As ever, I trust we find you well and that you are finding success in your practice, and perhaps also time for a summer break.
It has been a busy two months since I spoke to you in the most recent edition of ARB Insight, our 2022 Annual Report was laid in Parliament on 13 July, and it attests to the significant progress we are making towards meeting the goals we set for ARB in our Corporate Strategy.
As you likely know, our ambitions to modernise the regulation of architects target several areas, including continuing professional development (CPD), initial education and training, and forging stronger reciprocal ties with international counterparts, facilitating new routes to registration. We are also focused on modernising ARB itself, updating our technology and transforming both the way we communicate with Registrants and the way they manage their relationship with us.
In early June, we published a consultation report that details our steady progress towards implementing the ARB CPD scheme that will become mandatory for all architects. We have designed the scheme to be flexible and inclusive, helping architects develop throughout their careers and promote a safe and sustainable built environment. Basing the scheme on activities means architects can choose the method of learning that suits them best, and need not spend money on courses and events unless they want to. In the proposed scheme safety and sustainability will initially be mandatory topics, but architects will be free to engage with them in the way that is most relevant to their practice.
The Board’s decisions are based on our responsibilities under the law, good practice that we’ve witnessed in other regulators, and the record number of responses we received to our survey – 1,350 – giving detailed feedback about our proposals. You can read more about our proposals and the feedback we have received here. A pilot is currently under way and the findings from it will be incorporated into the final guidance on the scheme that ARB will produce by the end of 2023.
I am also pleased to share that we are changing the way we manage accreditation for universities seeking to offer courses in architecture, and the monitoring of existing programmes of education. Enabled by changes in legislation, we are setting up an independent Accreditation Committee to make decisions on accreditation, replacing the old Prescription Committee, which has had advisory powers only. There is an important governance reason for this: the role of a Board is to determine policy and strategy, not to decide on individual cases. Disciplinary cases, for example, are determined by independent panels, without reference to the Board. The same principle will in future apply to accreditation decisions. We have completed a recruitment campaign designed to create a diverse new committee that seeks to draw upon a range of professionals and experience. We’ll soon be able to announce the makeup of the new Committee.
This work is entirely separate from Tomorrow’s Architects, our proposed programme of reform for the initial education and training of architects. The Board will consider the consultation responses this autumn and announce next steps on our reforms soon after.
I look forward to sharing further updates on all that, and on all our work, in the next edition of ARB Insight. For now, I will again encourage you to visit our 2022 Year in Review webpage and see for yourself the considerable progress we are making in pursuit of our key strategic aims. As we work towards those aims the ARB team remains clearly focused on our overall goal: to help architecture and architects be as good as they can be.
Chair, Architects Registration Board