The government has announced the start of a review that could spell the end of the Architects Registration Board (ARB)
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The three-yearly review is part of the government drive to ensure that all ‘Arms Length Bodies continue to have regular challenge on their remit and governance arrangements.’
Spearheaded by Stephen Williams, under-secretary of state for Communities and Local Government, the review has a brief to determine if there is a ‘continuing need’ for ARB and, if there is, whether it can be run more efficiently.
The announcement comes in the wake of The Association of Consultant Architects’ (ACA) call for the government to trim down ARB’s role; stripping back its regulatory functions to ‘the minimum necessary’ and slashing the annual fee to architects as a result.
The ACA’s stance mirrored the revised position agreed by the RIBA two weeks ago (see AJ 21.03.14). The association said it wanted the board’s other functions such as its roles covering the code of conduct, disciplinary matters and validating courses ‘contracted’ out - possibly to the RIBA.
The RIBA’s previous policy from 2009 set out how it wanted ‘to maintain protection of title’ but with that task transferred from the ARB to the RIBA - a switch which would effectively spell the end for the board.
But at a RIBA Council on Wednesday (19 March 2014), a revised strategy to keep a pared-back ARB as an ‘independent minimal registration’ body, but with other functions potentially shifting across to the institute, was agreed.
Government review into need for ARB begins