We were extremely surprised to read the comments made by Paul Finch ('Registration body heads for trouble', aj 18.12.97), and would like to take this opportunity to correct some of the assumptions made in the article.
A key priority for the Board, which came into existence this year, is to determine what responsibility it has for education under the new provisions of the Architects Act 1997. With this need in mind the Board has quite rightly taken advice from Counsel to ensure that it is fulfilling its statutory obligations. The opinion reveals that the Board has the responsibility for setting educational standards and that it is the Board's responsibility to oversee the validation process.
The Board enjoys a close working relationship with the riba, and the registrar has kept riba director of education Chris Colbourne informed at every stage. Since the Board does not have in-house expertise in this area, we are exploring ways in which we can fulfil our responsibilities by continuing to involve a wide range of external specialists. In addition, the Board is working together with the riba Education Review group chaired by Sir Colin Stansfield Smith.
As for architects drawing the Board's attention to breaches of the Code by other architects, it is normal and standard practice for professionals to inform their registration body if they identify problems with another member.
Readers should be aware that all Professional Conduct Committee hearings are held in public.
In all of this the Board is trying to ensure the delivery of a high-quality service to both the consumer and profession.
Chairwoman, Architects Registration Board