ARB Reform Group
Without regard to its statutory purpose, the ARB has involved itself in unnecessary regulation, indemnity insurance, education, accreditation of architectural courses, CPD and the revalidation of those on the
register. ARB policies are particularly unfair to those starting up in practice, those taking career breaks including parental leave, the semi-retired, teachers, and architects working outside mainstream practice.
In 2006 five of the twenty-two candidates seeking election to the seven architect places on the Architects Registration Board swept up 70% of the profession's votes. They united under the umbrella title of “The ARB Reform Group” to present a joint platform supporting the RIBA and the ACA in their campaigns to define and restrict the regulatory powers assumed by the Board.
The Group argues that the ARB was set up in 1997 as an architects' registration body - hence its name. It points out that Hansard confirms that Parliament intended that it would be a minimalist body, but that the Board has instead progressively sought to involve itself in regulation of the profession, in indemnity insurance, education, accreditation of architectural courses, CPD and regular revalidation of those on the register. Members of the group believe the Board’s expansionist policies cannot be justified by reference to the Architects Act, and are unnecessary and restrictive; they believe that evidence shows that the profession has no need for oppressive regulation, and feel that the Board damages the reputation of the profession by acting as though the public interest requires it. ARB has succumbed to the maxim that an organisation tends, once created, to work to increase its own position and existence whether or not that is in the public's best interest.
The Group remains concerned that excessive retention fee increases, the implementation of aggressive policies of legal actions and the procuring of expensive legal opinions to support an expansionist Board agenda all damage the profession. It believes that the Board should have no ambition to act as if it were in competition with the professional bodies.