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Background

In July 2017 the Board agreed to undertake cyclical reviews of its Criteria for the Prescription of Qualifications and its Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications. Further information on the background to these reviews and the Board’s objectives can be found here.

Throughout September and early October 2017 as part of a pre-consultation exercise, we gathered information and feedback from a range of stakeholders to inform these reviews from every corner of the United Kingdom. We held five round-table events in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Nottingham and London respectively to hear stakeholders’ views first hand we also received over 100 responses to our online pre-consultation survey. At its July meeting, the Board agreed that two Task & Finish Groups should be appointed, one each for the Criteria and Procedures reviews respectively, to lead on these reviews. After an open recruitment process in September 2017 we appointed the following Task & Finish Group members in addition to an independent Chair who has been working with both groups to ensure consistency of approach and that the Board’s objectives are delivered.

Task and Finish Group Recommendations

All of the feedback received to date was compiled and analysed by each group. The recommendations of the Criteria Task and Finish Group, made after considering the results of the consultation on the current Criteria and Procedures, were presented to the Board at its meeting on 23 November 2017. The papers presented the Board can be found here.

The Board noted and agreed the following:

Criteria Review

To note the feedback gathered through the pre-consultation exercise.  To discuss the outcomes of the feedback and the Criteria Task and Finish Group’s suggestions and recommendations in relation to the next steps of the review.  To agree the strategic direction that the next steps of the review should take.

  1. The Board noted the summary of the pre-consultation feedback relating to the Criteria Review and noted the positions of the Quality Assurance Agency and the RIBA;
  2. The Board agreed that the Criteria Task and Finish Group’s recommendations should form the basis of the next steps of the review, i.e., the Criteria Task and Finish Group should review these areas of the Criteria [refer to point 5iii of the paper for the recommendations]; and
  3. The Board agreed that ARB’s Criteria Task and Finish Group should continue its work, whilst ARB holds discussions with the RIBA to determine whether alignment between the Board’s objectives and the Task and Finish Group’s recommendations with the RIBA’s aspirations can be achieved [Option 1 within the paper].

We have progressed our Criteria review on this basis.

Procedures Review

  1. The Board noted the summary of the pre-consultation feedback relating to the Procedures Review;
  2. The Board noted the Procedures Task and Finish Group’s recommendations at key point iii) and agreed that these, along with the Staff’s suggestions in key point iv), should form the basis of the next steps of the review.

We have progressed our Procedures review on this basis.

Progress Updates:

August 2019

The Board discussed the business as usual reviews of the Criteria and Procedures at one of its July 2019 meetings. The Board held a comprehensive discussion about progress to date and possible next steps, before deciding unanimously to stop the current Criteria review. The valuable learnings gathered as part of the review will of course be kept and used to inform future analyses of our Criteria.

The Board acknowledged that the routine reviews in 2017 were intended to identify enhancements that might be made to the established framework and that the regulatory landscape has changed significantly since the business as usual review began. A number of issues such as the implications of Brexit, the Hackitt Review and climate change concerns have evolved resulting in the Board reviewing where ARB’s resources are best targeted.

The Board agreed, instead, to move towards a deeper analysis of the skills required by modern architects beginning with a piece of work in 2019 looking at how the how best to accommodate within the Criteria both the recommendations resulting from the Hackitt Review and climate change.

The Board was also concerned that, given their aspiration to commence a wider routes to registration review in the near future, there would be multiple versions of the Criteria in quick succession which could create confusion for UK stakeholders as well as those seeking to establish future mutual recognition agreements with the UK in Europe and across the rest of the world.

The Board will be considering what additional preparatory work can be done in 2020 ahead of the commencement of its review of the UK routes to registration so that once we have clarity on the UK’s exit from the EU, we will be in a position to start work in this area swiftly.

The Board also agreed to stop the business as usual review of our Procedures and, instead, take forward operational changes this Autumn/Winter in response to the changes made to the Board constitution and an internal governance review (which has been taking place since April). A broader review of our prescription process will be scoped during the remainder of 2019, with the intention of undertaking an in-depth review of our approach to prescribing qualifications in 2020.

We have informed the RIBA of the Board’s decision to cease the Criteria review and will be discussing collaborative next steps in relation to targeted work on life/fire safety and climate change, along with any preparatory work the Board decides upon to support its routes to registration review.

December 2018

At its meeting on 29 November 2018, the ARB Board was informed that the Joint ARB/RIBA Criteria Working Group were close to finalising a set of draft Criteria which each organisation agreed would meet their respective objectives. The draft was subsequently agreed by the Working Group members.

In line with a commitment made by ARB, the draft Criteria were circulated to key stakeholders for initial, high level views and feedback, on the basis that a further full three month consultation would then be held once both respective bodies, i.e., the ARB Board and the relevant RIBA committee/board, had formally considered a final draft of the Criteria.

Initial views and feedback were collected from key stakeholders and shared with the RIBA. A meeting of the joint ARB/RIBA Working Group took place in mid-December 2018 to begin reviewing the initial, high level feedback which had been received. Following discussion at the Working Group, it was agreed that each organisation should separately go through the feedback in detail and reconvene in early 2019, bringing back key issues arising from the feedback and suggestions for further discussion, and so that the next steps of the review could be agreed.

As a consequence, formal consideration of the draft Criteria by ARB and the RIBA, and the subsequent formal consultation, are now likely to take place in early 2019.

There have also been delays to the drafting of the revised Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications. A draft has not yet been circulated to key stakeholders for initial, high level feedback and we will therefore do this in early 2019 once we are content with the draft document. We will then take any initial feedback we receive into account before moving the revised draft Procedures forward to the ARB Board for consideration and subsequent formal consultation.

September 2018

At an informal meeting between the Board and the Criteria Task and Finish Group in late July 2018, the Board members present raised several queries about some aspects of the draft Criteria and asked the Task and Finish Group to undertake some further work.

At its meeting on 11 September 2018, the Board discussed a revised draft of the Criteria and agreed that ARB should now re-engage with the RIBA to develop the Criteria further.  Both organisations continue to share the aim of holding the Criteria in common.

The Board also noted that work had continued on revising the Procedures over the summer period.  The staff team are awaiting further clarification regarding the structure and content of the revised Criteria before finalising a draft of the revised Procedures.  Once a draft has been finalised the Procedures Task and Finish Group and the Criteria Task and Finish Group will be brought together to discuss whether the relevant elements of the Procedures will continue to be operable in line with the Board’s objectives for this business as usual review.

May 2018

At its meeting on 11 May 2018, the Board considered a paper on the Criteria review to date.  In summary, the Joint Working Group’s first meeting took place in February 2018 and opinions on the structure and content of the revised Criteria were discussed. At the meeting it was agreed that both parties would continue to work on proposals and the RIBA subsequently provided suggestions for Criteria at Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 which were passed to the ARB Task and Finish Group for review.

After careful review the Task and Finish Group felt that the RIBA’s proposals would not fulfill the review’s objectives, but upon reflection felt that its own original proposals could also be improved upon. The Group therefore proposed alternative approaches to the structure and content of the Criteria be explored. RIBA expressed disappointment in the Group’s initial feedback and indicated they would re-engage with the Criteria review once there was a set of draft Criteria at Parts 1, 2, and 3 for them to consider.

At the Board meeting in May, the Board:

  1. Noted the position regarding the progress of the Criteria Review;
  2. Noted the position of the RIBA;
  3. Agreed that the ARB Criteria Task and Finish Group should continue to develop Criteria that would satisfy ARB’s objectives (as agreed in July 2017). The Board advised that the Task and Finish Group should focus on developing Criteria at Part 1 and 2 levels using the 11 points and other relevant amplifications in order to differentiate between each level. As part of this, the Board requested that the Group should review whether programme level qualification descriptors, for example, were an appropriate way of differentiating between the Criteria at Part 1 and Part 2 level;
  4. Agreed that the Group should continue its review of the Part 3 level Criteria;
  5. Agreed that the Task and Finish Group should provide an initial draft of the revised Criteria to the Board; and
  6. Agreed that once the Board had considered the Criteria, ARB would re-engage with the RIBA.

February 2018

At its meeting on 14 February 2018, the Board noted that our Criteria and Procedures Task and Finish Groups had started work on redrafting both the Criteria and the Procedures documents.  Following the Board’s decision that we should hold further discussions with the RIBA, we formed a Joint Criteria Working Group which met for the first time on 26 February 2018. The Joint Working Group released the following statement:

‘ARB and RIBA have commenced a set of meetings with the aim of developing a set of draft revised criteria that will meet each organisation’s respective objectives and that can be shared with other stakeholders for initial feedback before going out to formal public consultation. Both organisations are committed to striving to continue to hold a single set of criteria in common if possible.  We will be exploring the strengthening of professionalism, ethics and social responsibility in the new criteria.’

We are aiming to provide the Board with revised drafts of the Criteria and the Procedures in early 2019 for its consideration. We will continue to engage with our stakeholders throughout the process of developing both the Criteria and Procedures over the coming weeks.

We will be providing further updates on the progress of the Criteria and Procedures Reviews on this page. The next update will be added after the Board’s next meeting in 2019.

If you would like any further information at this stage please contact Emma Matthews, Head of Qualifications and Governance, on emmam@arb.org.uk or 020 7580 5861

Members of the Criteria Task and Finish Group

Stan Lester – Chair, Independent Consultant
Bill Hodgson – Proprietor, Hodgson Gabb Studio and Part-time Teaching Fellow, Barlett School of the Built Environment UCL
Carol Norton – Director, Norton Ellis
Damien Day – Head of Education, General Pharmaceutical Council
Janet Bohrer – Director of the Academic Quality Development Office, London South Bank University
Stephen Brookhouse – Interim Dean of Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Westminster

A short biography for each Task and Finish group member can be found here.

Members of the Procedures Task and Finish Group

Stan Lester – Chair, Independent Consultant
Ian Jeal – Global Director of Education and Qualification Standards, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
Richard Harrison – Head of Learning and Teaching Development, Newcastle University
Tony Clelford – Practitioner and Part 3 Course Leader, University of Greenwich

A short biography for each Task and Finish group member can be found here.

Criteria Review: Activities and Timescales

August 2017 – October 2017

Pre-consultation exercise

Undertake a wide ranging pre-consultation exercise and gather information from ARB’s stakeholders, including holding initial discussions with Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)/Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).

August 2017 – October 2017

ARB Task and Finish Group

Appoint and establish an ARB Task and Finish Group to undertake the review

October 2017 – November 2017

Analysis and review

ARB’s Task and Finish Group to undertake an initial analysis and review of information gathered from pre-consultation exercise and evidence gathering stage

23 November 2017

ARB Board Meeting

The Board to review the pre-consultation feedback and to take strategic decisions regarding the direction of travel of the review

November 2017 – early 2019

Revisions to the Criteria

ARB’s Task and Finish Group to develop revisions to the Criteria Engagement with RIBA and QAA including the establishment of a Joint ARB RIBA Criteria Working Group

August 2019

Revisions to the Criteria

ARB Board ceases review of the Criteria

Procedures Review: Activities and Timescales

August 2017 – October 2017

Pre-consultation exercise

Undertake a wide ranging pre-consultation exercise and gather information from ARB’s stakeholders

August 2017 – October 2017

ARB Task and Finish Group

Appoint and establish an ARB Task and Finish Group to undertake the review

October 2017 - November 2017

Analysis and review

ARB’s Task and Finish Group to undertake an initial analysis and review of information gathered from pre-consultation exercise and evidence gathering stage

23 November 2017

ARB Board meeting

The Board to review the pre-consultation feedback and to take strategic decisions regarding the direction of travel of the review

November 2017 – early 2019

Revisions to the Procedures

ARB’s Task and Finish Group to develop revisions to the procedures

August 2019

Revisions to the Procedures

ARB Board ceases review of the procedures

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