The ongoing war between the ARB and its rebel Ian Salisbury is set to come to a explosive climax next week at a secret board meeting, the AJ can reveal.
The two sides are set to go head to head over a series of claims and counter claims relating to the board's policy of 'dignity in the workplace'.
The outcome of this special hearing could see Salisbury - who was elected on a 'pare back the ARB ticket' - ejected from the board.
The latest controversy dates back to an exchange of correspondence in March of last year, which saw the board's head of education, Jon Levett, accuse Salisbury of leaking certain confidential business.
Salisbury was furious with the accusation and made a complaint about Levett's actions and those of his boss, chief executive Robin Vaughan. Levett then made a counter complaint, arguing that Salisbury should not have told his fellow board members about the move.
Both cases have since been heard before a committee of the board, chaired by Jane Rees, which threw out Salisbury's original case but upheld Levett's. Salisbury is appealing both these decisions next Thursday (20 January) at a fresh committee with a new chair, expected to be board member Soo Ware.
If he were to lose, there are several sanctions available. However, the only one explicitly mentioned is 'expulsion from the board'. Salisbury can be expected to take the case to judicial review if he is expelled.
'Jon's complaint is a technicality,' a source on the board told the AJ. 'The difference is that Ian feels that his character was besmirched and this is the key to what is going to happen in this extraordinary meeting. The sanctions as yet seem largely unclear but the ultimate punishment is expulsion and there are those that think this is what it is really all about.'
The RIBA has stepped up its campaign to cut back the work of the ARB. It has written to the government to propose an amendment to the 1997 Architects Act that would restrict the board's work.by Ed Dorrell