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ARB wins Pyrrhic victory with Professional Conduct prosecution

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The ARB's campaign to make architects confirm their Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) if they want to stay on the register has taken a major hit.

Earlier this week, the board's prosecutors took architect Yolande Fothergill to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) because she had failed to fill in and return the PII form.

Yet having gone through the entire prosecution - for unacceptable professional conduct - and the hearing, Fothergill was only issued with a reprimand.

The move will leave anti-ARB campaigners fuming, as they believe there should be no requirement to complete and return the form.

Critics will be quick to point out the cost of the prosecution compared to the outcome: nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

The PCC heard that the ARB had written to Fothergill on a number of occasions throughout 2006 requesting that she confirm her PII cover, which she had failed to do.

Although denying that her failing amounted to unacceptable professional conduct, Fothergill apologised for the oversight and confirmed that she did indeed have the required insurance in place.

However, summing up, PCC chair Peter Verdin insisted that Fothergill had failed to treat the board with sufficient respect.

He said: 'It is important for architects that they treat their regulator and professional body with the same courtesy that they treat clients, and the consequences of failing to do so are considerable expense which eventually all the profession must meet.'

by Ed Dorrell

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