President hopes that charm offensive in 24 towns and cities will turn the tide of criticism of the institution
THE president of the RICS is to embark on a tour of the UK to win over disaffected members amid renewed criticism from rebel QS Jeremy Hackett.

Nick Brooke will visit 24 towns and cities from Plymouth to Inverness as he tries to rally support for the Brooke review, his attempt to find a compromise between the leadership and its QSs.

The tour started on 25 March at Haydock, Merseyside, and will go on until his final meeting at Ewloe, North Wales, on 6 May.

A RICS spokesperson said: "The tour is intended to improve our communication with members. There has been criticism from some quarters that we have concentrated on international expansion at the expense of the grassroots membership."

Hackett, whose "Stop the Rot" campaign seeks to overturn the 32% increase in subscription fees passed in May last year, appeared to strike a less aggressive tone at last week's governing council meeting, claiming his aim was to "reform the RICS, not wreck it".

But Hackett, who is a senior consultant at Schofield Lothian, said that he was unhappy that he had not been invited to last week's meeting, even though his campaign had received considerable coverage in the trade press. He said that he was only able to attend the meeting because he was told unofficially where and when it was taking place.

Its attitude has been intolerance at its best and downright dictatorship at worst

QS Mike Johnson

"The RICS was obviously dumbstruck when I turned up and required to be allowed into the council chamber," he said. "It had not allocated any places for members, so I was asked to sit on the press bench.

"This was billed as an open meeting – if only members had been told when it was."

Hackett's critical comments have been echoed by Mike Johnson, who runs his own practice.

Johnson is withholding a portion of his subscription until an extraordinary general meeting has been held to "rectify at least some of the wounds inflicted by the institution".