Royal Instute of British Architects remain secret and un-transparent

suburbanstudio at suburbanstudio at
Mon Apr 14 11:33:16 BST 2008

The president of the Royal Institute of British Architect
Sunand Prasad, has been involved from some time into
a campaign to ensure members of RIBA reveal membership 
of organisations such as the Freemasons and other secret 

After one year, confidential documents within the RIBA, reveals
the failure of this action....


RIBA backs down as Freemasons defy rule
11 April 2008

By Will Hurst

RIBA president Sunand Prasad seeks compromise after new rule on declaring affiliations fails

The RIBA has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn over its pledge to ensure senior figures at the institute reveal membership of organisations such as the Freemasons.

A year ago, BD reported that RIBA Council had approved strict new rules proposed by then president Jack Pringle requiring council members, trustees and senior staff to declare interests of political parties and other groups. Pringle — who suspects masons have a secretive influence within the institute — singled out the group by name.

The wide-ranging measures were introduced in the wake of BNP member Peter Phillips’ bid for the presidency in 2006. They put the institute at odds with other bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Institution of Civil Engineers, and were opposed by incoming president Sunand Prasad.

But confidential agenda papers from the RIBA Council meeting last month — seen by BD — reveal that masons on council have refused to formally declare their membership and that Prasad is unwilling to force the issue by “hounding people”.

He is suggesting a compromise requiring councillors to sign a statement agreeing to treat all people they deal with fairly, regardless of their outside affiliations.

The RIBA pointed to an incident where an architect appearing before the institute’s discipline committee sought to unfairly influence the decision by revealing himself as a mason.

“To cater for the possibility that some Freemasons might feel bound by their codes not to declare membership, [the fair treatment] proposal was put to council,” the RIBA added.

Prasad said the latest proposal — still to be ratified by council — was a minor amendment aiming to promote “good practice”, adding that declaring interests had to remain voluntary.

“I’ve heard personally from masons that they don’t want to declare their interests,” he said. “But it is true that [the organisation] has become much less secret. I’m not going to go hounding people because they are not filling out their declaration of interest forms properly.”

Pringle insisted he had no regrets about his action, claiming there remained an obligation on senior RIBA figures to disclose all affiliations. “I don’t particularly like the masons or any secret society which appears to work together in an undisclosed way. I understand there are a number of masons on RIBA Council.”

But critics lambasted the RIBA, claiming it exposed the folly of Pringle’s measures. Association of Consultant Architects president Brian Waters said: “I’m exasperated by the things the RIBA finds to waste time and money on.”

A spokesman for the United Grand Lodge of England — which represents a masonic organisation it describes as one of the world’s oldest secular fraternal societies — said he was surprised by the RIBA’s action as Freemasons should declare their membership if asked. “It is the singling out of Freemasonry that we don’t like.”

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