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ARB encourages architects to share equality and diversity information as Annual Report shows underrepresentation

July 8, 2021 | News Release

The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has today published its Annual Report and Financial Statements for 2020 and laid them before Parliament.

ARB sets the requirements for joining the architects register and sets professional standards through the Code of Conduct and Practice. In January 2021 there were 42,340 architects on the register. The equivalent figure in 2019 figure was 42,547, a change of less than 1%.

The Annual Report details ARB’s work in maintaining the register, managing complaints about architects, and recognising qualifications so that new architects can join the register. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting national restrictions, ARB delivered all its statutory functions. In 2020 ARB approved 25 architecture qualifications and monitored a further 124 (double the figure monitored in 2019), and handled 154 formal complaints and an additional 500 complaints about misuse of the title ‘architect’.

The report also details progress against ARB’s ambitious agenda, which includes its review of the competencies architects need from their initial education and training. It also references intensive preparations for further changes to the way in which ARB will recognise international qualifications as well as plans to develop a new architect-led Continuing Professional Development scheme.

The statistics published by ARB in the Annual Report are the only data available on the profession as a whole in the UK. They expose concerning areas of under-representation: in 2020 only 1% of architects identified their ethnic group as Black, and only 29.6% of architects were female.

Whilst architects are not obliged to share personal information relating to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), ARB has been encouraging them to do so. In 2020, the proportion of architects sharing EDI data increased to 68%, up from 62% in 2019. This equates to around 2,600 additional architects. Many new entrants provided the data, as did 800 architects who were already on the register.

ARB is continuing to ask all architects to complete the information as there are still major gaps. Thirty-two per cent of architects have not shared their data. Of those that have, 6.5% prefer not to state their ethnic group. ARB is asking all architects to check whether they have completed their EDI data online at

Alan Kershaw, Chair of the Architects Registration Board, said: “In 2020 ARB published a strategic statement of intent that set out its aim for a profession that reflects the society in which architects work. Architects drawn from and representative of different types of communities and lifestyles are best equipped to design good built environments.

“The profession is not representative enough; we need to understand why. Today I’m asking all architects to share this information with us, so that we can scrutinise the data and prepare positive proposals to promote inclusion.”

Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar for the Architects Registration Board, said: “ARB’s statutory role means we are uniquely placed to help change the makeup of the profession. Our current priority is to review the regulatory framework for architectural education and training, and create a new system that will enable different routes to registration to emerge – particularly those which might help improve access to, and therefore diversity in, the profession.

“Later this year we’re going to launch a public engagement exercise to help steer our review of education and training. We’re going to want to hear from architects, students, academics, and anyone interested. We’re only going to improve diversity in the profession if we can improve access to it.”

Dr Teri Okoro, Architect and Member of the Architects Registration Board, said: “We have a long way to go before the architecture profession can be considered representative. I’m encouraging all architects to check they have shared information with us about their own characteristics. If the Board is to make targeted, impactful interventions that will genuinely assist to change the makeup of the profession, we need comprehensive data about the current profile of the profession.”

Architects can check whether they have completed their EDI data online here.



Notes for Editors

  • The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. By law, an individual must be registered with ARB if they are to use the title ‘architect’ in the UK. There are currently some 42,000 registered architects
  • Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
    • Maintain the Architects Register
    • Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
    • Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
    • Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
    • Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
    • Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects
  • ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one lay, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.
  • The EDI data in the Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020 reflects the Register before ARB updated it for 2021 to account for removals, after the retention fee period closed on 12 January 2021. Of the 43,415 architects on the Register before removals, 13,806 have not supplied this data. The percentage calculations are based on the 29,609 who did supply the data. The data in the report necessarily covers the year 2020, and ARB publishes regular updates online at
  • Further information about our new Architects Engagement Group can be found here. This gives architects the opportunity to shape our work and the future of architecture.


ARB’s Annual Report and Financial Statements 2020

The Register:

  • In January 2021 there were 42,340 architects on the Register.
  • In 2020 there were 1,832 new admissions to the Register (a lower figure than in 2019, when there were 2,368 new admissions).
  • ARB removed 1,643 architects from the Register for administrative, as opposed to disciplinary, reasons. This a lower number than in 2019, when there were 2,022 removals.
  • ARB now holds equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data for 68% of architects, an increase on 62% in 2019. 2,600 additional architects provided this data in 2020.


  • ARB received 154 formal complaints (down from 224 in 2019). Of these, 48 were referred for formal investigation (compared to 83 in 2019).
  • Four architects were suspended from the Register and seven architects were erased (permanently removed).
  • ARB received 500 complaints concerning the misuse of the title ‘architect’ (a decrease from 741 in 2019). Of these, 485 were resolved without the need for formal action. There was one prosecution (compared to eight in 2019).


  • ARB approved 25 architecture qualifications for prescription in 2020, of which 11 were new qualifications.
  • ARB monitored 124 qualifications as part of its annual process (double the figure monitored in 2019, which was 62).

Working with architects to maintain professional standards:

  • 4,405 architects responded to ARB’s survey on competence.
  • 1,761 architects responded to ARB’s survey on professional indemnity insurance (PII) leading to updated PII guidance for architects.
  • ARB issued five advisory notes on the standards within the Architects Code of Conduct and Practice.

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