Consultation on PII
Professional Indemnity Insurance – to cease annual monitoring of compliance
The Architects Registration Board has agreed to hold a consultation exercise following its decision to cease annual monitoring of professional indemnity insurance through the Statement of Compliance.
Before formalising this proposal, it is important that we have as wide a range of views as possible. Your input will assist the Board in deciding whether to cease this annual monitoring exercise.
Since 2002, Standard 8 of the Architects Code of Conduct and Practice has expected architects to hold adequate and appropriate insurance cover, and to provide evidence of compliance with that Standard in whatever form the Board may require. ARB considers that professional indemnity insurance (PII) is important protection for both architects and consumers in the event of a problem that may lead to civil action.
In 2003, the Board introduced a monitoring regime which consisted of a self-declaration form – the Statement of Compliance – where an individual architect could confirm their insurance arrangements. All architects were expected to return the Statement, and those who did not respond became subject to further investigations, possibly leading to disciplinary action.
Initially, the monitoring regime illustrated a problem with professional indemnity insurance cover among those on the Register, and in 2005, a number architects were found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct by the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). However, of all the guilty findings arising from the monitoring exercise over the last five years, only a small proportion were found guilty of having inadequate PII; the majority were convicted for failing or refusing to provide evidence of their cover when requested.
The number of architects returning the Statement of Compliance has increased to a point where the number of those failing to return is negligible. In 2009, just 10 cases from a Register of some 33,000 architects warranted further investigation, and only two were found guilty by the PCC – both for failing to reply to ARB’s correspondence.
In light of these statistics, the Board now considers the expense and administrative burden to the profession is disproportionate to the benefits, and proposes to cease the Statement of Compliance monitoring regime.
It intends to continue asking for evidence of insurance from architects who are the subject of a complaint, and seek assurances from those entering or reentering the Register as to their arrangements. PII monitoring on receipt of a complaint has highlighted insufficient insurance in 6.5% of these cases in recent years, hence the Board’s intention to continue with this arrangement. The Board will also continue to remind architects through periodic correspondence of the importance of maintaining appropriate cover.
Finally, the Board will revisit the issue of PII in three years’ time to establish whether the changes in policy have had an effect on architects’ insurance arrangements.
We would appreciate any views or comments you might have on the proposed changes. Please let us have these by no later than 5pm on Friday 3 September 2010. If you have any queries about any aspect of this consultation exercise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us on 020 7580 5861. We will publish a summary of all responses on our website once the Board has reached its decision.
Responses can be sent to us by email, fax or post, and should be addressed to:
Professional Standards Manager
8 Weymouth Street
London W1W 5BU
t. 020 7580 5861
f. 020 7436 5269