Consultation on proposed tariffs for publication of disciplinary orders
ARB’s role and the Register of Architects
The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is an independent professional regulator, established by Parliament as a statutory body, through the Architects Act, in 1997. We are accountable to government.
The law gives us a number of core functions:
- To ensure only those who are suitably competent are allowed to practise as architects. We do this by approving the qualifications required to join the UK Register of Architects.
- We maintain a publicly available Register of Architects so anyone using the services of an architect can be confident that they are suitably qualified and are fit to practise.
- We set the standards of conduct and practice the profession must meet and take action when any architect falls below the required standards of conduct or competence.
- We protect the legally restricted title ‘architect’.
The Register of Architects displays the name and address of every architect registered with ARB. By law someone must be registered to use the title ‘architect’ in the course of business or practice. The purpose of the Register is to be an accurate source of information for anyone seeking the services of an appropriately qualified and experienced architect.
A small number of architects fall below the standards of conduct and competence required of them, and so are made subject to a disciplinary order by ARB’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). The disciplinary orders available to the PCC are:
- A Reprimand
- A Penalty Order (fine) – maximum £2,500
- A Suspension Order – maximum two years
- An Erasure Order
Changes in the Building Safety Act
While decisions of the PCC are public, there has been no legal power for that information to be displayed on the Register. This means that when a member of the public searches the Register, they have not been able to easily find out whether the architect has any disciplinary order. This falls below modern regulatory standards, as it is not transparent and means the Register is a less useful resource for members of the public.
The Building Safety Act 2022 was passed in May 2022 to improve the safety of people in or about buildings and the standard of buildings. One of the powers contained within the Act is a requirement for ARB to publish PCC disciplinary orders on the Register. ARB is now consulting on the length of time for which those orders should be published alongside an architect’s entry on the Register.
Period of Publication: ARB’s proposals
ARB has always published disciplinary orders on behalf of the PCC, although not on the online Register. Historically the view of the PCC has been that while it is important that members of the pubic have access to relevant information about architects, it would be unfair on the architect concerned if a disciplinary sanction was published permanently.
Because of this, findings and sanctions resulting from PCC hearings have been subject to a publications ‘tariff’, depending on seriousness. The more serious the sanction, the longer it will remain published. While information about PCC decisions will always remain in the public domain, it is fair that the architects involved do not have their name attached to a disciplinary finding longer than is necessary for the protection of the public.
We intend to follow this approach on the Register. Our proposals are that disciplinary orders are published on the Register for the following periods:
- Where a Reprimand has been imposed, the disciplinary order will be published for one year from the date of the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee
- Where a Penalty Order has been imposed, the disciplinary order will be published for two years from the date of decision of the Professional Conduct Committee
- Where a Suspension Order has been imposed, the disciplinary order will be published for two years following the end of the period of suspension
- Where an Erasure Order has been imposed and the registered person is reinstated to the Register, the disciplinary order will be published until five years has passed from the date of the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee
We want your views
We are now asking for your views on the proposed tariff periods before the changes to the Register come into force. We want to ensure we are taking an appropriate and proportionate approach to publication of disciplinary orders.
If you would like to take part in the consultation please click the link below.