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Government moves to back CABE

CABE received some much-needed good news this week when the ODPM issued a statement refuting a Commons select committee report that damned the design watchdog.

John Prescott's department refused to accept criticism from the ODPM select committee that CABE's design review function is still overly dominated by commercial interests and could be regarded as 'cursory' (AJ 10.3.05).

In an official response earlier this week, the government insisted that CABE was 'already working to meet many of the select committee recommendations through its continuing work to raise design quality at a national level, its support for local authorities, its current level of transparency and accountability, and its commitment to heritage issues'.

Other examples listed by the government to support CABE's work include the high level of satisfaction of Design Review clients.

The response goes on to state that CABE is already planning changes to some operational procedures and is working with the government to review how others that were highlighted in the select committee recommendations can be improved further.

CABE chief executive Richard Simmons said he was relieved. 'We are very pleased with the government's response and feel there are many positives to come out of this inquiry.

'It has highlighted the pivotal role CABE plays and shown that confidence in the organisation, and the work that we do, is very high,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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