No, please, once and for all no, I have not called for the abolition of the ARB! (AJ 19/26.12.02 and 10.10.02).
What I did say, though obviously not clearly enough, was that if those architects who at the time had supported the formation of a registration board to replace the old ARCUK had been able to foresee how it would turn out, they might well have opposed it.
For my part, I have been called to give evidence to a series of other countries with respect to the merits of registration; particularly in relation to maintaining protection of title. My view, given most recently in Australia, has been that a separate board directed partly by lay-people that deals with registration and client complaints is preferable.
That said, I also believe that there should be 'clear water' between such a board and the professional institute that represents architects' interests and pursues the wider agenda of matters that serve the broader public interest - for example, exhibitions, and our Architecture for All initiative with the V&A.
The ARB cannot operate economically and efficiently as a 'lean' organisation in a role that is mutually compatible with the RIBA if it continues to expand its remit and engage in a wider agenda of issues that lie outside its responsibilities under the Act through which it was established. Its very able registrar knows that, as do some of its board members.
Peace will finally reign only if and when they all settle down to doing (competently) what they should do - keeping the register and dealing with complaints.
The more they depart from that role, the more people - possibly me included one day - will, through exasperation, call for their demise.
Paul Hyett, RIBA president