RIBA Publishing had been due to release Ramroop’s Handbook on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Architecture in 2024, but decided to pull out of the contract last month after ‘reviewing [its] publishing strategy and plans’ for the next two years.
An RIBA spokesperson confirmed: ‘We have taken the decision to not proceed with the development and sale of an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) guidance book for practices, originally planned for 2024.
‘Our most recent business benchmarking research confirms that timely and targeted action is needed to improve EDI in the profession.
‘In 2023 and 2024 we will be collaborating with our members, partners and the wider industry, bringing together our publishing and learning content to create actionable bite-sized and, where possible, free guidance and resources that will seek to enable our profession to drive forward real change.’
The RIBA declined to comment on whether it had terminated any other book deals as part of its strategic review of it publishing arm. In 2021 RIBA Publishing turned over £2.1 million from book and RIBA Journal sales. However, the RIBA does not report figures showing whether its publishing arm is profitable.
She told the AJ: ‘RIBA is right. Timely and targeted action is needed to improve the profession. Timely and targeted action has been needed for decades and will continue to be required.
‘What has been missing is not necessarily the policies, procedures or practices that will allow for timely and targeted action – but the behaviours, motivation and accountability to implement those.
‘I was commissioned to write the EDI handbook for architecture for RIBA in July last year, to address these gaps. In August, I was given permission to mention it publicly, and I have been doing so, so I am extremely disappointed that RIBA has taken the decision not to go ahead with publishing it.’
Ramroop added that she was continuing to write the handbook and still plans to see it published. She added that the ‘desire for its contents has already been established through both market research and an in feedback when I have spoken.
‘I believe it will usefully benefit all who wish to use it, in addition to them accessing all other available expert resources and checking out the work we’re doing at Building People on joined-up and holistic leadership around EDI.’
Ramroop, a former BBC journalist, resigned as the RIBA’s first-ever director for diversity in inclusion last March, just 13 months after being appointed. The RIBA replaced her in November with Robbie Turner, a former chief transformation officer at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee.
Voices within the RIBA have previously suggested that the institute is not doing enough to increase diversity within its ranks and within industry.
Last year Femi Oresanya, chair of the RIBA’s Finding and Accessing Architecture group, said there was not enough funding to progress with the institute’s plans to open up access to architecture, while an RIBA director called out the lack of diversity at a RIBA award event, commenting that black architects ‘were not invited’.