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CABE IS WRONG TO EXPECT FREE EXPERT ADVICE. . .

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LETTERS

Most readers would agree with last week's Editorial (AJ 01.02.07) that a distinction should be drawn between providing free or cut-price services and contributing in one way or another for the profession's greater good. I served on the RIBA Council for 15 years - including a term as a vice president and five terms as Honorary Secretary. I served on the ARCUK Council and a large number of other committees and competition panels, and spent several years as a trustee of the British Architectural Library Trust - all out of altruism for the advancement of architecture and the wellbeing of the profession. I have done my time before the mast but still side with Craig Douglas (AJ letters 01.02.07) on the issue of CABE's Design Review Panel.

Interestingly, four of the current panel members include among their professional affixes the letters 'ARB', despite the ARB website emphasising that it should not be used in this way.

Oblivious to the fact that 'ARB' is neither a qualification nor an honour, and refusing to accept that harm is being done to its credibility, CABE states: 'It is CABE's policy to allow panel members to list their qualifications and honours as they wish.'

CABE is not only wrong to expect design advice for free but it is also wrong not to care how its panel members present themselves to the profession and the public.

Maurice McCarthy, Chorleywood, Hertfordshire

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