Over the last few weeks a delegation of Society staff, accompanied by Peter Stapleton, Kersten Mehl or myself, have been attending the AGMs of the Professional Groups and Regional Committees of our newly formed Society.
It is heartening to see that so soon after our formal launch, groups of members are busily electing their chairs and committees, and preparing for work. At these AGMs, the Society’s executive briefed members about the new organisation: its aims, how it is structured, and how staff and members will work together to serve the membership and the public interest.
The economic environment in which I take over as President is as tough as they come. However, I believe that within these challenges lie great opportunities, and that the formation of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland at this time is a very positive step. As consumers, banks, markets and Government have become more demanding of high standards of professionalism, more and more people will seek the services of Chartered Surveyors.
It is sometimes difficult for the public to understand what we do. Other professions face the public every day, but the diverse disciplines of the Chartered Surveyor don’t always get the public recognition they deserve. The executive is working on communications and marketing strategies to achieve this recognition and I want members to be involved in this important process.
Our society was founded on volunteerism. I am constantly impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism that I find in Merrion Square. But if I, or indeed any of us, lapse into the comfort of allowing the executive to do it all, we are in danger of losing touch with our Society, and that which brought us here today: volunteerism. It is most important that we remain involved and keep the level of volunteerism high.
It can be helpful at times to look backwards and learn from the achievements of the past. During the hectic days of the Celtic Tiger, we were too busy to stop, pause and reflect on what we were doing. We should ask ourselves if we allowed standards to fall. Did we persist with the practice of mentoring young surveyors? Did we relegate apprenticeships to the past? The recession has left us with very little, but we do have our professional standards, the wisdom of the old ways of doing business and the opportunities of the new; we have our education and regulation, and in the RICS we have a world-recognised organisation, and it is now time to remind the market that we’re back – better resourced, better regulated and providing the very best in professional advice and standards.
We have a responsibility to ensure that, as a Society, we improve on our already high professional standards and act in the public interest at all times.
It has been great to see members sitting together at the AGMs of their professional groups. We have more in common than we perhaps realise, and it is only by understanding and appreciating the different disciplines within our profession that we can educate government, and the public, about our important role.
I look forward to working with you, and embarking on this fascinating journey together.