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RIBA President and Chief Executive meet Secretary of State to make the case for mutual recognition

28 June 2018

Earlier this week the RIBA met with the newly installed Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire MP. During the meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 26 June 2018, RIBA President Ben Derbyshire along with Chief Executive Alan Vallance and Executive Director of External Affairs Clare Corbett covered a range of issues including housing, the impact of Brexit on the profession and architectural training.

The Secretary of State’s role overseeing the work of the Architects Registration Board was the main topic of conversation. In addition to maintaining the mutual recognition of qualifications which allow EU qualified architects to work in the UK and vice versa, the RIBA has been lobbying government to open discussions with non-EU countries about mutual recognition agreements. With Brexit less than a year away, the urgency of these discussions is growing.

Through the RIBA’s Brexit survey, architects made clear that extending mutual recognition agreements was a top international priority. The RIBA has made clear that the UK should seek to sign agreements with countries like that already have their own international mutual recognition agreements in place such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. To that end, the RIBA left the Secretary of State with copies of those agreements and a set of proposed amendments to the Architects Act which would direct the ARB to open discussions with their counterparts abroad.

When the conversation turned to housing, it was pleasing to hear that the Secretary of State is looking to continue his predecessors support for raising design standards in the housing sector. With housing still high on the political agenda, the Secretary of State’s recognition that architects have a key role to play was welcomed by all. At the Chartered Institute of Housing Conference this week, Ben Derbyshire spoke alongside Chief Planner Steve Quartermain on the subject of design quality and the role government can play in opening the door to a greater role for architects in the development process. With the Government announcing a further £1.7 billion of funding for affordable housing this week, the direction of travel is positive, albeit with a great deal of extra funding still needed

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