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New ARB board members elected - but turnout still low

ARB
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The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has announced the names of its seven elected members who are set to serve for the next four years

Four new faces – Atelier Bill director Jason Bill, Heriot Watt University built environment professor Sue Roaf (pictured bottom), Construction Industry Council project manager Danna Walker and Hypostyle Architects director Guy Maxwell – have joined the board.

They are joined by the re-elected Bath University head of architecture Alex Wright, academic and founder of Chartered Practice Architects Susan Ware, and University of the West of England professor of architecture Richard Parnaby.

The ARB received 3,030 votes by post and a further 2,777 via the internet - a combined total of 5807 - equating to a 16.11 per cent turnout. In 2012, just 4,637 architects voted in the election -  a record low turnout of 13.7 per cent. Participation was 15 per cent in 2009 and 23 per cent in 2006.

Voting closed on 1 March in a process overseen by independent body Electoral Reform Services, with elected board members starting their term on 1 April.

John Assael, Ruth Brennan, Hans G Eisner, Myra Kinghorn and Andrew Mortimer are to step down from the board.

Beatrice Fraenkel, chair of the ARB said: ‘It is widely recognised, both in the public and private sector, that Board’s operate best when drawing on the diverse backgrounds and experiences of their members and our newly elected Board Members will contribute to this important process.’

Whether their replacements will serve their full four-year term is open to question after Architects’ Journal revealed last month that the ARB is lobbying government to end elections and reduce the number of board members.

A letter sent last year by ARB registrar and chief executive Karen Holmes to officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government was released under a Freedom of Information bid (FOI).

Her comments, sent in response to the department’s soon-to-report periodic review of the ARB, said that elections do ‘not always guarantee the relevant skills and experience needed by the board at a particular time’.

Newly elected ARB board member Sue Roaf

Newly elected ARB board member Sue Roaf

Newly elected ARB board member Sue Roaf

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