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ARB claims victory in PII row after crunch verdict

The ARB aims to put an end to the row over whether it has overstepped its legal powers and duties by publishing a QC's findings that it works within the law.

The regulator is reasserting its victory against critics after publishing a summary of Timothy Dutton QC's crunch decision when the ARB took legal advice in September.

The ARB declared two months ago that it had not exceeded its powers on issues including professional indemnity insurance (PII). But the row, led by architect board member Ian Salisbury, has festered on.

ARB chairman Humphrey Lloyd said this week that the board had spent 'considerable resources' on dealing with the matter.

'We have now resolved it and are looking forward to continuing to meet our statutory responsibilities in support of the public and the profession, ' said Lloyd. 'The reputation for competence and reliability that architects now enjoy, and which they deserve to continue to enjoy, is vital to our society.'

Dutton's summary said the board had the power to issue guidelines on what may be seen as adequate PII, and to require architects to confirm that their PII cover meets the guidelines. And he quashed arguments that the board was not a regulator of the profession.

'This is wrong, ' he said. 'In those areas in which parliament has imposed duties on or provided powers to the board, it is undoubtedly a regulator.

'The board has certain statutory duties with which it is bound to comply in public law as a statutory regulator of the profession, ' he added.

However, Ian Salisbury, who has been leading a campaign to 'pare down the ARB', said he did not accept the summary and would present a paper at the next ARB meeting on 20 November.

'Since its inception, the ARB has exceeded its statutory powers and duties. Nowhere in the Architects Act is the board given power to regulate, ' he said.

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