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The ARB needs holding back by a robust RIBA


It would appear from recent correspondence that in the Ian Salisbury/RIBA/ARB debate, the ARB protagonists, in their apparent determination to personalise a serious matter, are in danger of losing the plot.

The central issue surely is the role of the ARB as intended by Parliament when passing the Registration Act in 1998. Hansard records this as being:

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

. 'to reduce costs accordingly';

. 'to ensure that the Board concentrates on the core functions of registration and discipline';

. 'not to extend the functions of the board to cover financial or insurance matters';

. 'to allow the RIBA to continue in the predominant role in architectural education without the board duplicating that role.'

The ARB appears to have ignored all these objectives and has significantly widened its role in the process, and to fund it all has accelerated the rate of increase in the retention fee to six times the rate of inflation.

Perversely, the RIBA has not been as robust in attempting to constrain the ARB as one might have hoped, possibly in the belief that most members don't actually care. While accepting the somewhat supine attitude of many members to the activities of their professional body, I suspect this is not the case with regard to the ARB. Maybe a stronger, more cogently argued case would see more members rising to support their institute, bearing in mind the Highton Report survey, which showed most of the profession wanted practice and education controlled by the RIBA, not the ARB.

What was it Burke said? 'The only thing necessary for the triumph?' Nick Allen, Allen Tod Architecture

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