Office Location EGM - Wednesday 11 May 2016

An EGM took place to debate the future location of the LI head office.
This section of the website contains the most significant papers.

Key documents to download [MISSING DOCUMENTS]
Notice of Extraordinary General Meeting – This sets out the two motions together with statements in support
Report by the Office Location Working Group – This is the full report including tables and matrixes
Report to Council – This report to Council from the Board of Trustees sets out the reasons and contains the report of the Finance and Risk Committee to Council
Report from the Policy and Communications Committee

Motion 1:
The offices of the Landscape Institute should remain in London and not be relocated.
Motion 2:
That the Landscape Institute accept Motion 2 from the 2014 EGM and adopt the findings of the Office Location Working Group (OLWG) and relocate the administrative headquarters of the Institute from London to freehold premises in a provincial location as identified by the OLWG and simultaneously establish access to flexible office facilities in London for occasional use. In accordance with Motion 2, this should be done at the first opportunity to relinquish the current lease (in April 2018).

Votes taken at the meeting
  For Against Abstain Total
Motion 1 51 13 1 65
Motion 2 12 39 2 53
Votes by proxy
Motion 1 721 184 9 914
Motion 2 212 628 8 848
Total votes
Motion 1 772 197 10 979
Motion 2 224 667 10 901

Noel Farrer, president of the Landscape Institute wrote to all members on 12 April setting out the arguments for the LI office to remain in London.

Noel Farrer - Letter to Members

Dear Member
I am writing to seek your urgent support.
If you are a corporate member you should have already received a notice of an EGM in connection with the office location (for non-corporate members i.e. licentiates, students, academic members, retired members, etc. a copy of the EGM notice with the cases for and against staying in London is at the end of this message). A small group of members have been campaigning to move the offices out of London to somewhere in or near to Birmingham. I believe this is a huge distraction from our main objectives and a waste of our limited resources.
During my term as President this issue has occupied much of my time. I have digested the considerable report by the Office Location Working Group (OLWG) and I have finally concluded that the narrow margin of difference between London and Birmingham makes any move unjustifiable.
I believe we should focus on providing membership services, supporting our universities, developing technical needs, lobbying of government and above all recruiting the next generation of young people to become landscape architects.
I urge you to support the LI Board and vote to stay in London.
Here are ten reasons to stay in London and safeguard the future of your chartered professional body:
1. Moving to Birmingham represents a high risk with many unknowns. The OLWG report serves to confirm my concern as it seeks, as best it can, to grapple with the terms of reference and it establishes assumptions which imply a level of risk and uncertainty that far outweigh the case to move.
2. Moving will destroy the Institute’s staff team of seventeen – none have expressed an interest in relocating. We will lose their business and government contacts as well as their knowledge, ability and experience.
3. Moving will mean a huge loss in business continuity: two years of planning blight on recruiting new staff, two years of temporary staff in London, two years of trying to find somewhere to move to, recruiting new staff in Birmingham and then setting up new systems.
4. Moving will mean we lose our current access to decision makers, all the opportunities that come from being located in the UK’s capital city as well as the prestige and reputation that comes from being situated in a leading global city.  RIBA, RTPI, ICE and many other professional bodies are all in London for good reason.
5. Moving means we lose the benefit from a rent well below market rates (guaranteed for the next four years) with a charity landlord that has confirmed they are willing to negotiate a longer term extension to our lease should we wish. The London property market is no longer booming. In addition, the cost of office rent is a small part of the Institute’s overall budget, currently around 2% of the Institute’s overall costs.
6. Moving will not guarantee any savings against the HR costs associated with the relocation. Estimates of potential savings in staff costs in the OLWG report are just that – estimateswhich have involved many assumptions. There is no guarantee we will save money on staffing, we might even have to pay more to attract the right staff and we cannot be sure we will get staff of a similar quality to the excellent team we have in place now. This is without the costs associated with making all the current staff redundant and all the advertising and recruitment costs for new staff.
7. There is no evidence that the proposal (in motion 2) to have a head office outside of London plus a small central London office and splitting staff across the two sites would be cost effective or practical, this could in fact increase our costs and certainly makes communication within the team more difficult.
8. We have spent approximately £40,000 on supporting the process to consider relocating. I do not support carrying on this process and spending more money for the marginal benefit that the OLWG report concludes. It is now time to stop spending time and money on this issue and focus on the many significant challenges that face our profession.
9. Staying in London means that we can focus our time and energy on providing good services and CPD to our members, lobbying governments in support of our members, supporting our accredited universities and campaigning to recruit a new generation of younger people into the profession.
10. The LI has a multi-year strategic framework plan, it has set out its strategic targets and continuously works to develop a vision that best reflects the future needs for the profession. My experience and belief is that things will and do rapidly change; and that by being based in London with a stable and knowledgeable team is the best way for us to meet future challenges.
I urge you to either attend the EGM and vote to stay in London, or use your proxy vote to stay in London.
Yours truly,
Noel Farrer