It's disappointing to see that, yet again, one of your readers chooses to make partial and misleading statements in a letter about the ARB (AJ 17.3.05). I should like to correct these inaccuracies.
There are a series of checks and balances in place for resolutions taken outside board meetings. Resolutions are passed only after a 'write round' to board members. This process is rarely used, and tends only to occur for minor business. As chief executive, I have no authority to act on behalf of the board without any further reference or report back.
There are rules and procedures if a member is thought incapable of discharging his or her duties, or is unfit because of improper conduct. These rules apply equally to both appointed and elected members.
It is misleading to suggest that, as returning officer, I can alter candidates' election statements at will. The electoral scheme allows the returning officer to edit any election statement only if it exceeds the permitted number of words, or contains inaccurate or misleading statements. Even then, candidates are first offered the opportunity to edit their own statement.
Candidates for election are required to be bound by the usual rules of corporate governance.
Candidates who prefer not to be bound by those rules have two choices: they can either withdraw their candidature for membership of the board, or, if they are elected subsequently to the board, they can try to persuade their fellow board members to change the corporate-governance model.
The board has included eminent figures well known in the profession, including past presidents of the RIBA and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. Neither they, nor the eminent lay persons appointed to the board, have a problem with the board's corporate governance, and their wide experience in other fields enables them to benchmark this.
Robin Vaughan, chief executive and registrar, ARB