Anyone using the title ‘architect’ in the course of their business or practice must be registered with ARB and listed on the Register of Architects. The Register, which was created by law to provide public information on those people who are qualified to use the title ‘architect’, has always been limited to displaying an individual’s name, address and registration number. This in turn has provided some assurance to the public that those on the Register have appropriate qualifications, experience and competence.
Each year a small number of architects fall well 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
Decisions of the PCC are public, but until now there has been no legal power for that information to be displayed on the Register. This means that a member of the public has been unable to find out whether an architect is subject to an existing disciplinary order by viewing the Register. This falls below modern regulatory standards and is not transparent, meaning that the Register is a less useful public resource than it could be.
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 Building Safety Act is a requirement for ARB to publish PCC disciplinary orders on the Register.
We are now consulting on the length of time for which those orders should be published. While a disciplinary order will always be in the public domain, we believe that it should only be listed on the Register for as long as it is necessary for public protection. We are proposing 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
This consultation will run until 5 July 2022, and we welcome all feedback on the periods of time for which disciplinary orders should be published.