Comment on: RIBA and ARB ethical codes attacked
The real question is whether rules of any kind improve professionalism. The better remedy by anyone who has suffered at the hands of a professional person is to sue them. Why? Becasue all of the so-called regulators (apart from medical) suffer from the same shortcoming - the service they provide is under-funded and ineffective. Medical regulation is different - it has teeth becuase it can stop people practising. The rest are a waste of space and always will be.
We have less contrition over poor decisions these days. When it happens muck-raking should stop and everyone should move on. I wish there were more of this.
It looks as though the ARB are within the law by throwing non-payers off (although that Act uses the word "may", so it's discretionary). But the fee that they charge for readmission (which freedom for applicants exists for a full calendar year) is defined as being a "further prescribed fee". Your report mentions a £20 fee and a £35 administration charge. I don't think they have the power to levy an administration charge, and they can only impose the £20 fee if it has been "prescribed", which I am sure it will have been. However, nothing can be "prescribed" except by rules (the Act, s.25), and the Arb cannot make up rules unless they "publish a draft of the rules and give those to whom the rules would be applicable an opportunity of making representations to the Board" (s.23). I don't remember being asked to make any such representation - can anyone else? And if they didn't ask then they must reinstate for no additional fee. Can't take this one up. I paid up at the last second.
Comment on: End of the road for RIBANet
Although RIBANet will go tomorrow it will be interesting to see how the RIBA deals with the knowledge base it contains, for there is a wealth of information in in. I suspect that being of the ether rather than in hard copy it will not recognise its value and all will be destroyed. Burning books comes to mind.
Although fees charged in advance of a service provided is becoming more frequent, architects generally continue to charge in arrears for services provided. That requires a level of trust and it is therefore somewhat galling that the ARB has changed its rules to a level of zero trust in the profession. Be that as it may, the acid question is whether it is lawful for the ARB to collect fees during the year preceding the year of retention. The wording of section 8(1) of the Act is ambiguous and it should therefore be read (under the normal rules of statutory interpretation) to the advantage of the payer, that the registered person pays the retention fee for retention "in any calendar year after that in which it was entered" That being so it seems likely to me that once again the ARB is acting unlawfully, not only in striking out members (which in the Act is described as being not mandatory but as a discretionary consequence of a failure to pay) but by charging additional and perhaps punitive fees for "application" and for "reinstatement" as well as for "retention".