The Architect Registration Board (ARB) has decided to revoke the prescription of two qualifications which are provided by Hull College and validated by The Open University. The qualifications are the BA (Hons) Architecture at Part 1 and the Master of Architecture MArch at Part 2. The revocation will take effect on the 31 October 2019. Both qualifications were initially prescribed in 2016 with a renewal date in January 2020.
As regulator of the profession, we prescribe the UK qualifications and training necessary to join the Architects Register and become an architect in the UK. It is a key part of our role to ensure the qualifications we prescribe meet the standards appropriate to practise as an architect in the UK. This means not only at the time of an institution’s original application but also on a continuing basis.
Institutions are required to provide an annual monitoring submission each year to ensure that conditions for prescription are being fulfilled. We require assurance that an institution’s systems and resources are adequate to ensure every student obtaining the relevant qualification meets our criteria. It is incumbent on institutions to maintain appropriate records in order to provide this evidence.
The decision to revoke prescription was made on the basis that the institution did not comply with annual monitoring requirements and that we no longer had confidence that the institution had adequate resources to deliver the qualifications in a way which ensured all our criteria would be met.
The decision for the revocation to take effect from 31 October 2019 was made on the basis that while the students who will graduate in October were exceptionally able to achieve the required standards, evidence gathered as part of our review processes did not provide assurance that the institution’s systems and resources would be sufficient to enable future students to meet the required standards.
Staff from Hull College cooperated fully with the process, and representations concerning improvements underway were carefully considered. It was also noted that the 2019 graduating cohort were individually of a high standard with no pass at less than an upper second.
We understand there are 11 students currently undertaking the qualifications who will not have graduated before revocation. We have offered to provide our support and advice on the options available to this group.
Emma Matthews, ARB’s Head of Qualifications and Governance said: “Such decisions are undertaken after careful consideration of the issues and are not made lightly. Revocations are rare, however we take our duty to ensure standards are maintained very seriously and are willing to make such decisions when necessary to ensure trust is maintained in the profession.”
Notes for Editors
• ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.
• The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
- Maintain the Architects Register
- Prescribe the UK qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
- Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
- Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
- Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
- Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects
• ARB has a statutory obligation to set the standards for entry to the profession, which includes prescribing the UK qualifications required to join the Architects Register. RIBA validates courses for the purposes of membership to their organisation.
• The list of ARB prescribed qualifications is available on our website here.
• ARB’s Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications can be found on our website here. Sections 5 and 9 are particularly relevant to the process of revoking prescription.
• The prescription expiry dates for the qualifications in question will be amended on our website shortly. Prescription applications are typically handled on a confidential basis. We are mindful of balancing confidentiality with transparency in the public interest. We are currently considering what further information may be appropriate for us to publish and will update our website accordingly.
For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead on 020 7580 5861 or by email at KateH@arb.org.uk.