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ARB review: government backs continued 'light-touch' regulation

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The government has said there ‘remained a case’ for the ‘light-touch’ regulation of the architectural profession based on protection of title

Announcing the initial conclusions of its periodic review of the Architects Registration Board (ARB), the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said it was now looking at how to ‘simplify the role of the regulator’. 

In a statement released yesterday, the department added: ‘[Phase 2 of the review] will focus on ensuring a level playing-field for UK architects to compete in the European Union and beyond and supporting consumer protection legislation in a way that minimises the burden for architects and schools of architecture, and avoids overlap with the role of professional bodies.’

The findings have been welcomed by the RIBA which wants to pare back the remit of the ‘wasteful’ ARB, while keeping the statutory protection of the title ‘architect’.

The institute said it hoped its further concerns about the ARB’s handling of professional conduct matters, its role in prescribing/validating qualifications and its ‘mission creep’, to be resolved during the second phase of the review. 

RIBA president Stephen Hodder said: ‘I want to see effective streamlined maintenance of statutory protection of the title ‘architect’, one that offers value for money for architects, reduces unhelpful bureaucracy for architects and schools of architecture and offer proper protection for the British consumer.’

Beatrice Fraenkel, chair of the ARB, said:’We welcome the outcome of the first phase of the periodic review which has recommended that statutory regulation of architects should continue.

‘We look forward to ensuring the organisation continues to deliver its regulatory function effectively while at the same time contributing to further constructive debate during phase two of the review, around key regulatory issues such as maintaining standards for the benefit of architects and consumers.’

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