Independent Review of the events of 14 December 2023 - RSA

Independent Review of the events of 14 December 2023

Corporate communications

On 14 December 2023, a trade and commerce event was held by UKIB, the UK-Israel Chamber of Commerce, at RSA House as a private room hire. In response to the event, a serious disruption occurred directly outside the RSA premises with protesters present and the police attending as a result.

In response, the Trustee Board commissioned an independent review into the events that took place.

The independent report clearly sets out the chronology of activity leading up to and during the day. The review makes it clear that the situation arose through a sequence of unfortunate, but unintended, events, the upshot of which was an outcome that was unacceptable for everyone concerned.

The report makes recommendations which have resulted in the RSA making a series of changes to processes to ensure that everyone using our building has a positive experience.

The full report, which has been shared with the RSA's Trustee Board and Audit and Risk Committee, will not be published for Data Protection reasons as it contains significant personally identifiable and sensitive information.

The report made a number of recommendations, and the actions taken in response are shared openly and transparently below:

  • In December 2023, immediate changes were made to the private events booking processes to ensure key questions are addressed early on by the RSA so that at the booking enquiry stage, the RSA has as much knowledge as possible about the nature of the event such as: its speakers and attendees; whether security arrangements are required; and whether any press interest is expected or if media are to be present.
  • Weekly 'private events' review meetings were immediately implemented between RSA Executive representatives and senior management of hospitality provision. Now standard practice, these assess the acceptance of future bookings, discuss mitigations or operational adjustments required, and decide if further escalation is needed to support decision-making or the experience of those using RSA House. At the point of booking, private event organisers are informed that the RSA is a charity that does not endorse or condone any private event run from RSA House.
  • The terms and conditions of private room hire have been reviewed. This has clarified advance information requirements, accreditation for press, filming and live streaming and has improved processes for advance payment terms.
  • Measures are included in the bi-annual independent audit of private hospitality provision to ensure timeframes for information and payments are adhered to as stipulated in the terms and conditions of booking.
  • Improved evacuation procedures for RSA House have been documented and successfully tested.
  • The RSA House Risk Assessment with corresponding mitigations has been comprehensively updated.
  • An Ethical Fundraising Policy has been developed, signed off by the Trustee Board and shared transparently with all staff. This provides a framework for making fundraising decisions on a case-by-case basis depending on the depth and nature of any transaction.
  • An urgent communications plan has been developed including decision making and escalation processes for sharing information with all stakeholders.

We believe the actions taken responding to the independent review demonstrate the seriousness with which the RSA views the issues arising, and are the necessary steps to ensure our open and inclusive approach is always in line with our values and in pursuit of our mission.