CABE FALLS SHORT OF TARGETS
CABE has failed to hit more than a third of the performance targets it was set by the government for the last 12 months.
The revelations, buried at the back of the design watchdog's annual report, could have significant ramifications for the organisation, which needs to meet certain objectives to secure future funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Of the 30 goals listed in the document, CABE has fallen short in at least 10 key areas.
The most significant underperformance is in the number of design reviews carried out.
According to the report, CABE was an embarrassing 9 per cent below its prescribed design-review case target.
The watchdog only managed to review 319 cases over the last year - significantly below its target of 350.
The plunging numbers will not come as a surprise to many architects and developers working on some of the larger schemes around the country - in particular in London.
Back in May the AJ reported that CABE was struggling to review all the schemes it had been asked to comment on - including several major developments such as Terry Farrell's Eagle House in Shoreditch (AJ 18.05.06).
It is rumoured that high staff turnover within CABE's design-review arm could be to blame for the slump in this area.
Other missed targets include the failure to ensure that 73 per cent of all public bodies used design champions.
The commission also failed to make sure that the recommended 25 per cent of public organisations used advisory panels on design.
Elsewhere in the report, it was highlighted that CABE had not managed to increase the membership of its education network to the target levels - the government had demanded 1,500 members join, but only 1,372 have signed up.
Nor did it succeed in getting enough Department for Culture Media and Sports (now DCLG) sector buildings entered in the Prime Minister's Better Public Building Award.
The organisation also failed to reduce its number of complaints to below 15 a year.
CABE chief executive Richard Simmons blamed public bodies for some of CABE's defi ciencies.
He said: 'The designchampion programme is working - 70 per cent of public bodies now have one - but in some cases they are not encouraged, supported or, on occasion, even used.'
And former CABE director of design review Peter Stewart said he had sympathy with the organisation.
He said: 'I think it is doing its best under difficult circumstances.'
The report was not all doom and gloom, however.
CABE bosses can claim to have succeeded in raising the organisation's media profile.
The watchdog managed to rack up 270 'mentions' in the national press, beating the target of 260.
Over the year CABE's website also received 24 more hits than targeted.