Sunand Prasad, RIBA President 2007-09

When setting up the Architects Registration Board in 1997 the intention of Parliament was that it would be a registration body with a light touch as regards regulation – in the words of the Minister “a genuinely minimalist body that we expect to remain minimalist”. Unfortunately, the way the act was drafted left scope for an expansion of ARB’s remit beyond what either the RIBA or it seems Parliament had anticipated. ARB’s leadership has naturally made the most of its remit thereby duplicating functions, especially in education, which the RIBA has long fulfilled. Additionally, some measures arising from a crude reading of how architects practice have fallen heavily on a number of sole practitioners and small practices. To establish a good and stable working relationship with ARB, its remit needs to be restored to just registration with a limited touch approach to regulation where necessary and it must be enabled to delegate functions rather than duplicate them. I support, and am contributing to, the RIBA’s efforts to work steadily with government to achieve such reform while maintaining a constructive dialogue with ARB.