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ARB in registration card and board ballot paper 'cock-ups'

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The arb has been associated with two adminstrative 'cock-ups' in the past week which have prompted further bouts of impatience and frustration from the profession.

Firstly the beleaguered board neglected to send out its 30,000 membership cards on time. Last year it sent out the cards - evidence of registration 'only until 31 December' each year - in early February. But this year angry architects have been calling the board's Hallam Street headquarters demanding to know what has happened to their latest 'proofs' of status.

The board told the aj it finally sent out the cards last Friday, despite telling some callers that the cards will not be ready for another fortnight. It said the delay - almost three months since the expiry of last year's cards - was because it had gone to three printers for prices. The cheapest one, which the board opted for, offered a longer lead-time as a condition of the deal. However, an arb spokesman reassured architects that they are safe from any challenges about their status. Clients could simply call the board for proof that their architects are on the register.

The other 'cock-up' could affect the outcome of the board's elections of seven new architect members. Due to 'an adminstrative error' prospective voters were sent non-postage paid return envelopes for their ballot paper, rather than postage paid versions. The arb laid the blame at the door of the Electoral Reform Ballot Services, which is to cover the costs of the error and advertisements in the trade press last week. An ARB spokeswoman said the problem has not so far meant a low-turnout for the elections.

'It's a shambles' said one candidate in the election, who asked not to be named. 'I hope to God we can sort the bloody place out.'

The elections are to pick seven new architect members for the board from 15 candidates. The ballot has attracted greater attention since Christmas when four architect members resigned in protest at the way the board handled the appointment of a new chief executive (aj 13.1.00). Ballot papers were due in yesterday (2 March) and the results will be announced before 10 March.

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