration of membership in the Leeds office and boost their team,” explained Taylor.

The purpose of the reorganisation is to strengthen the campaigning, lobbying side of the RIBA’s regional work. By moving member’s services to Leeds the two regions should be able to benefit from some economies of scale. A new post of will go to a single individual without an office, saving the region money in overheads. However, RIBA North’s members will continue to be represented by a directly elected regional council.

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