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RIBA responds to ARB Periodic Review Report

ARB Periodic Review Report 2017 RIBA response

30 March 2017

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to today’s (30 March 2017) publication of the Periodic Review Report on Architects Regulation and the Architects Registration Board (ARB) by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

On the recommendation for the ARB to continue its regulation of the profession with the objective of maintaining the quality of the profession in the public interest in a proportionate and transparent way:

RIBA President Jane Duncan said: “We want to see the ARB as a minimalist registration body that keeps strictly within the remit and scope defined in the Architects Act 1997. This means being a registration body that actively protects the proper use of the title “Architect” and takes effective action against non-architects purporting to offer services as an architect.

The result of the EU referendum, and the triggering of Article 50 this week, should provide further impetus for the Government and the ARB to assess where they can support UK architecture as the valuable and innovative profession that it is. It is welcome that this review has clarified that all requirements of the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive remain in force at the present time.

The only other role for the ARB should be to work with the RIBA to assist validating and prescribing architecture courses in the UK and internationally to commonly-held standards. This role is particularly crucial in supporting the profession in the new global environment.”

On ARB governance and the recommendations for a smaller board, with all members (including representatives of the profession) appointed; with no elected posts; further clarification of relationship between ARB and DCLG and new measures to reduce costs:

Duncan said: “Although the change from a fully elected ARB Board represents the general direction of travel amongst all professional regulators, we need to ensure that the ARB Board is fully able to understand the current needs of the profession. We will seek to work with DCLG to ensure there remains a genuine “voice” for the profession on the appointed ARB Board.”

On ARB complaints handing – recommendations that not all complaints necessarily need to go to a hearing, and measures to address smaller, less significant complaints by other mean:

Duncan said: The measures to improve the complaints handling process are broadly welcome, in particular those proposals aimed at developing a more streamlined, less adversarial and more investigative approach. I especially welcome the recommendations that seek to reduce the number of minor complaints that proceed to a full hearing, and the recommendation that external legal advice should not be needed by the ARB except in the most serious cases.

On qualification setting – recommendations for changes to qualification routes, but proposal that the serving of article 50 means that now is not the right time for ARB to commence its “Routes to registration review”:

Duncan said: “I’m bitterly disappointed, that at a time when we are actively seeking to encourage skilled students from all backgrounds to enter the profession, the decision has been made to park the vital “Routes to registration” review, which will mean that measures to address the clear and urgent need for wider access and greater diversity in our profession will be frustrated. The recommendations of the RIBA Education Review were published over 12 months ago, and we need the ARB to properly participate in this process. The result means the profession of architecture will be increasingly reserved for the wealthy middle classes who can afford to study for 7 plus years.”


Notes to editors:

  1. For further press information contact:

    Howard Crosskey, RIBA Press Office
  2. Periodic Review Report: Architects Regulation and the Architects Registration Board can be read here.
  3. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment.
  4. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates

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