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This document sets out the principles that ARB follows when conducting consultation exercises. Consulting with our stakeholders provides an opportunity for them to participate in formulating policies to help us discharge our statutory duties under the Architects Act 1997.

Introduction

The Architects Registration Board – ARB – was established by Parliament in 1997 to regulate the architects’ profession in the UK. We are an independent public interest body, and our work in regulating architects ensures that good standards within the profession are consistently maintained for the benefit of the public and architects alike.

As a statutory regulator, ARB’s duties and responsibilities and the way in which we deliver them may potentially impact upon a range of stakeholders, including architects, members of the public, schools and institutions of architecture and their students. It is therefore essential for us to engage with our stakeholders and seek their views when we have important or significant decisions to make.

ARB is committed to a culture of openness and transparency. We value the knowledge and expertise of our stakeholders, and their input into the decision-making process through consultation ensures that not only do we abide by the two principles of openness and transparency, but that any decisions we subsequently take are informed by a wide range of people who all bring different experiences to the process. In this way, we can be confident that our policies are robust, and that they meet the needs of those who are affected by them.

HM Government: Principles for Consultation

The Government has developed guidance setting out four principles for conducting consultation. ARB has noted these, and has adapted them so that they are proportionate and relevant to us as an organisation and to our human and financial resources.

ARB believes that the Government’s guidance forms the basis of good practice for conducting consultation exercises, and we will abide by the criteria we have developed from this.

ARB’s Consultation Commitment

1. When to consult

We will undertake consultation exercises whenever we are planning changes to our rules or policies. This input will help to inform the development of those rules or policies, allowing our stakeholders to contribute to the debate and scrutinise our proposals.

2. Timing of consultation

Our consultation exercises will be timed to ensure that we can harness the views and comments of our stakeholders in sufficient time to feed these back to the Board when developing or finalising the policy. Often this will take the form of a pre-consultation to find out what needs to change before we start the review.

3. Duration of consultation exercises

As a general rule, our consultations will run for a period of three months to allow people enough time to consider their response. Occasionally, and depending on the subject of the consultation, we will vary the timescale – sometimes longer, sometimes shorter – but we will always make this clear in the consultation documents.

4. Scope of the proposals

Along with the consultation proposals, we will explain clearly what the consultation is about and why we are consulting, so that respondents have an understanding of the issues we are seeking their views on. We will also give a deadline for responses, and details of who to contact should any queries be raised.

5. Clarity and accessibility of consultation

We will try to avoid using jargon and technical terms in our consultations, but where this is not possible, we will make sure that we give an explanation of what the terms mean. We want our consultations to be as inclusive as possible while at the same time making sure that we target those who might have a specific interest in the subject of the consultation. We have put together a diverse and wide-ranging list of organisations to ensure that the consultation reaches the most appropriate audience and we review this list regularly, to make sure that it is representative and to avoid any element of “consultation fatigue” on the part of our consultees. Our consultation process is an open one. Not only will we target specific organisations or groups, we also issue a general invitation to participate by publishing the documents on our website.

For reasons of economy and the environment, all our consultations will be issued electronically although we can provide the documents in a different format on request and we will make sure that this is clearly stated on the form. Respondents can either complete the response forms online, or they can download a Word or pdf version of the consultation response form. Responses can be sent by email, post or fax, and should be addressed to the person whose name is on the consultation document.

6. Our responses to the consultation

We will give very careful consideration to the views and comments that are submitted by respondents. It is important for us to keep an open mind when analysing the responses as they may include proposals for a new or different approach that we hadn’t considered.We will aim to publish the consultation responses on our website within twelve weeks of the consultation closing, along with a short summary or explanation of how we actioned them.

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