The Architects Registration Board (ARB) has published a new five-year corporate strategy outlining a new bold and ambitious approach to regulation to deliver significant improvements in education and training, continuing professional development, and in how architects access ARB’s services.
The strategy recognises the importance of the architects profession in responding to significant challenges faced by society in relation to public health, safety and sustainability. Over the next five years, ARB will invest in and improve its core regulatory functions, focusing in particular on its responsibilities in architectural education and training. Earlier this month ARB announced plans to modernise the way that architects are educated, including reviewing the current Parts 1, 2 and 3 model. The review aims to enable institutions to respond more flexibly to external challenges such as the increasing importance of safety and sustainability, and to enable new routes to, and therefore diversity in, the profession.
Other key pillars in ARB’s strategy include the introduction of a scheme to address Continuing Professional Development following new powers in the Building Safety Bill, and the transformation of processes and online systems for architects, moving steadily towards a self-service model.
The strategy commits the organisation to building on recent improvements in engagement with the architects profession, to ensure all its work is informed and influenced by meaningful involvement of the profession and other key stakeholders.
Alan Kershaw, Chair of the Architects Registration Board, said:
“Architects play a central role in creating a built environment that is safe, sustainable and where everyone in society can live well. ARB must demonstrate leadership on key challenges facing the profession and society, engaging with the profession and listening better. We have set ambitious targets for the next five years and intend to deliver on them.
“It’s especially important that we play our part in supporting a new culture of safety across the whole of the built environment. The new CPD scheme we’re designing will be focussed on encouraging architects to reflect on their development needs and address them. Our strategy sets out how we will do this in an effective and proportionate way, without placing unnecessary burdens on the profession.
“The scale of the modernisation programme we’ve already launched for the initial education and training of architects reflects our ambition to make ARB a thoroughly effective regulator, responding to the needs of the public and the profession.”
Hugh Simpson, Chief Executive and Registrar of the Architects Registration Board, said:
“ARB’s new corporate strategy commits us to an ambitious programme of work over the next five years. We will deliver improvements in all our core services including registration and applications, we will overhaul our prescribed examination to make it more proportionate and reduce unnecessary barriers to entry for international architects, and we will review our Code of Conduct and Practice.”
The strategy sets out ambitious outcome goals for each of the strategic priorities. The costs of delivering the improvements necessary require an increase in the retention fee for 2022 to £149, an increase of £30. This fee level remains low compared to professional regulators across the UK. ARB recognises the impact this will have, particularly for newly qualified architects, and the Board has therefore agreed to freeze the £35 application fee which is significantly below the processing costs.
More information about ARB’s five-year strategy is available online at www.arb.org.uk/5yearstrategy
The full list of ARB’s fees is also available on its website, 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 43,500 registered architects
• Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Set the education and training requirements for architects, by recognising the qualifications necessary for joining the Register
– Ensure only appropriately qualified applicants from the UK and overseas join the Register
– Set and enforce the professional standards expected of UK architects
– Take action against those who call themselves an architect illegally.
• ARB’s strategy sets out how it will, over the next five years:
– Modernise initial education and training of architects. ARB’s review aims to improve diversity and access to the profession, consider how and when specialism is needed, and deliver effective and attractive pre-registration work experience. ARB’s proposals include the potential removal of the Parts 1, 2 and 3 in favour of a new outcomes-based approach that would focus on what a newly qualified architect should be able to do – not how they got there. ARB’s survey inviting views on its approach is online here.
– Deliver a new system of continuing professional development (CPD) for architects. To help maintain public confidence in the profession, and in response to the Building Safety Bill and wider reforms across the built environment sector, ARB will introduce a scheme to encourage architects to maintain and develop their competence to practise. ARB’s survey inviting views on the future scheme is currently open, online here.
– Transform ARB’s systems, processes and technology. ARB’s technology needs updating for a new operating model in which staff are required to work flexibly, and architects, higher education institutions and stakeholders need to be able to access services and engage with ARB remotely. ARB will modernise processes and online systems to make it easier for architects and institutions to share information and meet ARB’s regulatory requirements. Across all processes, ARB’s aim is to move towards a self-service model.
– Invest in people to build a positive and inclusive culture based on shared values and behaviours. The new corporate strategy sets out some bold ambitions; ARB will invest in its staff to ensure that colleagues at the regulator are well led and have the right skills to deliver the strategy’s commitments.
– Encompassing all of these is ARB’s desire to deliver continuous improvement in all its regulatory activities. For example, ARB is negotiating international agreements with Europe, the USA and New Zealand, amongst other countries. Once the Professional Qualifications Bill becomes an Act, ARB will sign these agreements so that architects can Register to work in other countries and employers can access the skills they need.
• To stay informed about opportunities to shape ARB’s work, including the change to join ARB’s free online workshop events, architects can join ARB’s Architects Engagement Group here.