0 The Importance of Independence

Feeling slightly saddened by the news that my former employer, STRI, has seemingly abandoned its claim to be an independent consultancy. Its directors have chosen to form a turf construction company, Carrick Sports Construction Ltd, to run alongside the renowned institution.

Dr Tim Lodge, founder and director of Agrostis Sports Surface Consulting

Obviously, their consultants and agronomists will now be channelling design specifications towards this company which will consequently enjoy a huge advantage in competitive tendering situations (if tendering is allowed to take place at all). This will be very much at the expense of all the other construction companies. The development surely casts doubt over the independence of STRI's technical advice and their specifications in other areas.

When I joined STRI in 1989 the pursuit of the science of sports turf for the good of the industry was very much the main objective of the organisation. I was very proud to be a part of this. RIPTA, the Register of Independent Professional Turfgrass Agronomists, was founded in 2002 with a membership that included many of STRI's agronomists, including me. It was started largely to counter the growing number of so called 'agronomists' who were in fact technical sales representatives for companies supplying the sports turf industry.

I left STRI in 2005 but remain in RIPTA to this day having held the position of Treasurer for some years now. In 2016, however, the STRI's agronomists resigned from RIPTA en masse. It is clear now that the company could no longer satisfy the strict requirement among RIPTA members to be independent. In retrospect, this will have saved us the embarrassment of having to ask them to leave which we would have had to do in the light of the formation of CSC Ltd.

Consultant independence is vital if our clients are to receive the highest standard of technical advice and information, entirely uninfluenced by our own financial dealings. Clearly, the only reliable source of such advice is now from RIPTA members such as Agrostis.

You can read the original blog by Tim HERE

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