• You are here: News

RIBA urges architects to report diversity figures as it rolls out inclusion drive


Source:  Shutterstock/Moremar

The RIBA is calling on its members to sign up to its new Inclusion Charter which calls on practices to publicly report on how they are improving equality and diversity

The call comes as the institute also announced it was cutting membership fees to help members during a ‘turbulent period’.

The Inclusion Charter centres round a five-point action plan (below) to ‘drive cultural change’ in both the studio and the wider industry and which demands architects pledge to set inclusion targets, develop new ways of attracting talent and embed ‘inclusive design in all projects’.

According to the institute, the charter allows signatories to build on the requirements of the existing RIBA Codes of Conduct and Practice and will promote ‘transparency and accountability’ across the profession.


RIBA president Alan Jones said:  ‘We must pull together as employees, employers and business leaders to share best practice and put an end to any discrimination.

‘The RIBA Inclusion Charter gives architects and practices an opportunity to further their commitment to an inclusive profession, and share their experiences and expertise with others.’

He added: ‘I commend the founding signatories of the RIBA Inclusion Charter for making themselves accountable for change, and urge every architect and practice – regardless of scale, work or location – to step-up and sign-up to join our new community of equity champions.’

By signing the RIBA Inclusion Charter, individuals and practices:

  • Acknowledge the urgent need for inclusion in the architecture profession and wider construction industry.
  • Commit to setting inclusion targets and an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) action plan for their practice.
  • Commit to developing their workplace culture, talent pipeline and ways of working to support inclusion.
  • Commit to publicly reporting on progress of their EDI plan – transparency and accountability are vital to drive cultural change.
  • Commit to embedding inclusive design in all projects, and contributing to the development of inclusive environments.

One of the charter’s founding signatories, Kirsten Lees of Grimshaw, said: ‘We know how important it is that we recruit and retain the widest possible mix of voices and experiences that reflect the diversity of our society and the communities that use and experience our designs.

‘Our 2016 diversity plan has been successful in implementing meaningful change within the practice and, as a founding signatory on the RIBA Inclusion Charter, we pledge to continue to build on this and support the wider industry to address existing challenges and inequalities.’


The RIBA has also published Inclusion Footprints, a series of basic steps anyone in the profession can take ‘regardless of where they are in their career journey’ to help drive change.

Meanwhile, the institute has announced it is reducing its membership subscription rates for 2021 as ‘part of a package of support to help members navigate through and beyond the current turbulent period’.

Next year the annual fee for the most common form of membership – a UK based Chartered Member who has been qualified for over five years – will fall by more than 8 per cent to £399.

It is making the cut despite continuing to take in less money per annum than it is currently spending. According to its figures for the year ending 31 December 2018, the RIBA’s total income was £34.1 million compared with expenditure of £36 million.

And, while yet to be published, it is understood the 2019 figures will be similar.

But John Assael, chairman and co-founder of Assael, said the cuts did not go far enough and suggested many firms would discontinue their subscriptions as a result.

Assael, a former RIBA honorary treasurer, said that while he welcomed the fee drop for chartered architects, he was dismayed there was no additional reduction for firms that pay all their staff's RIBA memberships from their own pocket.

‘I am very disappointed that my request to the RIBA Board and the vice president for practice Valeria Passetti, for a further discount for practices that pay these subscriptions on behalf of their staff has been ignored,’ he said.

‘Consequently, we are considering whether we pay these subscriptions at all next year, and if many firms adopt the same policy as us, this will create a large hole in the RIBA finances. It has been a tough time for all of us in practice made worse by the RIBA hugely increasing the Chartered Practice fees only for large firms.'

He concluded: ‘Why can't the RIBA understand that all practices need their support in these difficult times?’

You might also be interested in…

Leave a comment

or a new account to join the discussion.

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.