- Composition of the Board

- Regulations made by ARCUK

- 2 Questions : How does the Architects Registration Board answer inquiries?

- The wider remit : an observation on the claim of former Board chairman Humphrey Lloyd that "Arb only fulfils its statutory role, no more".

- 2009 election : A majority of candidates support reform.

- Status of the Registrar as Registrar and when acting as Returning Officer.

- Occasional notes of Board meetings.

- RIBA Report On the Registration and Regulation of Architects by Sir Christopher Ball

- ARB and its statutory functions: another judicial precedent (April 2010)

- On persons offered appointment to the ARB or its PCC. (April 2010)

- The ARB continues to misconduct itself (May 2012)


Status of the Registrar ...

The announcement of the resignation of the former Registrar and Chief Executive on 17 March 2006 was clearly no sudden decision.  

It is encouraging that the appointment of Ms Alison Carr was made only after consulting a representative of the newly elected members of the Board, not only because the appointment of a the Registrar by s.2 of the Architects Act is the duty of the Board, but also because it is the Board including its elected members that Ms Carr serves.

It is the duty of the Board to "decide the period for which, and the terms on which, the Registrar is appointed."  It is therefore disappointing that the Board does not appear to have considered those terms before offering an appointment bearing in mind the expectation of the Government when the new constitution of the Board was devised.

Inquirers and policy-makers may well wish to consider the wide scope that was given to the Board.  Under the heading "Registrar" on page 3 of Baroness Denton's Consultation Paper, it was proposed as long ago as 1994 that "the Registrar would be a named appointee of the Board which would decide whether the Registrar should be an employee or a contractor.  This is intended to ensure that the Registrar is identifiable and accountable, but to allow scope for different methods of appointment".  It appears that no alternative to a salaried employee of the Board was considered.

AARUK wishes Alison Carr well in her appointment.


... when acting as Returning Officer

As has been mentioned in the AARUK article " Composition of the Board", doubts about the Electoral Scheme have been raised over the board's chief executive acting as the returning officer.  Under the General Rules of the board, rule 4(iv), the chief executive acts on behalf of the board in implementing its policies "as is desirable or necessary for the efficient operation of the board's activities".  As returning officer, under paragraph 5.8 of the Electoral Scheme, those duties may include editing election statements of candidates "as appropriate" if the returning officer "believes that the statement requires editing".

AARUK is aware that in January 2009 the Returning Officer approached at least 7 of the candidates with a view to persuade them to change the substance of their statements, perhaps prompting a less generous observer to suggest interference.  One of the candidates, Ruth Brennan, refused to entertain any such change, and has published not only her original proposal, but also the version of her statement that the Board's chief executive wished to substitute.  Miss Brennan has also published a robust defence of her original statement.  But despite these measures, the Returning Officer has published a revised version of the statement. 

Bearing in mind that this process has been at least in part non-consensual, it is surprising that one of the candidates, who supports the entirety of the Board's policies without criticism, appears to have been allowed to include a remarkably contentious assertion in her statement, namely that the Board's work "primarily aims to ensure high standards of competence and professionalism for architects", an assertion that observers may conclude is far from justified by reference to the Board's governing statute.

The Electoral Reform Society, which has the conduct of the election of members to the Board, has informed AARUK that with many private schemes, it is the case that an executive officer may double up as returning officer.  However, the ARB is not a private organisation but a corporation set up by a public Act of Parliament.  In the light of the chief executive's activities in this role, AARUK suggests that the Secretary of State and the Privy Council may wish to reconsider their approval of the Electoral Scheme.


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Architects Act
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