OSCR probe into leading architecture body

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The charity regulator has been contacted over concerns about transparency at the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland 

11th December 2017 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Scotland’s charity watchdog is investigating the country’s leading architecture body.

Governance concerns at the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) have been referred to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The professional body, which is a registered charity, has been hit by a row after a group of more than 150 architects spoke out last month.

Forming a group entitled A New Chapter, the professionals called for a series of changes to be implemented to make the organisation more transparent.

A letter sent by the group said: “We are concerned at what we see as a lack of effectiveness, poor governance and insufficient financial accountability in Scottish architecture’s professional body.

“We want an organisation to better champion the profession and provide more meaningful support in the many crises which have afflicted us for too long.”

In response, the RIAS said there had been no attempts made to cover-up internal investigations, and that a review had identified a lack of structured governance which was being addressed.

OSCR confirmed on Monday that an investigation is being held. A spokesman said that when investigating the regulator considers whether any actions the charity trustees took may have been misguided or deliberate, any corrective action already taken, and the intentions of the charity’s trustees going forward. 

Karen Stevenson, the director of policy and development at the RIAS, said that the charity was in correspondence with OSCR but was not aware that it is under investigation.

The RIAS was founded in 1916 as the professional body for all chartered architects in Scotland, and offers scholarships and other programmes for aspiring architects. It also hosts the annual Festival of Architecture, which aims to celebrate Scotland’s built environment.

It reported an income of £1,709,092 for 2016, with £1,404,648 being allocated to charitable activities.

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