Ruth Brennan – email sent on 20 January 2009 to the Board's CEO and Registrar in defence of the original statement *


I have read your amendments to my address and do not agree with them.

There is no need to put "in my view" or "I believe".  As a statement of mine it goes without saying. 

The first chairman of the Board wrote to all on the register saying that the ARB’s remit was considerably wider than the statutory remit, and although Mr Humphrey Lloyd QC wrote to the press on 24 February 2006 to contradict this, his letter was not an official communication from the Board.  Dr Kelly’s assertion has never been contradicted.  However, if the Board is able now in an official capacity to contradict Dr Kelly’s assertion and also the assertions made by the Board’s solicitor in 2004 that the Board possessed "extra statutory powers", and if as a consequence of this contradiction the Board will inform all those on the register that they need not bother to account to the Board for their professional indemnity insurance provisions under the code, then I shall consider your suggestion.  As matters stand, my statement is justified.

Although the Board has no business to "prescribe" architectural courses, the Act referring only to qualifications, my choice of the word "validate" was both careful and considered.  For it is clear that rather than prescribe qualifications, the whole machinery of "prescription" is nothing more nor less than course validation.  As an example I would refer you to Appendix 3 of the ARB's so-called Prescription Procedures, where it is clear that the Board not only takes an interest in the course outcome, the qualification, but also in the process leading to the qualification (staff resources, etc).  Beyond any doubt, that is course validation. 

On CPD I would refer you to Minute 13 of the Board meeting of 26 July 2007 and to the Board’s Competence Guidelines It is clear that the "Guidelines" place an obligation on those on the register because when "existing architects in practice renew their annual ARB registration, they will automatically be deemed to have confirmed that they are competent to practise".  The Guideline then proceeds to the consideration of "ARB's rules on maintaining competence" when there is no statutory provision for such rules. 

I respectfully suggest that you are mistaken when you say that there has never been a question of revalidation.  The question was first raised by the Registrar in the 2002/2003 Annual Report, and although at that stage he said "complete validation was not on the horizon for architects", that was premature; for I understand the ACE task force considered quinquennial revalidation in 2005 (possibly at the behest of the Registrar and Dr Jon Levitt), and that news of this was enthusiastically reported to the Board by the Registrar who said in his report to the Board at its meeting of 10 February 2005 that the ACE had "recommended" quinquennial revalidation, when others who were at the ACE Assembly understood that no such recommendation had been made.  This led to widespread speculation about revalidation, amply aired by the ARB Reform Group, which the Board has never refuted.  In the circumstances, and until such time as the Board expressly discounts it, an intent to introduce revalidation must remain a justified concern.

There is good authority for my statement that the Board has adopted duties over and above its mandate, and continues to seek to do so.  The consultation on the code is to the point, where the Board has made many suggestions concerning taking an interest in the private business of those on the register.  Not only does the code contain rules at present, but it is clear that the Board is intent on extending them. 

I am confident that my statement is justified for the reasons above and therefore I do not wish it to be changed.



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*Typos corrected