QS Jeremy Hackett leads 901 RICS members in protest against controversial subscriptions increase
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has been forced to hold an extraordinary general meeting over its controversial hike in membership fees.

Jeremy Hackett, of QS Schofield Lothian, has collected 901 signatures from RICS members protesting at the rise. The RICS requires 886 signatures for an EGM to take place. The meeting must be held within 90 days, although RICS sources hinted it might take place sooner.

The 32% fee increase, due to come into effect this month, was narrowly voted through by members in May last year. But the rebels want a new vote on the fee increase.

In his submission calling for the EGM, Hackett blamed senior figures at the RICS for the fee increases and claimed that the 64% hike in subscription fees between 1999 and 2003 had not been accompanied by sufficient improvement in services.

A spokesperson for the RICS confirmed that the organisation had received the signatures and Hackett’s list of demands.

The first demand requires the fee rise this year to be scaled down to an increase of at most 10%, with increases in the next five years confined to no more than 2% above the retail price index.

There will be those who disagree with a radical reform programme

Nick Brooke, RICS president

The second relates to governance issues, with the recommendation that a 12-member special review committee chaired by the RICS president Nick Brooke be established to look at streamlining the organisation’s 450-strong staff,

its constitution and its operating structure.

The RICS said it was too early to speculate on how the organisation would respond but ruled out refunding members who have already paid their increased subscriptions for 2004.

Brooke described the demand for an EGM as “unfortunate”, citing his initial review of the organisation’s progress on its Agenda for Change programme as proof the RICS was taking the issue seriously.

He said: “Our professional institution has gone through a huge change programme to position itself for the 21st century on the basis of a mandate from its membership. There will always be those who disagree with an ambitious and radical reform programme.”