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I was interested to read the letter from Alan Crane describing the ARB's close working with the RIBA (AJ 25.05.06). I am reassured, as I had had a somewhat different understanding of the relationship based on my recent reading on the subject. But there seems to be a basic confusion here between 'competence to practise' and CPD.

The RIBA scheme for CPD is an important element in maintaining an architect's competence in that it formalises the necessary business of keeping up to date, but it is only part of the overall concept of professional competence.

In a recent press release the ARB stated that it 'wished to have a scheme that not only provided protection to the public, but was also practical and workable and made the least possible demands on the profession'. And its recommended option for monitoring competence stated that 'applying for retention on the register would be deemed by ARB as confirmation that competence had been maintained in the previous year'.

Fine, I don't think any of us would have a problem with that. So why is the ARB now talking of running its own CPD scheme, duplicating that of the RIBA?

The act defining the ARB's role gives no indication that the board should run its own CPD scheme. Particularly so when, as Alan Crane points out, the RIBA already has a scheme that is perfectly adequate.

George Finch, by email

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