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Secrecy undermines confidence in ARB

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Letters

Barbara Kelly of the arb says (aj 7.1.99), 'The arb takes its . . . role and . . . duties . . . very seriously, particularly in the vital areas of education and discipline. However, effective regulation requires investment and commitment by the profession if the confidence of the public and the government is to be maintained.'

It is unrealistic to expect such investment and commitment by the profession unless the arb is prepared to be more open about its activities, and have less recourse to confidentiality. For example, the confidentiality surrounding the activities of the Joint Validation Panel leaves many questions unanswered. Which new architectural or non-architectural courses are applying for validation? How are they identified? How much does validation cost? Who profits from it? Will there be two, or maybe three, competing sets of arb/riba-validated courses at completely separate institutions in Portsmouth? What provisions exist for the registration of private interests, and are such interests actually registered? When will which courses be visited? How are the members of the visiting boards selected? How is cronyism avoided? What do the reports say?

Given such secrecy, does she really think that the arb has the confidence of the government, the public and the profession?

A GOOD

Birmingham

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