Ian Salisbury's Comments
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.
Comment on: RIBA slammed over panel ‘fiasco’
Mr Little bases his assertion on his own question and Mr Bingham raises a suspicion. As one of the assessors may I dispel any doubt about the selection process. 1. The RIBA, having invited me to join the assessment panel, required my own application to be assessed before independent assessors. That, somewhat discomfortingly, was done. If I had failed that examination, I have no doubt that my invitation to join the panel would have been withdrawn. 2. All candidates were informed of the criteria that were to be used before they were invited to submit for selection. Those criteria, and no other, were strictly applied. 3. I have no part in the nomination of adjudicators. That is an exercise carried out by the RIBA's expert officers, or by the President on those officers' advice.
Good comment from Owen Luder (a past chair of ARB), but I don't agree. ARB provides the profession with quasi monopoly status and it is therefore not surprising that those who could not withstand a free market in services are fearful of its demise. Public protection in the building industry is adequately dealt with by the Building Regulations, whereas the monopoly status arguably does the reverse. There is a clear argument that repealing the Architects Act will benefit not only the built environment but also enhance aesthetic standards. If there is any doubt about this, compare UK with a country such as Finland (there are many others) which has no comparable protection, or NZ where there is protection but a healthy market, particularly in house design, with architectural designers. But I think perhaps the most interesting consequence of a repeal would be an improvement in fees.
Thank you Mr/Ms Anonymouses for your gratuitous speculations. Like the Arb, you are wrong on all counts.
Comment on: RIBA votes to take powers from the ARB
Although I am an abolitionist, this must be a good second best solution. The unattached are respected for their preference to stay away from the Institute, but yet needless replication between the Arb and the RIBA, particularly in the recognition of the schools, is done away with. Since the Arb was established, the retention fee has risen by 186% when the RPI has risen merely by 40%. Even this year, when much was said about keeping the retention fee the same as last, it has increased in real terms by 2.5% owing to the recessionary fall in the cost of living.