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Show your financial support for Ian Salisbury

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We would like to make it known that we are supporting the fund for the defence of Ian Salisbury.

We take the view that he deserves our support as he has altruistically given his time and energy, and is now risking large personal expenditure, to defend us from the oppressive encroachment of the ARB on our professional independence.

When government proposed to reform ARCUK, in 1994, it called for reforms to create a small, focused and effective registration body which represents both the interests of the profession and the general public.

It is clear from the Hansard records of the passage of the Registration Act through parliament that the intentions of government were :

l to create a minimalist body setting criteria for admission to the register; preventing misuse of the title 'architect'; disciplining unprofessional conduct; and setting fee levels;

l to reduce costs accordingly;l to ensure that the board concentrates on the core functions of registration and discipline;

l not to extend the functions of the board to cover financial or insurance matters; and l to allow the RIBA to continue in the predominant role in architectural education without the board duplicating that role.

The way that the ARB has proceeded is entirely in conflict with those intentions. It has adopted an expansionist policy in education and is now preparing to move into practice, in a big way. This expansionist activity has resulted in a rise in the retention fees paid by the profession of 645 per cent in 20 years. Since 1998, the rate of increase has accelerated to six times the rate of inflation.

There have been moves by the ARB recently to inhibit the democratically elected minority component of the board - the architects (the non-architect state appointees are in a majority already). These include the following :

1. Resolutions of the board may be passed without there being a meeting of the board.

2. Once authorised, the chief executive may act on behalf of the board without any further reference or report back.

3. Any or all of the elected members may be removed from office by the appointed members voting en bloc.

4. The registrar, who is also the board's chief executive, may alter candidates' election statements while at the same time continuing as the electoral returning officer.

5. Candidates for election, who fail to provide an undertaking that they will not make any public comment that would call any past or present decision of the board into question, will automatically be disqualified from standing.

The RIBA commented on these rule changes that there was a lack of checks and balances, and of any appeal process. Its advice was not heeded.

It seems ironic that when the general political climate is towards liberalisation and the removal of regulation, the architectural profession, which has not been guilty of any major abuses of public trust, is being pressurised by this unnecessary bureaucracy.

We must stand by Ian, who is risking in excess of £100,000 in costs if the case goes against him and about £20,000 in legal fees if he wins or the case is dropped.

Only pledges are requested at this stage. Anything between £100 and £2,000 is sought. Please send emails to gk@finmacin.

demon. co. uk Michael Manser PPRIBA, David Rock PPRIBA, John Miller, Colin James, Claire Wright, Rod Hackney PPRIBA

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