At a hearing of the Architects Registration Board’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) on 12 June 2018, Mr Anthony Browne of Chelsea Consultants, London was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and suspended from the Register of Architects for two years.
The PCC heard that Mr Browne traded through M&B Architects Limited, which was wound up on a petition of HMRC on 9 March 2015. A total of £241,583.70 was owed to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which Mr Browne failed to pay. In September 2016, Mr Browne was disqualified from acting as a company director. The winding up of M&B Architects and Mr Browne’s disqualification was brought to the attention of ARB by a member of the public in June 2017.
It was alleged that Mr Browne was disqualified from acting as company director as of September 2016, and failed to report that disqualification to ARB as expected under the Architects Code of Conduct.
Mr Browne attended the hearing and was legally represented. He admitted the allegations and accepted that they amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
The PCC found that the allegations amounted to unacceptable professional conduct.
In considering sanction, the PCC noted that Mr Browne had been fully co-operative with the Insolvency Service, HRMC, the Official Receiver and the Board and no lack of integrity was alleged. It also took into account that he had fully accepted blame and had demonstrated remorse and insight. However it considered that Mr Browne intentionally took a significant amount of public money which he utilised for his own benefit. It also noted that his conduct cannot be rectified as the amount will never be paid.
In those circumstances, the Committee imposed a two year suspension order from the Register of Architects.
Notes for Editors
ARB is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. The Act requires ARB (among other things) to:
- Maintain the Register of Architects (Section 3)
- Prescribe qualifications for entry to the Register of Architects (Section 4)
- Deal with competence to practise (Section 9)
- Issue a Code which lays down standards of professional conduct and practice (Section 13)
- Regulate use of the title “architect” and prosecute those who use it unlawfully (Section 20)
The PCC is established under Schedule 1, Part II of the Architects Act and is required to consider any report referred to it. The Committee determines whether an architect is guilty of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence. Where a guilty finding is made, the Committee will consider whether to make a disciplinary order, which means:
- a reprimand
- a penalty order
- a suspension order (to a maximum of 2 years); or
- an erasure order
Money raised by fines imposed by the Professional Conduct Committee is paid to HM Treasury.
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