on Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
to FB’s writings on the RICS etc.
Message to RICS members on his appointment in
1966 Presidential World
RICS Presidential World Tour - FB's diary (unpublished)
report and photograph (50.3)
FB's membership of the
estate Agents Council (EAC)
writings on the World of Property Housing Trust
to FB's writings on the RICS etc.
Francis Bennion's connection
with professionalism began in 1965 when he was appointed
Secretary (now called Chief Executive) of the Royal
Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the leading
professional body in the field of surveying, land
agency and estate agency. As Secretary of the RICS
he took a leading role in seeking to obtain statutory
registration of estate agents, and was a member
of the short-lived Estates Agents Council and a
governor of the College of Estate Management.
On his appointment Bennion published a message to members in the RICS journal
for October 1965, part of which reads as follows:-
'My appointment, as you will know, marks a break with recent practice, since
my background is in the field of government and parliamentary activity as seen
from the viewpoint of the Civil Service. In dealing with an important aspect
of the Institution's functions, namely that of bringing to bear on the development
of government policy and legislation the expertise possessed by the profession
of the land, I have no doubt this experience will be of help.'
This gives the clue to why he was chosen to head the RICS staff of some two
hundred, and why he accepted the appointment. While in the Parliamentary Counsel
Office he had drafted an Estate Agents Bill presented to Parliament by Arthur
The message also said:-
'I was somewhat dismayed when it was brought home to me just how many different
national bodies there are which concern themselves with the profession of the
land. This proliferation, for which there are no doubt good reasons, must have
a weakening effect and I am glad to know that methods of securing increased
co-operation within the profession are the constant concern of the Council
of the Institution and of the kindred societies. Here, as elsewhere, the Institution
must take the lead . . .'
The RICS did take the lead, and Bennion was closely involved in this. It bore
fruit when in June 1970 the two other leading bodies, the Chartered Land Agents'
Society and the Chartered Auctioneers' and Estate Agents' Institute, amalgamated
with the RICS.
The history of the RICS is recounted in Chartered Surveyors: The growth
of a profession by F. M. L. Thompson (Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968).
Of Bennion, Thompson says (p. 356) he was 'Prominent in negotiations for establishing
Estate Agents Council, and for discussing possible merger of the three chartered
societies'. He also mentions (p. 276) the 1966 world tour in which Bennion
accompanied the then President of the RICS, Guy Biscoe, on a visit to many
of the numerous RICS branches overseas.
Bennion resigned from the RICS in 1968. See further Slippery Customers:
Estate agents, the public and regulation by Clarke, Smith and McConville
(Blackstone Press, 1994)