The statutory duties of the Architects Registration Board are to regulate to protect the users and potential users of architects’ services, by setting and upholding professional standards and sustaining public trust in architects.
To do this it is essential we build collaborative and positive relationships with all our partners and stakeholders as it is only by understanding the views, pressures and aspirations of those with a stake in the work we do that we can gauge our impact and effectively shape our activities. Toward the end of 2018 we completed the tendering process for project work that will bring us closer to those important to us. This project work will hit its stride in 2019, and will inform the future strategy that the organisation will be developing.
This project work will hit its stride in 2019, and will inform the future strategy that the organisation will be developing.
Regulatory best practice involves reviewing the effectiveness of activities in delivering desired outcomes. In 2018, we undertook a number of ‘business as usual’ reviews to ensure our activities remained fit for purpose, including a pre-consultation exercise to begin the process of refining our Prescribed Examination procedures as well as completing a review, consultation and rule changes in relation to ARB’s disciplinary procedures.
In addition to our core work, we tackled the unanticipated demands of preparing for EU Exit; Mutual Recognition Agreements; the recommendations arising from the Hackitt Review and a constitutional change to our Board. All these areas will remain on our agenda and define our activities during 2019.
In addition to our core work, we tackled the unanticipated demands of preparing for EU Exit; Mutual Recognition Agreements; the recommendations arising from the Hackitt Review and a constitutional change to our Board.
Considerable resource continues to be dedicated to understanding and planning for the potential implications of EU Exit on the regulation of the profession. As part of a Government review of international relationships, we were also encouraged to hold exploratory discussions with counterpart organisations in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
Despite these challenges which emerged during the year, the key components of the business plan and day-to-day working were achieved without detriment to service standards or professionalism.
The key components of the business plan and day-to-day working were achieved without detriment to service standards or professionalism.
As I write my first introductory statement for the year just completed, I want to record my thanks to colleagues that served on the outgoing Board and also to the staff team without whom the accomplishments of the past year could not have been successfully delivered.
Alison J White
Registrar and Chief Executive
Two overarching objectives underpin our work, protecting the public and supporting architects through regulation. Each item on our Business Plan contributes to these objectives and I’m pleased to report we delivered all of our Business Plan items in 2018, seven with partial success and 24 were fully achieved.
Good regulation includes a smooth user experience and some of our energies last year were focussed on improving ‘front end’ IT systems. We enhanced our Registrant Services, developed a passlist portal for schools and embedded a new email management system. This system allowed us to halve our response target to five working days and respond to 98% of queries within this new target.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), brought forward its plans to change the constitution of our Board and we were asked to support their recruitment process throughout the Autumn of 2018. We also prepared for any gap that might arise between the change in legislation and the appointment of our new Board members and continued to operate effectively during the appointment process and beyond.
This system allowed us to halve our response target to five working days and respond to 98% of queries within this new target.
We recognise how important it is for those registering now and in the future to have access to reliable advice and assistance. Since the EU referendum our goal has been to provide clear, definitive and practical information about Brexit that our stakeholders can rely on. Across 2018 we provided three presentations, hosted or attended numerous meetings with a range of partners and provided FAQs and updates via our eBulletin, website and direct communications. We will continue to share on how the regulation of architects may change as we learn more.
As part of a call to review the entire lifecycle of buildings, Dame Judith Hackitt’s Review prompted a fresh examination of the competency of architects in relation to high risk residential buildings at the point of registration and throughout their time in practice. In 2018 we became Chair of an Industry Response Group working group, tasked with creating a competency framework for building designers working on Higher-Risk Residential Buildings.
In 2018 we became Chair of an Industry Response Group working group, tasked with creating a competency framework for building designers working on Higher-Risk Residential Buildings.
Looking forward to 2019, we will be taking a closer look at how best to cover fire/life safety competencies within our Criteria – the knowledge and abilities that individuals must meet in order to join the Architects Register to become an architect in the UK. We are committed to seeking continuous improvement and, having worked to enhance our front end system in 2018, we will be turning our attention to backend system efficiencies to further streamline the regulatory experience for those who engage with us.
I lead a small but engaged and dedicated team of colleagues who share my vision that what we do at ARB should be done to the highest standard. 2018 was a challenging year, but one that my colleagues embraced with enthusiasm and passion. I am very grateful for their outstanding contributions.
Working alongside our core team are numerous experts appointed to support our various functions including our disciplinary processes, prescription of qualifications, our role as competent authority and various targeted review groups. I would like to thank all these individuals for their valuable help in delivering our wide ranging activities.