One of the non-executive directors (NEDs) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) allegedly ousted for raising the alarm about a financial audit has called on the body to publish the findings of the independent review into the matter or risk ‘exacerbating the damage done’.
The 153-year-old institution has been engulfed in a governance crisis since The Sunday Times reported late last year that four directors had been dismissed in 2019 for raising the alarm over a 2018 BDO financial report.
Steve Williams, one of four who had his contract terminated, has added his voice to the growing chorus of members demanding that the findings of an independent review into the controversy be made public.
Alison Levitt QC, who was appointed by RICS to conduct the review, last week delivered the 400-page report to the chair of the steering committee of the governing council of RICS, but it is not yet clear when the report will be made public or how much of it will be released. It is understood there are three versions of the report – ‘open’, ‘closed’ and ‘executive summary’.
In an open letter to RICS governing council’s Levitt review steering committee, shared with Property Week, Williams wrote: “Redacting or tempering the report’s findings to protect any of us who may have come in for criticism (including, for all we know, the four of us who were terminated) will only exacerbate the damage done.”
Williams, a past president of RICS and former chair of its GC, said that he had “every confidence that you, as concerned members yourselves, will use the findings to restore trust in the Institution”.
He added: “Those who have voted you into office and who have, in effect, funded the Levitt report via their subscriptions, will look forward to transparency and fair dealing.”
The comments will heap fresh pressure on RICS, which has faced a barrage of calls from the wider membership base in recent days for the report to be made public.
A spokesperson for RICS said: “The Governing Council of RICS is now in receipt of the Independent Review delivered by Alison Levitt QC and is in the process of carefully considering its findings and recommendations. We will issue a formal response once this process has concluded.”
An open letter to RICS from past president Steve Williams:
I applaud you for commissioning the Levitt inquiry after the now ‘”dismissed four” sought to advise Council via the then President that they it should look further into the matter of the 2019 internal audit.
Having known many of you for a long time and having myself chaired Governing Council, (the Institution’s ultimate member-led, decision-making, authority), I have every confidence that you, as concerned members yourselves, will use the findings to restore trust in the Institution.
Redacting or tempering the report to protect any of us who may have come in for criticism (including, for all we know, the four of us who were terminated) will only exacerbate the damage done.
Those who have voted you into office and who have, in effect, funded the Levitt report via their subscriptions, will look forward to transparency and fair dealing.
RICS Past President