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RIBA to launch own review of the ARB

The RIBA is to fund its own independent review of the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

The shock move is evidence of the institute’s determination to overhaul the ARB, particularly its roles in education and regulation, such as policing professional indemnity insurance.

It is unclear at this stage who the RIBA will ask to carry out the review, but it is understood the move is part of a long-term plan looking into the relationship between the bodies.

A spokesman for the institute said: ‘The idea of seeking an independent review of registration and regulation is at a very early stage of consideration. But such reviews are recognised as good practice in professions, to keep abreast of changing times and conditions.

‘The ARB is aware of the idea and we would naturally consult them before going further.

‘It is of course just one of the ideas that the RIBA and the ARB are discussing in the interests of clients and the profession.’

The news has been welcomed by former RIBA president George Ferguson, who said: ‘I’m against RIBA v ARB wars, but in favour of a proper independent review of ARB, its purpose and performance.’

He added: ‘[There has been] too much history for the review to be RIBA-run, however, the RIBA should play a major part in agreeing review personnel and in giving evidence.’

Meanwhile, the AJ has learned that the RIBA has failed in its bid to tender for the ARB’s prescription licence.

The institute was one of only two bidders – the other being Scottish examination-management firm Apeas – vying to take on the running of the process which allows applicants without Parts 1 and 2 – mainly non-EU foreign nationals – to be admitted onto the ARB register.

At present the exams, which are always held in London, can cost an around £1,200, and it was hoped by ARB reformers that the outsourcing of the process could lead to price cuts.

Insiders believe the RIBA blew its chances by ‘qualifying’ its tender after amending the document to make the ‘bid viable’.

The ARB said neither of the bids achieved its ‘aims’ and now wanted to take a ‘time out’ and would review the situation in 12 months.

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