The Architects’ Registration Board (ARB ) is proposing to scrap its contentious professional indemnity insurance (PII) ‘tick box’ form
Critics of the Statement of Compliance said the board was overstepping its statutory remit by asking architects to annually prove their insurance status.
The proposal comes just months after architect Ian Salisbury won his legal battle with the board over his failure to complete the PII form (AJ15.04.10).
The form will now be suspended until a final decision is made by the board in September, which has justified the move on the grounds of expediency and cost.
At a meeting last Thursday (22 July), the board said it would instead issue regular reminders and bulletins to members when applying for and reinstating their registration.
Salisbury said: ‘This is an overdue correction; the first time I raised this with the board was in 1997… I have consistently maintained that the board were pursuing an entirely unlawful policy by requiring those on their register to provide information, a process which costs a great deal.
‘Had it not been for my case this matter would never have been before the board. ‘
Prior to Salisbury’s case, architects including Richard Lyon and John Lewis were prosecuted by ARB for failing to comply with the current system.
Lyon unsuccessfully challenged the £1,000 fine issued against him in 2005. Lyon did not comment on the outcome of last week’s meeting.
Former RIBA president Jack Pringle said: ‘ARB has eventually given into the inevitable. They need to draw a broader lesson and focus solely on what the Act requires them to do, rather than on what they believe the Act should require them to do.’
The decision to ditch the Statement of Compliance would generate an estimated saving of £30,000 annually for the ARB.
Meanwhile, the ARB has proposed a new fee structure which would mean higher fees for first-time applicants, but lower penalty fees for reinstated
The new application fee would be £30 and the penalty fee for architects wanting to be reinstated would be reduced.