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Robert Holden

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  1. One could continue, the LI Northern Irish branch is defunct and now Technical Committee has been dismissed.
  2. The Outcome of the Independent Review of the Landscape Institute by Catherine Brown was published on 19 January 2021. The last update from the LI was in December 2021 (i) and it advised that in 2022-23 a "change programme paves the way to better ways of working". So what has happened? Catherine Brown make 37 recommendations. For instance, recommendation 14 “increased transparency”. In December 2021 the update stated: “Members can now access formal records of Board and Council meetings, with minutes published in the LI members’ area as a matter of course within three weeks of each meeting”. In fact as this post is written, in August 2023, the latest minutes for Advisory Council to LI members are from 8 July 2021 and for the Board of Trustees from 13 December 2022. (ii). So much for transparency. But one could go on: recommendation 8, a suitably qualified Board Secretary: is there one? one is not listed on 4 August 2023 (iii) indeed we have lost our CEO, Sue Morgan. One could go on. Overall we have gone backwards. Searching further on the LI website one finds few recent references to the governance review and subsequent action. On the 8 July 2021 Jane Swift, the interim CEO, stated to Advisory Council “Independent Review, etc. has impacted on service delivery and we are slightly behind our normal cycle” and there was a Workshop with a report by Andrew Morris under headings listed as successful , implementation, and communications priorities, (iv). At the Board Meeting on 14 September 2022 it was noted there would be an update on the Independent Review at the joint session with Advisory Council (v) And at the 13 December 2022 Board the then CEO, Sue Morgan, gave a presentation on “R Metrics summary Independent Review recommendations implementation” (vi). But there are no further details. What is happening to the Landscape Institute? Refs. (i) https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/independent-review-progress-update-december- 2021/ (ii) https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/member-content/member-lounge/ (iii) https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/about/team/ (iv) https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows.net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2022/01/LI-Advisory-Council-08-July-2021-Minutes-WEB.pdf (3ii of 8 July Advisory Council minutes). (v) https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows.net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2023/02/LI-Board-of-Trustees-14sept2022-Minutes-WEB.pdf (vi) https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows.net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2023/04/Board-of-Trustees-13dec2022-MinutesWEB.pdf
  3. The Landscape Institute is not chiefly an education charity yet it repeatedly claims it is. For example: "The Landscape Institute (LI) is the chartered body for the landscape profession. It is an educational charity that promotes the art and science of landscape practice. The LI’s aim, through the work of its members is to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit." ref.https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/about/about-the-landscape-institute/ "The LI is a professional organisation and educational charity working to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the public benefit." ref.https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/about/ Let us be clear it is a chartered professional body and it is its charter which defines its objects and purposes: "5 (1) The objects and purposes for which the Institute is hereby constituted are to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public by promoting the arts and sciences of Landscape Architecture (as such expression is hereinafter defined) and its several applications and for that purpose to foster and encourage the dissemination of knowledge relating to Landscape Architecture and the promotion of research and education therein, and in particular to establish, uphold and advance the standards of education, qualification, competence and conduct of those who practice Landscape Architecture as a profession, and to determine standards and criteria for education, training and experience." Its active role is "promoting the arts and sciences of Landscape Architecture ... for the benefit of the public". It does not itself enhance the natural and built environment, rather its members do. Its role in respect of research and education is defined as "in particular to establish, uphold and advance the standards of education, qualification, competence and conduct of those who practice Landscape Architecture as a profession, and to determine standards and criteria for education, training and experience". It does not call itself a research institute and it should not call itself an educational charity. The government is correct when it lists the Landscape Institute as a professional organisation ref. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/professional-bodies-approved-for-tax-relief-list-3/approved-professional-organisations-and-learned-societies#a The Charity Commission has it right when it states the LI activities as:"To protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for the benefit of the public by promoting the arts and sciences of Landscape Architecture". https://register-of-charities.charitycommission.gov.uk/charity-search/-/charity-details/3956984
  4. The Landscape Institute publishes Guidelines for Making a Complaint. To quote “These guidelines contain advice to members of the public and other professions, as well as members of the Landscape Institute, who may be dissatisfied with the professional conduct of an Institute member”. The document then goes on to assert: Unprofessional conduct does not mean ‘negligence’. Why one wonders? Maybe better to go a Small Claims Court where the law of tort covers duty of care and negligence, rather than to the Landscape Institute. Ref. https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows.net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2021/12/Guidelines-for-making-a-complaint-Dec2021.pdf
  5. Inflation and Fees (a revised version of a post of May 2022 with figures updated to 15 April 2023) Having worked through the 1970s (when inflation rose to 27% per annum in 1976) I offer these thoughts and would welcome comments please. It is a time of inflation (currently above 10% per annum) and anyone putting fee bids should be aware of what is happening. go to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the national picture, for CPIH, CPI, and RPI, The figures are published monthly so in mid April the March 2023 figures were published as follows: CPIH Consumer Price Index including owner occupier’s housing costs: 9.2% per annum CPI Consumer Price Index: 10.4% per annum RPI Retail Price Index: 13.8% per annum Each of these indices is a basket of prices of consumer goods. Clearly of these indices currently the RPI is the most favourable, but because RPI does not meet international statistical standards, since 2013 the Office for National Statistics no longer classifies it as a "national statistic", and instead emphasizes the Consumer Price Index. However, the LI Landscape Consultant’s Conditions of Appointment (2018) refers to the Average Earnings Index for both time fees (clause 4.4) and lump sum fees (clause 4.7) and states they shall be revised at 12 month intervals. It does not give a source for the Average Earnings Index, however, one assumes this may refer to the Office of National Statistics figures for Average Weekly Earnings. This is published with a two month delay so in April 2023 the latest figure was that for March 2023 with an inflation figure of 5.9% for the whole economy, but refer to the source and it is more complicated: https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/averageweeklyearningsingreatbritain/february2023 Better than nothing but not as high as the CPI or RPI figures. Closer to construction is the information in the RICS Building and Construction Information Service (BCIS) at a subscription rate, larger practices may subscribe or one might be able to obtain figures from a QS. However, the LI Conditions of Appointment also address late payments by the client as follows: '5.10 Late Payment: If the Client does not pay the agreed amounts when properly due the Landscape Consultants can apply interest on the full payment due in accordance with the Late Payment of Commercial Debt (Interest) Act 1998 at a daily rate of 8% per year above the Bank of England base rate until payment is received.' Current Bank Rate (15 April 2023) is 4.25% so add 8% = 12.25% which is worthwhile prompt to late payers. This is commonly known as Statutory Inflation. The term for payment under the LI Conditions of Appointment is within 14 days (as clause 5.4). The other thing one can do is not to sign for long term fee agreements, i.e. just sign up for each stage of work using the LI 2018 Scope of Services, however, this has its downside in that your commissions will each be for a shorter term, and so such an option offers less long term security. Landscape Maintenance contracts for work and for fee agreements can be for five years. Arguably it is better to sign up for longer term for financial security, but to inflation index any fixed fees (indeed the LI Conditions by Appointment proposes such revision every 12 months). Sources: Office of National Statistics ref. https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices Office of National Statistics Average Weekly Earnings: ref. https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours RICS Building and Construction Information Service: https://www.rics.org/uk/products/data-products/bcis-construction/bcis-online/ Inflation forecasts: Bank of England https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/explainers/will-inflation-in-the-uk-keep-rising (15 April 2023) Office for Budget Responsibility https://obr.uk/forecasts-in-depth/the-economy-forecast/inflation/ (15 April 2023)
  6. Act as a meeting place: by allowing its members to communicate. Why not enable branches to communicate with all their members: currently they can only email the proportion of their members who have chosen to receive email via My Landscape on the LI website. I am told London branch emails only go to 300 or so of the 1000+ members in Greater London and those emails have to be checked by an LI employee before they go out. The LI Northern Ireland branch reportedly has not been formed for the past three years. Furthermore, the Institute tells us that Branch representatives represent their region and may not discuss certain matters with Institute branch committees. Look at branch websites and they contain very little information. LI Connect has reduced numbers of members contributing (360) compared with Talking Landscapes and has far less functionality. Why? No engagement of LI Officers, why not? Advisory Council could work effectively: since governance was given to the Board of Trustees in 2009 Council has been rarely listened to by the Board of Trustees. A typical tactic is for Board members to abstain from a vote and then ignore a motion passed by Council. The three Standing Committees should report on their work to Council as happened to about 2016. Too often it seems the Council is broken up to consider items with little of no preparation. The group then report an off the cuff opinion and then nothing happens. Set up overseas branches in the Middle East and Far East. The RIBA and RICS have branches world-wide. ASLA has an International Practice Professional Practice Network. The Landscape Institute used to have a branch in Hong Kong (which led to the present HK ILA). A Middle Eastern and Far Eastern branch could support members in those regions and in particular support Associate members on the Pathway to Chartership. Support the Pathway to Chartership more effectively: for instance introduce candidates, who don’t work with a CMLI, to mentors. The former Talking Landscapes regularly used to receive requests from members based in China and the Middle East to find mentors. LI Connect has reduced numbers of members contributing (360) compared with Talking Landscapes and has far less functionality. Why? No engagement of LI Officers, why not? Act on the independent review: carry out its recommendations. The Institute website states " The Steering Group will be providing regular updates throughout 2021 and 2022". The first progress report was to be made in late August 2021. Nothing appears on the LI webpage. What has happened since. Has the Independent Review been forgotten? Catherine Brown made 37 proposals for change on 19 January 2021: two years later little appears to have happened. Promote education: The RIBA recognises nine Masters apprenticeships, and two Bachelors apprenticeships (and is in conversation with nine other universities) the LI recognises one A level standard (i.e. H.E. level 3) Technician apprenticeship delivered with Capel College. Is there a shortage of landscape architects in the UK or not? No public sector network, no specialisms, nowt on LI Connect? LVIA was proposed by Paul Reynolds on LI Connect on 11 August 2021: with a response from the LI Connect administrator and the setting up of an LVIA group and a flurry of activity which seems to have ended in June 2022? Charlotte Williams proposed a group on Landscape Character Assessment on 11 August 2021:no response. Why nothing for ethnic minority Landscape Architects? Look at the LI Connect for March 2023 (or for April and May) and it lists no events. Be transparent: the Institute is far far too secretive. Promote the Landscape Institute collections: the Institute donated its Library and Archives to the Museum of English Rural Life at University of Reading in 2013. The MERL has done a good job of supporting and enabling the material (ref. https://merl.reading.ac.uk/collections/landscape-institute/ ) but its annual grant to The MERL has fallen to £10,00 par annum from £30,000 ten years ago. When it maintained its collection before 2009 it used to spend c.£70,000 a year on its collections. But some actions would cost the Institute nothing, for example give permission for The MERL to place Landscape Design and earlier versions of the journal on JSTOR, why not?
  7. Dear Amanda, Wondering whether you are organising a further set prior to this May's exams, please. Keen to advise my mentees. Best Wishes, Robert
  8. One suggestion is to build a wall, with gap sufficient cyclists, e.g. a wall of large stones placed on top of each other, or of gabions? The precedent is to left and right of the photograph. Robert
  9. Only 354 members today. And as you say Amanda difficult to find and access. No engagement of Landscape Institute officers, as far as I can see. Very little discussion and very much worse for Pathway members as a service than Talking Landscapes was (who were the main users). The Institute gives the impression of wishing to damp down on discussion and exchange between members, it does not permit branches to email all their members (only the minority who have opted to receive branch emails); its asserts branch reps represent their "region" not the branch committees and members). Oh dear ... all in all; an object lesson in how a professional institute can fight below its weight.
  10. Landscape architects and lift manufacturers are sometimes said to be the last to be affected by recession. Evidence of coming recession is in the Planning Portal there has been “12.5% total drop in applications we have seen for the year-to-date” (upto November 2022) ref. https://blog.planningportal.co.uk/2022/12/14/novembers-market-insight-report-is-now-available/#more-9166 . The Office of Budget Responsibility forecast in November that “The squeeze on real incomes, rise in interest rates, and fall in house prices all weigh on consumption and investment, tipping the economy into a recession lasting just over a year from the third quarter of 2022, … ”. https://obr.uk/overview-of-the-november-2022-economic-and-fiscal-outlook/ . The Bank of England also forecast in November that “As a result, the UK economy is expected to remain in recession throughout 2023 and 2024 H1, and GDP is expected to recover only gradually thereafter.” Ref. https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/monetary-policy-report/2022/november/monetary-policy-report-november-2022.pdf Mind you, recessions are good times to assemble land, pay consultants relative peanuts to submit a planning application and then if successful develop as the economy recovers from recession. Commissions for long term state developments such as HS2 or East West Rail are also good projects for survival through a recession. Alternatively go for landscape management commissions of five or so years (providing you have inflation related your fees).
  11. The RIBA validates nine level 7 (Masters) apprenticeship courses and two level 6 (Bachelor) courses: the RIBA is in negotiation with nine other universities: ref. https://www.architecture.com/education-cpd-and-careers/apprenticeships/universities-offering-architecture-apprenticeship-training By contrast the Landscape Institute advises there is just one course at Capel College and that is at level 3 (= A level): https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/support-article/where-can-i-take-the-apprenticeship/ Why so little opportunity in landscape architecture?
  12. Dear Graham and Penny, ONS annual inflation figures of 17 August for the year upto July 2022 were CPI of 10.1% and RPI of 12.3% ref. https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices The Bank of England Monetary Policy Report of 3 August advises "CPI inflation is expected to rise more than forecast in the May Report, from 9.4% in June to just over 13% in 2022 Q4, and to remain at very elevated levels throughout much of 2023, before falling to the 2% target two years ahead." ref. https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/monetary-policy-report/2022/august/monetary-policy-report-august-2022.pdf Graham: If your profit margin is 10% then you will be operating at a loss in one year’s time, given the present level of inflation. Maybe this is an argument for 20% profit ab initio? See my related piece on profit in landscape architecture consultancy work ref. https://connect.landscapeinstitute.org/index.php?/topic/261-profit-in-landscape-architecture/&tab=comments#comment-566
  13. The LI Guidelines for making a complaint ref. https://landscapewpstorage01.blob.core.windows.net/www-landscapeinstitute-org/2021/12/Guidelines-for-making-a-complaint-Dec2021.pdf read: “Unprofessional conduct does not mean ‘negligence’ “. How come?
  14. I note the Terms have not been amended and still refer to possible crimes we may commit by contributing to LI Connect. Please address this issue.
  15. Dear Christopher, Maybe of help are Re O2 production: Suresh Ramanan Sundaram et al ‘Oxygen production potential of trees in urban areas: a reality check?’ Current Science September 2021 121(5), pp.622-625. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354435988_Oxygen_production_potential_of_trees_in_urban_areas_a_reality_check Re Air pollution removal Alessio Russo, Wing Tung Chan and Giuseppe T. Cirella ‘Estimating Air Pollution Removal and Monetary Value for Urban Green Infrastructure Strategies Using Web-Based Applications’ Land July 2021 10, 788 https://doi.org/10.3390/land10080788
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