Governance: Equality & Diversity
ARB is committed to operating in accordance with recognised principles of Equality and Diversity to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people when carrying out our activities.
We continue to collect Equality and Diversity (E&D) information from applicants to the Register as well those re-joining. Across the past year we have reviewed and revised the categories of E&D information collected across the departments and for recruitment purposes, and will continue to do so. We currently hold E&D data for 52% of the Register and have made it available to assist others (such as representative groups) in their policy information gathering. Some of the E&D data we hold about the make-up of the Register can be found in the Facts & Figures – Governance section of this Report.
We recognise the benefits to the profession and ARB as an organisation of drawing on a broader range of talent and believe following equality principles will result in better informed decision-making and policy outcomes. Amongst others, we are supported in our functions by an Investigations Pool and the Professional Conduct Committee. The Investigations Pool considers complaints about architects’ conduct and competence and whether there is a case to answer at a Professional Conduct Committee hearing. The Professional Conduct Committee considers allegations of unacceptable professional conduct and serious professional incompetence against architects. In 2017 bespoke training on E&D matters and the risks of unconscious bias in disciplinary proceedings in particular was provided to the Investigations Pool and Professional Conduct Committee members. ARB staff also undertook further training, ensuring that all have a base understanding of the Equality Act 2010 and E&D principles.
In preparation for a review of both documents, Equality Impact Assessments of our current Criteria for Prescription of Qualifications and the Procedures for Prescription were undertaken. These equality impact assessments will be repeated once any new Criteria and Procedures are developed as a result of the review. We also worked with a group of regulators to agree a framework against which E&D performance can be measured. The group was led by the General Medical Council and included the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Bar Standards Board, the General Osteopathic Council, the General Dental Council, the General Optical Council, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Police Complaints Commission. The framework, while generic across the organisations, will also include performance targets which are specific to each.