ARB’s regulatory role

ARB regulates architects in the UK for the benefit of the public. It also supports architects through the setting and maintenance of standards in the profession.

Regulatory policy in the UK seeks to establish a careful balance – protecting the public whilst not placing an undue burden on the profession. This is reflected in ARB’s statutory remit, which is set out in the Architects Act 1997. The Act assigns four key functions to ARB:

  • The maintenance of an accurate Register;
  • The setting of standards via the prescription (recognition) of qualifications that lead to registration;
  • The management of a professional conduct process including publishing a Code of Conduct;
  • And finally, the protection of the title ‘architect’.

Below we explain how the Act is put into practice.


ARB’s work – the building blocks

The Act provides ARB with its statutory remit

The Board has developed a Purpose and Objectives document which sets out its approach to ARB’s work and the organisation’s priorities. Additionally, the Board has developed six core values which underpin its approach, these are proportionality, evidence-based objectivity, open-mindedness, transparency, integrity and consistency.
Within this framework sit ARB’s priorities which cover what the Board will focus on and address during 2017-2020.
Each year the Board agrees a business plan identifying its objectives and measures of success in detail.
In the 2016 Annual Report we provide an account of the Board’s delivery of these objectives, providing both facts and figures as well as narrative information.

The Periodic Review

In March 2014 ARB’s sponsoring government department, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), commenced a Periodic Review of the ARB. This undertaking formed part of a wider government commitment to reviewing public bodies to ensure they are fit for purpose, well governed and properly accountable.

In November 2014 DCLG completed phase one of the Review and concluded there remained a case for continued light-touch regulation of the profession, based on protection of title. Phase two of the Review commenced thereafter, investigating the form and function of the regulator’s role. It continued throughout 2015 and 2016 and the Board positively engaged with the process during this time. Consequently, you will also see mentions of this in the delivery section of this report where we set out the work we have undertaken to achieve our objectives.

In March 2017, DCLG announced the publication of the final report following the conclusion of the Periodic Review. The report draws on the evidence collected and makes recommendations for change including strengthening the Board’s governance and accountability and improving the complaints’ handling and disciplinary processes. You can find this document here.

In April 2017 DCLG presented its findings to the Board, which included proposals to change the Board’s governance structure as well as amendments to the professional conduct process. At the 12 May 2017 Board meeting the implementation phase, including the timescale for the move to an all-appointed Board was discussed. This is anticipated to take place in spring 2018.