Ian Salisbury's Comments
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".
The 6% should enjoy their freedom while it lasts.
See the qualification and training required of the Arb's investigators at http://tinyurl.com/Arb-inv-quals, and the qualifications and training required of members at the PCC at http://tinyurl.com/Arb-PCC-quals. You would expect both to be at least equal to those on the register.
Your reporter was not in Glasgow to hear the case against Oldham, or his defence. The only evidence that the Board brought against Oldham was merely that he had used the words 'the ethnics', which Oldham admitted. It did not explain how the use of (what is in fact) objective language could have been in any way pejorative of any individual, nor was there any evidence that anyone had been insulted or demeaned. Questioning from the PCC chair showed however that the PCC was prepared to consider a conviction on the basis of nothing more than a negative inference - the kind of justice that was prevalent in political cases 450 years ago and which has no place in a civilised society. Oldham, anticipating what the PCC was up to, denied the implied usage, and said that he had put the words in inverted commas to show he was doing nothing more lampooning the RIBA president. There was no other evidence against Oldham. The finding against Oldham, which I also heard, was based entirely upon a case that had been invented by the PCC. It bore no relationship either to the charge or to the evidence. But what was of greater concern was that the golden thread that runs through British justice of 'innocence until proved guilty' was nowhere to be found. The whole process was a disgrace and an embarrassment. I well remember George Oldham, with a group of others including Kate Macintosh and Peter Ahrends, leading the RIBA's schools policy against the apartheid regime in South Africa. The Arb has no memory of such matters and, it seems, has failed to learn any sensible discernment.
One of the less known provisions of the Copyright Act, which I fought hard to get included in the moral rights section (Chapter IV), is the following: 77.-(4) The author of an artistic work has the right to be identified whenever ... in the case of a work of architecture in the form of a building or a model for a building ... copies of a graphioc work representing it, or of a photograph of it, are issued to the public. -(5) The author of a work of architecture in the form of a building also has the right to be identified on the building as constructed ... The key to asserting these rights is to simply to assert them "by instrument in writing signed by the author ..." I would be interested to know whether there is any reason why these assertions cannot be made retrospectively, and effectively. These are not contract obligations, they are statutory rights.
Comment on: Parnaby bags ARB vice chair role
Clearly the Board is being overun by educationalists.
Comment on: Ruth Reed’s RIBA: How was it for you?
The Presidency has become a sinecure; but without the money, of course.
Comment on: ARB plans to scrap controversial PII form
I've always held that the ARB has made it its business to discredit architects, and the PII issue is a good example of that. After spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money, ARB have suceeded not in uncovering a swathe of uninsured architects, but in making the public and our clients suspicious. The ARB may have its reassuring words, but the sub-message, in my view, has always been: "trust us, not them". That is why we need an effective professional institution, and not a statutory authority.