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ARB gagging order erodes our confidence

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Just as consumers' confidence in the profession is gained through the review powers of the ARB, so those on the register should have confidence that the ARB is subject to similar powers of review.

Without any formal recourse to an ombudsman, we rely on the elected members of the board to represent the interests of the profession. This is how parliament ensures that the activities of the ARB are balanced with the interests of those who fund it and are subject to its rule.

In taking legal action to gag elected members (AJ 12.8.04), the ARB erodes the confidence the profession has in it and, ultimately, undermines the sources of its power. The ARB and the Architects Act are only a mechanism for regulation. If we, as a profession, are not confident that its power is being exercised properly, we must go to parliament as the source of the power to make our views known. I urge readers to resist the intimidation of our elected representatives and take time to write to their MP regarding an independent review of the activities of the ARB.

The profession overwhelmingly supported Ian Salisbury when voting him on to the board. So far, he and Nick Tweddell have been the only elected members to question the extraneous activities of the ARB. The stance they are taking on our behalf isolates them from the majority of the board. Please show your continued support by making the registrar, chairman and other elected board members aware of your disapproval of the ARB's treatment of Salisbury. The composition of the ARB with a lay majority allows it to ignore any representation from within the profession. But this wide scope for abuse of power is not sufficient for the ARB, which seems to strive for totalitarian domination.

Mark Benzie, London EC1R

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