Performance Report

Report on Delivery of the 2017 Business Plan

The assessment uses the traffic light system to record whether ARB has delivered.

green boxARB has delivered the area of work in full

orange box ARB delivered the majority of the item, or with partial success

red box ARB did not deliver the plan item, or delivered it at an unacceptable level

Typically the management team monitors performance against the business plan at the mid-year and year-end points. This report covers the period from 1 January to 31 December 2017.

 

Section A – Maintaining the Quality of and Access to the Register

Under the Architects Act 1997, ARB maintains the UK Register of architects. The Register identifies those who are entitled to use the title “architect” in business and practice as they have met the requirements for qualifications and competence. The Register is the tool through which potential users of architects’ services can find an architect and check that an architect is registered. It is also important to architects that they are identified as qualified professionals. The Register must therefore be accurate and accessible. The work which underpins the maintenance of the Register is wide ranging.  Digital by default.

 

Improve the accuracy of the Register green box

 

Actions

  • Further increase the use by registrants of online tools for updating details.
  • Undertake an accuracy and quality review of the Register database.
  • Implement email and telephone verification software across all self-service registration systems.

Measures of Success

  • A lower number of requests from registrants to update details manually.
  • A lower number of invalid email addresses added on the Register, resulting in a reduced number of univeriverable communications to registrants.

End of Year Assessment

  • There has been a 3% drop in the proportion of requests from registrants to update details manually.
  • There was a 90% reduction in the number of undeliverable emails indicating a lower number of invalid email addresses on the Register.
  • eBulletins continue to contain registrants’ current contact details alongside requests for updated information. This continues to be an effective approach in encouraging self-service.
  • We have added software to the database that highlights invalid email addresses added to the Registration database which prevents the input of invalid email addresses.
  • Members of the registration team attended a fraud awareness training course to provide them with information and advice on how to identify inauthentic documents. This was to counter the threat of fraudulent documents being used in registration processes and was prompted by the receipt of forged documents in 2016.

 

Continue to enhance online registration system, including further development of internal office systemsgreen box

 

Actions

  • Continue to develop streamlined back office systems to support the online registration tool.
  • Gather feedback from users and potential users of the system and make appropriate amendments to the system.
  • Explore Plain English accreditation for the information provided in the system.

Measures of Success

  • Enhanced back office system leading to shorter application processing times.
  • An increased understanding of how users view and use the system. Improved user journey if enhancements are made supported by higher satisfaction levels.
  • Positive feedback that our communication is easily understood and system instructions are easy to follow.

End of Year Assessment

  • UK application average processing time cut by over 3 working days, and EU applications by 3 working days between 2016 and 2017. This is as a result of back-office improvements.
  • Development of back office systems software for storing pass lists electronically, to aid data management and speed up processing. Legacy data is being uploaded with the software to become fully operational in 2018.
  • A full review of the routes to Registration web pages and the online applications portal has been completed with the last few updates now being finalised. The changes have aimed to ensure consistent tone of voice, make language clearer and help reduce incomplete or incorrect Registration applications. We continue to review our web content on the basis of trends we establish and feedback we receive with a view to improving it on an ongoing basis.
  • Feedback has been sought from those joining the Register. 99% of responders were satisfied with the online application tool and 98% satisfied with the speed of the process.
  • It was agreed by the Board to defer the possible implementation of Plain English accreditation to 2018.
  • All new registrants were provided with an online “Welcome to the Register” tool-kit which is now live. This will provide information about ARB, and sets out the expectations of a professional person. It also provides information on support offered by professional bodies and other relevant organisations.

 

Provide an efficient and effective service to all enquirersgreen box

 

Actions

  • Develop a more robust system for handling incoming email, capable of providing management information.

Measures of Success

  • Increased efficiency, a reduction in the number of days to respond to enquiries, alongside enhanced management information on performance.

End of Year Assessment

  • We have successfully piloted and started using an email management system, which will give us enhanced data on volumes, turnaround times and query types. We are also building in standardised responses to ensure consistency in tone of voice and cut the administrative burden of responding to routine queries.
  • While we do not have comprehensive historical management information, a comparison of the average response times for a sample of email queries receive in 2016 shows an improvement in response time from 3 days on average to 1 day on average in 2017.

 

Undertake a fundamental review of the routes to registrationgreen box

 

Actions

  • Undertaking a review to:
    • Explore whether current arrangements remain fit for purpose and reflect current best practice.
    • Explore whether registration should continue to be qualifications-based and any implications for change at an EU and international level.
    • Consider whether alternative routes to registration would be viable and would widen access to the Register whilst maintaining standards of competence.

Measures of Success

  • Tested the basis for ARB’s requirements for registration and explored whether changes can be made in order to widen access to the Register, whilst continuing to provide public confidence in the competence of those on the Register.
  • Considered whether alternative routes to registration are viable and continue to meet ARB’s purpose and objectives and if so, have prepared a plan for the implementation of any alternative routes.
  • Engaged with all stakeholders and kept them informed of progress as the review develops.
  • Specific measures of success for key areas of the project scope will be identified and agreed as part of the sign off process for the project plan.

End of Year Assessment

  • The Periodic Review outcomes were published in late March 2017, which recommended that the Board should continue to pause its review of the UK routes to registration until the position regarding Brexit became clearer.
  • After a series of discussions earlier in the year the Board, in July 2017, agreed to undertake business as usual reviews of the Criteria and Procedures for the Prescription of Qualifications rather than undertaking a review of the UK routes to registration. Since that point, and within the context of a business as usual review, we have carried out a pre-consultation exercise; we have recruited two Task and Finish Groups which have met to analyse the feedback gathered as part of the pre-consultation exercise and provided advice and recommendations to the Board in terms of the direction of travel for the next stages of the reviews. This has all been completed within the Board’s ambitious timetable.
  • Substantial efforts, across multiple teams, were put into gathering feedback from a wide and varied group of stakeholders. A pre-consultation survey was launched on our website and communicated to our stakeholders via the post September Board meeting e-bulletin as well as two dedicated e-blasts. Five roundtable events were held across the UK (Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, Nottingham and London) to gather feedback directly. Stakeholders such as SCHOSA, RIBA and APSA provided standalone feedback whilst others such as the Health and Safety Executive and the Built Environment Professional Education project provided responses via the survey. The feedback gathering process was supported by a comprehensive social media strategy across all platforms.
  • An open recruitment process, supported by social media and a dedicated webpage, was held in September/October to recruit and appoint suitably qualified individuals to the Criteria Task & Finish Group and the Procedures Task & Finish Group respectively. Each group has met once this year to analyse all feedback received from the pre-consultation and roundtable events and to provide recommendations to the Board on the way forward for each review.
  • A dedicated webpage has been developed to inform stakeholders of the Board’s objectives for each review and includes the Board’s approved timeframe. Staff will update the webpage periodically.
  • Key stakeholders, including the QAA, RIBA, SCHOSA and APSA have been and will continue to be kept up to date regarding the Board’s current position.
  • These reviews will continue into 2018 as planned.

 


 

Section B – Maintaining the Qualifications of Architects

Under the Architects Act 1997, ARB prescribes (or recognises) the qualifications required to become an architect for those who gain their qualifications within the UK. We also contribute to the scrutiny and review of those qualifications that are obtained in another part of the European Economic Area, and which seek to be listed at a European level. We therefore maintain systems for assessing qualifications against set Criteria. These Criteria are held in common with the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Quality Assurance Agency benchmark for architectural qualifications. The UK Criteria also reflect the minimum requirements across the EEA. We work closely with many other organisations and Member States to ensure that our systems are robust, fair and efficient and provide support to Schools and Institutions of Architecture, whilst ensuring that as a regulatory body, we have confidence that prescribed qualifications meet the Board’s objectives and Criteria.

 

To have improved engagement with institutions, students and other stakeholders regarding the prescription process and Criteria to inform, to obtain feedback and to promote an understanding of ARB’s role with regard to qualifications, and to maintain a high quality service for institutions, students and EU Member statesgreen box

 

Actions

  • To improve the promotion of the availability of the following services and to meet all reasonable requests for:
    • feedback sessions;
    • planning meetings;
    • university liaison sessions;
    • regular engagement with and liaison meetings with stakeholders;
    • speaking at relevant conferences/ forums;
  • Providing support for those seeking to list qualifications in Europe.
  • To improve and develop areas of ARB’s website relating to prescribed qualifications/the student handbook as well as keeping them up to date.

Measures of Success

  • Good relationships with key stakeholders are maintained and developed, as exhibited by individual and collective feedback.
  • Stakeholders believe ARB adds value over and above performance on the prescription function, as evidenced by collective and individual feedback.
  • ARB is kept well informed of possible future developments in order to plan its work and respond to developments.

End of Year Assessment

  • By the end of the year, we will have undertaken 57 University liaison sessions. To inform our stakeholders about our work in this area we have posted social media messages alerting our audiences about upcoming university liaison visits as well as posting images of other events attended by the prescription team.
  • We contacted institutions at the beginning of the 2017/2018 academic year to promote the liaison programme and invite new institutions to take part.
  • We have reviewed and updated the content of the liaison sessions in preparation for the 2017/2018 academic year.
  • We have continued to gather feedback from both students and PSAs for visits, all of which has been positive.
  • Work has started on updating the Student Handbook and creating a new microsite. This should be completed in the early part of 2018.
  • We have reviewed and improved our planning meeting slides to provide more detailed information on the prescription process, including the documentation which institutions may wish to provide. We have used the amended slides to get across key messages such as University liaison sessions and the use of ARB’s logo to provide information for students. We are developing plans to meet with new heads of schools to help them understand the Board’s requirements in terms of prescription and the standard conditions of prescription.
  • We have held planning meetings with five institutions who are seeking prescription for new qualifications, and a further seven planning meetings with institutions who are seeking to renew prescription as part of the 2017/2018 prescription cycle.
  • We have held regular liaison meetings and have communicated with SCHOSA throughout the year, providing updates about ARB’s work, including the business as usual reviews of the Criteria and Procedures. We attended and gave a presentation at SCHOSA’s Summer meeting about the aspects of our work that were relevant to the schools.
  • We have liaised regularly with APSA through telephone conferences to discuss matters of mutual interest and we attended and spoke at APSA Spring and Autumn meetings, providing updates about our work and upcoming projects. Feedback from APSA has confirmed that our contributions and updates have been well received throughout the year.
  • We have attended meetings and advised the employer-led Trailblazer group developing the Architectural Assistant and an Architect apprenticeship. We have responded to all relevant consultations in relation to the development of the standards and end point assessments.
  • Improvements have been made to the areas of the website which relate to qualifications as part of the development of the new website including the map of ARB Prescribed qualifications.
  • We continue to scan the horizon for Higher Education (HE) related matters, which may impact on our work and role. We continue to attend QAA PSRB forums, as well as topical sessions run by Professions Together. We also attended the 2017 Higher Education Conference held in October 2017. We invited the QAA and WonkHE to speak to the Prescription Committee in relation to developments in HE (HE Act, Brexit, Office for Students, External Examiner training etc,). We are operating in a fast moving, complex environment and at times it has been difficult to keep pace, particularly when periods of core work need to take priority.
  • The eBulletin contains regular articles regarding prescription matters with the prescription stories in the four eBulletins so far this year receiving a combined total of just over 1,500 views.

 

On behalf of the UK and its capacity as the UK’s Competent Authority for Architects, embed the revised notification process within ARB’s procedures, and scrutinise and review European qualifications which are notified to the European Commission for listing under the PQDgreen box

 

Actions

  • Continue to embed the European Commission’s revised process for the notification of qualifications within ARB’s procedures.
  • Ensure that the European Commission’s deadlines for considering notifications are met on every occasion.

Measures of Success

  • ARB will have reviewed 100% of European notifications within the European Commission’s deadlines, and complied with the requirements in this area.
  • ARB will have dealt with all UK notifications within the European Commission’s deadlines, and complied with the requirements in this area.

End of Year Assessment

  • We have notified three newly prescribed UK qualifications to the European Commission this year. One notification generated several queries from our German and Danish colleagues and feedback was provided within the agreed time frames, the other two were approved without question. Feedback will be sought from the relevant institutions and any suggested improvements will be considered. A planning meeting was held in July and we are currently working with that institution to submit its notification to the European Commission by late November. A further two notifications will be prepared in early 2018.
  • We have made adjustments and improvements to the way we prepare our UK notifications for submission to the European Commission and have streamlined the way in which we consider European notifications.
  • A number of award title changes are being prepared for notification following approval of title changes by the Board and an internal audit of what is listed in Schedule 1 of the General Rules versus what is listed in Annex V of the Qualifications Directive. These will be progressed in 2018.
  • Twenty seven European notifications have been received this year, which is less than previous years. We sought clarifications and further information about 42% of these. Six European Notifications meetings have been held across the year. 100% of the European notifications have been reviewed within the European Commission’s deadlines to date, and complied with the review requirements in this area.
  • An open recruitment process was held to appoint a new Independent Adviser (European Notifications) to assist the UK Expert in Architecture with the task of reviewing EU notifications and scrutinising UK notification prior to submission to the Commission. An induction programme was drafted and carried out in October 2017.
  • We have been contributing to the development of pan-European guidance through the European Network of Architects Competent Authorities (ENACA). The guidance relates to the notification of qualifications under the 4+2 model and to the structure and content of qualifications under the revised Directive. The first two ‘4+2’ qualifications from Germany were approved for listing in Annex V. We are also contributing to an ENACA working group to discuss Member States’ concerns in relation to the issues surrounding the outdated guidance underpinning the PQD, particularly in relation to specialisation/dual qualifications and the ‘80/20 rule’ or guidance referring to principally in architecture. We continue to work closely with our European colleagues, attending key meetings and forums, particularly with regard to the establishment of new EU Directives.

 


 

Section C – Maintaining the Standards of Conduct and Practice of Architects

Users and potential users of architects’ services need to have confidence in the standards set by us under the Architects Code of Conduct and Practice, and that we take appropriate action where architects fall below the standards expected. We will seek to raise awareness of the Code and how clients may use the Code to help them in their relationship with their architect, as well as raising awareness and understanding of the Code by architects themselves. We will investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct and serious professional incompetence but will also seek to mitigate the risk of such situations arising.

 

Ensure efficient processes which are fair to all in all aspects of complaints handlinggreen box

 

Actions

  • Review and improve all literature guidance to ensure they remain compliant with Best Practice.
  • Integrate online complaints tool with ARB’s internal investigations portal.
  • Develop and increase the use of online feedback.

Measures of Success

  • All external facing guidance and literature is reviewed and updated as appropriate.
  • Feedback is reported in an appropriate way, and demonstrable action taken in light of it where appropriate.

End of Year Assessment

  • Guidance has been constantly reviewed throughout the year to ensure compliance with feedback, best practice and case law; it has been amended as necessary, and will be reviewed again comprehensively following the conclusion of the section 14 review.
  • A Tone of Voice Review was undertaken in relation to ARB’s general correspondence, in conjunction with a group of key stakeholders [1]. Results of the review will include an ARB style guide, a redraft of templated letters, and updated guidance. Results will be reported to the Board.
  • A wholesale review of guidance at all stages of the investigation process is taking place as part of the section 14 review. The Review is due to run into next year and changes will be completed by the end of 2018.
  • Acquiring good quality feedback continues to be a challenge, inasmuch as separating views on the process from views on the result. Further on-line responses have been developed, and ideas for improvement into this area will continue into 2018.

[1] Architects Benevolent Society, the General Medical Council, the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

 

Ensure the investigations process is running smoothly and offers a fair process to allorange box

 

Actions

  • Ensure that the Investigations Panel and Professional Conduct Committee are adequately resourced and trained in best practice.
  • The Investigations Oversight Committee is provided with appropriate information and maintains strategic overview of ARB’s investigation processes.
  • Outdated Professional Standards database and IT system are replaced by a fit for purpose system.

Measures of Success

  • 80% of Investigations Panel decisions are reached within 12 weeks.
  • 80% of Third Party Reviews find no further action to be taken.
  • No findings of ‘no case to answer’ at the PCC or adverse findings by Judicial Review.
  • No successful appeals against PCC decisions.
  • A fully operational and paperless IT system for investigations is put in place.

End of Year Assessment

  • The membership of the Investigations Pool has been refreshed and extended; in excess of 83% of decisions are being reached within the 12 week target.
  • 84% of Third Party Reviews have resulted in no further action to be taken.
  • There has been one finding of no-case to answer at the PCC. There have been no successful judicial reviews or statutory appeals against any decision by ARB.
  • The Investigations Pool and Professional Conduct Committee were trained regularly (e.g. in unconscious bias, seriousness, the planning process, case law).
  • The paperless investigations IT system has been initially piloted, but then removed from the process pending further software testing. That testing continues, but the objective was not delivered by year end.

 

Review how ARB delivers its statutory obligations under section 14 to investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct and serious professional incompetencegreen box

 

Actions

  • Seek views from all stakeholders as to how ARB’s disciplinary regime might be improved.
  • Draft new rules and acquire Board approval for changes where appropriate.
  • Undertake three month formal consultation on proposed changes.
  • Publish new rules; provide training as necessary to those who deliver a service on behalf of ARB.
  • Ensure that guidance and standard correspondence is updated to reflect changes to procedures.

Measures of Success

  • New Investigations & Professional Conduct Committee Rules are consulted on and published to come into effect by 1 January 2018.

End of Year Assessment

  • The Section 14 review commenced in June following the outcome of the Periodic Review. A revised target was agreed of the end of 2018.
  • A pre-consultation process was conducted which was publicised in our eBulletin, on our website and via social media messages. The IOC has been kept updated on the progress of the Review, which remains on course for completion in 2018.

 

Appoint new Investigation Pool membersgreen box

 

Actions

  • Undertake an open and fair recruitment exercise to appoint architect and lay members of the Investigations Pool.
  • Ensure that the appointments process adequately fulfils the skills balance required on the Pool.
  • Provide induction and training to new members as appropriate.

Measures of Success

  • The Investigations Pool has sufficiently skilled membership to fulfil its duties.
  • The Investigations Pool continues to work effectively and seamlessly throughout the transitional period.

End of Year Assessment

  • New IP members were recruited and trained; seamless working throughout the transition period with no lasting detrimental impact on performance.

 


 


Section D – Raising Public Awareness of the Register and Helping Users and Potential Users of Architects’ Services to Make Informed Choices

We recognise that it is not sufficient simply to hold an accurate Register. To be of value, the Register must be accessible, and users and potential users of architects’ services must understand the distinction of the title “architect” and the importance of the Register in confirming an architect’s registered status. We therefore work to increase awareness of the Register, to inform the public about the qualifications and competence of architects and to alert members of the public to the Architects Code of Conduct and Practice. We also work to prevent the misuse of the title “architect” which may only be used by those on the Register.

 

Raise public awareness of the standards expected by architectsgreen box

 

Actions

  • Ensure that the Code is embedded within all of the key communication documents published by ARB.
  • Publish articles throughout the year highlighting the benefits of using a registered professional.
  • Establish an internal task and finish group to explore ways in which public awareness can be raised, including establishing links with other organisations; reviewing the material we publish; our attendance at consumer shows; and how our impact and reach in this area can be maximised.

Measures of Success

  • Evidence that promotion of the Code will have been considered in conjunction with all publications and communications. For web based communications, details about the number of clicks and views will be recorded.
  • Internal task and finish group to have developed and carried out action plan for raising public awareness of professional standards and developing links with relevant organisations.
  • Engagement strategy for consumer shows to have been developed.

End of Year Assessment

  • The new Code of Conduct came into force at the beginning of 2017, and sent to all architects on the Register for whom we hold email addresses (>97%). It was downloaded some 8,000 times. Social media, leaflets, retention fee notices, the eBulletin and CPD sessions around the country have been used to promote it.
  • An internal task and finish group of staff was established to formulate fresh proposals as to how public awareness of the Register can be increased.
  • We exhibited at three Homebuilding and Renovating Shows in 2017: Birmingham, Glasgow and London. We also benefitted from a Board Member sharing information about ARB at the 2017 Festival of Architecture in Norwich & Norfolk.
  • Following a review, feedback was sought from consumers at these shows about the exhibit and the Register with a working group formed to review comments and discuss improvement opportunities.
  • We have undertaken research as to the best consumer shows to attend to maximise our message, and will be using that information to plan future engagement.

 

Uphold the value of the Register by increasing its usegreen box

 

Actions

  • Continue to increase awareness of the Register through online platforms.
  • Develop a strategic communications plan to keep the Register topical and in the public arena.
  • Develop relationships/partnerships with relevant organisations/groups to raise awareness of the Register through advocacy.
  • Review the misuse of the Board’s Title policy and approach.
  • Raise awareness of the purpose of prosecutions so that potential offenders are deterred and the public is informed.
  • Use all legal options available to deal with serious/repeat misusers of the title of architect.

Measures of Success

  • Social media referrals to the Register increased by 10%.
  • The number of Register searches increased by 5%.
  • Visits to the Register increased by 5%.
  • All prosecutions launched done so in adherence with a consistent policy and concluded successfully.

End of Year Assessment

  • Social media referrals to the website remain constant in 2017 at just over 600.
  • Searches of the Register were up by 14.5%.
  • Visits to the online Register were up by 9%.
  • New website launched with links to share content on social media embedded on each page.
  • All prosecutions launched have done so in adherence with a consistent policy and concluded successfully.
  • A Local Authorities Project was initiated to raise awareness of the Register. 103 Local Authorities now have a link to the Register of Architects on their planning pages. This has resulted in a significant increase in web traffic to the Register from .gov sites, and particularly those which deal with planning permissions or building regulations.
  • An online reporting tool was added to the ARB website to allow for evidence of misuse of title to be easily uploaded by third-parties for investigation.
  • A substantive review of ARB’s misuse of title policy will be brought for Board consideration in 2018.

 

Encourage architects to promote their registered status to increase awareness and value of the Registergreen box

 

Actions

  • Explain to registrants the value of referring to their registered status.
  • Expand the Registrant’s services secure area so that architects can have access to their details and embedded logo information in an attempt to further enhance public awareness of the register.
  • Increase links to the ARB Register via websites.
  • Establish an internal task and finish group to review registrants’ services and registrants’ pages on the website.
  • Introduce an electronic ‘welcome pack’ for new registrants.

Measures of Success

  • Downloads of ARB logo from website increased by 10%.
  • External links to the online Register increased by 10%.
  • Internal task and finish group to have reviewed this area and progressed action points.
  • Improved understanding amongst architects of UK Regulatory requirements.
  • Demonstrable increase in the understanding of the role of ARB and the regulatory landscape, along with information on UK context for those who did not qualify in the UK.

End of Year Assessment

  • Downloads of the ARB logo increased by 29%. This has been helped by work undertaken by the internal cross-team task and finish group working to encourage architects to raise awareness of their registered status, and by the redesigned logo. A new email footer has also been developed to encourage architects in this area.
  • External links to the online Register increased by 21%
  • The electronic welcome pack was launched in November. This contains a whole section informing architects on how they can promote their registered status, including where they can download the logo, how they can link to their personal page on the Register as well as the importance of using their registered name and registration number. The pack also includes information on their new responsibilities as a professional person; and where they can seek support. We will be seeking future feedback on the pack.

 


 


Section E – Corporate Functions

Continue to embed the requirement of the revised Professional Qualifications Directive (PQD)green box

 

Actions

  • Continue to consider the outcome of the PQD legislative changes and determine whether any further changes may need to be made to appropriate ARB policies, requirements and documents.
  • Take legal advice and advice from MHCLG and BEIS where necessary.
  • Analyse and cost any necessary system changes for 2018 budget.
  • Engage in discussions with stakeholders and ensure understanding of the changes.
  • Ensure information is readily available.

Measures of Success

  • Stakeholders are fully aware of the implications of the changes.
  • ARB makes any relevant adjustments to its policies, requirements and documents so that they continue to remain compliant with the revised Directive.

End of Year Assessment

  • The revised European Notification process is now embedded in and is operating effectively. We have inducted and briefed a new UK Expert in Architecture and a new Independent Adviser (European Notifications) to assist in the consideration of European notifications/the preparation of UK notifications to the European Commission.
  • We have been involved in the development of guidance to support the revised Directive; we have been a key player in drafting guidance to assist member states with the notification of qualifications under the 4+2 model and in relation to the structure and content of qualifications being notified under the new models outlined in the Directive. We have developed guidance in relation to this area and we have informed key stakeholders of the position. The viability of the 4+2 model will be looked at as part of the Board’s review of the UK routes to registration (which is currently on hold). We will be contributing to a working group which will review the outdated guidance that underpins the Professional Qualifications Directive.
  • We have continued to make information available to stakeholders as outlined above.

 

Engage with the EC’s review of the Professional Qualifications Directivegreen box

 

Actions

  • Continue to attend and engage with our European Stakeholders, e.g, ACE; ENACA
  • Continue to liaise with Government departments, e.g., MHCLG and BEIS
  • Consider the implications of any potential changes to the Directive
  • Ensure information is readily available to stakeholders

Measures of Success

  • ARB is fully aware of the likely scale and timings of the review.
  • Stakeholders are aware of the review; any potential changes and the implications of these.
  • Staff will have continued to participate in key ACE/ENACA meetings/discussions.

End of Year Assessment

  • The lasted information suggested that the European Commission will not be reviewing the Directive until 2020 at the earliest. We are continuing to monitor this area through our attendance and involvement at relevant meetings held by the Architects Council of European, the European Network of Architects Competent Authorities and in liaison with government departments.

 

Managing riskgreen box

 

Actions

  • Audit Committee regularly reports to Board.
  • Internal audit function appropriately resourced and monitored.
  • Maintain reporting cycle of risk register and risk strategy from staff to Board level.
  • Monitor delivery against performance indicators (bi-annual), the Business Plan (annual), ARB’s purpose and objectives (annual).
  • Ensure adequate reserves are maintained through review of reserves policy and maintenance of the policy minimum.
  • Effective reviews of policies to be considered in 2017.
  • Monitor the outcome of legal challenges for areas of improvement and trends, particularly where there may be a financial or reputational risk.
  • Consider implications and risk of any changes as consequence of the Periodic Review.
  • Continue to develop awareness amongst the staff team of the risks which could impact on ARB’s work internally.

Measures of Success

  • Information provided to the Board on performance and risk is considered to be at the right level and provides an appropriate level of assurance.
  • Internal audit continues to be robust and add value, as assessed by the Audit Committee and the management team.
  • Emerging and live risks are sufficiently mitigated by the actions in place, or the level of risk is accepted as being within the Boards risk tolerance level.
  • Level of reserves maintained provides appropriate reassurance to Board, Government and key stakeholders.
  • Relevant policies are reviewed within expected time frame.
  • Risks will have been adjusted on basis of the analysis of trend information and improvements.
  • All members of staff will continue to have an understanding of the risks which could impact on ARB’s work.

End of Year Assessment

  • The work of the Audit Committee has been reported to the Board through its minutes of February, May and July.
  • An internal audit plan was delivered on time and on budget.
  • We undertook a review of risk management, delivered a new risk register and risk assurance mapping exercise. Dissemination of information on internal and external risks to the organisation through email and meetings. All staff information security training provided.
  • The risk profile is reported to the Board at each meeting. Risk surrounding the Periodic Review recommendations has been discussed by the Board.
  • The Audit Committee reviewed the reserves policy at its June meeting; the Board agreed to keep the existing policy in September 2017.
  • Reports of mid-year delivery against the Business Plan and of key statistics for the first half of 2017 were brought to the July Board.
  • Adequate reserves have been maintained to meet MHCLG requirements and Board policy.
  • The Investigations Oversight Committee and Board were kept updated on any legal challenges.
  • Risk addressed at staff and team meetings; a Challenge Ambassador working group established to risk assess the work of other departments.
  • A program of policy reviews are in place with progress reported to the Board.

 

Maintain adequate and appropriately skilled staffing levels that are utilised effectivelygreen box

 

Actions

  • Ensure sufficient staff resources are maintained to deliver statutory functions and the 2017 Business Plan in line with the Board’s priorities.
  • Maintain staff development budget and encourage flexible working, and interaction with outside organisations to further enhance knowledge, skills and engagement.
  • Continue to cultivate an environment that supports engagement and encourages team members to reach their full potential.
  • Ensure that pay and reward is competitive and attracts and retains high calibre staff.
  • Continue to build on ARB’s people strategy and key succession planning policy
  • Introduce online expenses system
  • Replace Human Resources Software.

Measures of Success

  • Maintain adequate staffing levels in 2017.
  • Evidence of increased flexible working across the organisation to deliver statutory functions.
  • A committed and engaged staff resource (Annual Engagement survey).

End of Year Assessment

  • Staff levels were maintained during 2017, with increased staffing requested in July 2017.
  • Each member of the team identified training and development opportunities. All staff training took place on Equality & Diversity, security in the workplace, well-being, and fire safety.
  • Cross-team working groups have delivered projects on promoting the Register, challenging existing procedures, encouraging architects to download the ARB logo, internal communications, and making the collection of the retention fee more effective.
  • The annual staff engagement survey is carried out in December each year; 2017’s survey will be in February 2018 to allow for the new appraisal scheme to be embedded. The outcomes 2016 staff engagement survey were positive, and reported to the Remuneration Committee, at its July 2017 meeting with no areas of concern identified. There was also positive staff engagement with the development of the new appraisal scheme which came into force in November 2017.
  • A pay benchmark survey was undertaken and reported to the Remuneration Committee at its December meeting.
  • All members of the OMG have undertaken coaching so as to improve their skills in developing talent and enhancing performance within the organisation.
  • New Human Resource and Expense systems have been secured, and will be put in place in 2018.

 

Deliver the recommendations resulting from the Periodic Review and maintain Government and Stakeholder
confidencegreen box

 

Actions

  • Respond to outcome of review and develop an implementation plan, if appropriate.
  • Ensure there are sufficient resources in place, to deliver relevant outcomes.

Measures of Success

  • Statutory functions delivered efficiently and effectively, alongside any requirement for the organisation to change.
  • Successful development of an Operational Plan once the outcomes of the Review are known. Stakeholder satisfaction with ARB’s communications around the Periodic Review.
  • Continue to place updates about the Periodic Review into the public domain.

End of Year Assessment

  • The outcomes of the Periodic Review were published in late March 2017.
  • We developed, in conjunction with the MHCLG, plans and timeframes for the delivery of the recommendations, which are now underway and will continue into 2018. All of ARB’s responsibilities are on track for delivery.
  • The Board has continued to engage with the process throughout the year to date, including providing feedback on the revised constitution of the future Board.
  • Press releases were issued following the publication of the Review and updates provided at the open sessions of Board meetings.
  • Regular updates regarding the Periodic Review are also included in the eBulletins which are circulated to registrants following Board meetings. We also have FAQs on the ARB website which are reviewed and updated where necessary on a regular basis.

 

Efficient financial managementgreen box

 

Actions

  • Clear budget setting process agreed and understood by Board.
  • Regular monitoring of outcomes against budget, along with forward planning, horizon scanning and early warning alert mechanism of variances to the Board.
  • Prompt notification of fees.
  • Alignment of budget to Business Plan, including capital expenditure projects.
  • Provide 3 year forecasts to capture longer term financial obligations.
  • Develop a property strategy.
  • Annually Review the Board’s Investment Strategy and the of the Investment and Management arrangement.

Measures of Success

  • Deliver ARB’s work as set out in the 2017 Business Plan within budget.
  • To deliver the 2017 fee process efficiently, with clear and timely communication, with registrants who are aware of the fee cut-off date, resulting in a lower number of registrants being removed for non-payment than in 2016.
  • An informed Board, which is provided information in a concise way, enabling them to govern the organisation effectively.
  • To have in place a project plan for reviewing ARB’s premises options and an agreed investment strategy.

End of Year Assessment

  • Budget forecasts were provided at each Board meeting, advising of additional income that was anticipated by the year end.
  • The 2018 Board budget briefing session was held and the budget agreed in September 2017, having considered the longer term obligations of the organisation.
  • The fee collection ran smoothly with a lower number of initial removals for non-payment than in 2016, despite a bigger Register.
  • The Board reviewed and revised its Investment Strategy in November 2017.
  • We have now instructed BNP Paribas to commence the property strategy work.

Compliance with legal obligationsgreen box

 

Actions

  • Health and safety.
  • Employment requirements.
  • Data handling.
  • PAYE.

Measures of Success

  • No adverse health and safety incidents taking place during 2017.
  • Implement any required change to procedures and processes as required.

End of Year Assessment

  • There were no breaches of our legal obligations in 2017.
  • We undertook a full premises and personal safety security review, with recommendations being progressed.

IT strategy green box

 

Actions

  • Keep under regular review the strategic IT development plan, maximising digital and self-service opportunities.
  • Understand the ongoing needs and vision for the organisation, including a strategy on continuous improvement and efficiency savings through the use of technology.
  • Increase the use of the organisation’s website and online tools.
  • Explore the possibilities and implications involved in moving ARB’s Board and Committee papers on-line.

Measures of Success

  • Internal and external systems remain stable with no down time.
  • External systems remain accessible and fit for purpose, and responsive to any feedback received.
  • The IT strategy continues to support the objectives of the organisation and deliver efficiencies. Increased number of visits to the website and use of online tools such as the online application portal.
  • The pros and cons involved in moving the Board and its Committees’ papers on-line will have been fully explored.

End of Year Assessment

  • Internal and external systems remained stable with no down time.
  • We kept the IT development plan under review, particularly in relation to the Investigations Portal, email management development and the redeveloped website. Significant back-office integration continued with investment in document management systems.
  • The ARB website was redesigned and relaunched. There was a 7% drop in the number of visitors, but an increase in visitor engagement.
  • The possibility of moving to paperless Board meetings will be continue to be explored. A paperless meeting system, possibly suitable for Board and Committee meetings, was successfully trialled by the Operational Management Group. Further investigation into any pros and cons, along with any further IT requirements will be carried out in early 2018.

 

Explore and take up opportunities to work with stakeholders and partners to deliver ARB’s objectivesgreen box

 

Actions

  • Actively seek opportunities for working with others.
  • Build partnerships with others to influence the regulation of architects to protect consumers.

Measures of Success

  • Demonstrable evidence of broader working relationships with Stakeholders and Partners from the built environment, consumer and regulatory sectors.

End of Year Assessment

  • We have reviewed our stakeholder register to ensure that we are reaching appropriate stakeholders in our communications.
  • A constructive working relationship with Which? was built resulting in published information about ARB and the Register of Architects in its advice guide.
  • We have also developed working relationships with online directories and shared data where it is in the public interest.
  • The HomeOwners Alliance has contacted us for input on communications matters, and meetings planned with the Trading Standards Institute and TrustMark.
  • Presentations have been given to the Professional Associations Research Network; RIAS; and the Glasgow Institute of Architects on professional standards.
  • We met with several other Regulators and Professional Bodies to learn from their experiences with assisting Trailblazer groups in the established of employer-led apprenticeships including the Chartered Institute of Building, Nursing and Midwifery Council and Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists.
  • We have attended relevant meetings organised by Professions Together including a session on the potential implications of Brexit on regulatory and professional bodies.
  • We have met with RIBA to discuss a mutual approach to raising awareness of the title architect.

 

Respond to, and advise on European legislation that affects the regulation of architectsgreen box

 

Actions

  • Monitor EU legislation in terms of ARB’s objectives / statutory functions.
  • Consumer Directive
  • ADR Directive
  • Data protection
  • Services Directive
  • Implement a communications plan to ensure architects are informed.

Measures of Success

  • ARB will have responded to relevant consultations as appropriate.
  • Staff will be aware of relevant developments, report these to the Board, ensure they are taken into account when taking strategic decisions and, where appropriate, communicated to architects.

End of Year Assessment

  • We have published FAQs on Brexit which are aimed at students/potential and existing registrants.
  • We have continued to monitor the position and liaise with the MHCLG on the impact of Member States’ National Action Plan and three new European Directives (Services E Card; Proportionality; Notifications Directives) currently being discussed by the Commission, Council and Parliament.

 

To continue to improve governance arrangements within the organisation and ensure that they are aligned with best practicegreen box

 

Actions

  • Undertake a Board and Committee effectiveness review, and implement any actions from the previous year’s review.
  • Ensure the Board has sufficient, evidence based, timely information, on which to make informed decisions.
  • Be alert to best practice in the arena of governance and recommendations on how to continually improve.
  • Ensure Board membership continues to comply with the requirements of the Act; induct new Board members as appropriate.
  • Conclude the review of the ARB/MHCLG Framework Agreement.
  • Conclude the review of the Board’s Code of Practice.
  • Review the Board appraisal process
  • Review the Board’s General Rules.

Measures of Success

  • Outcomes of effectiveness reviews will be actioned and taken forward as appropriate.
  • A revised ARB/MHCLG Framework Agreement will have been published.
  • A revised version of the Board’s Code of Conduct will have been included in the Board Handbook.
  • The Board’s appraisal process will have been reviewed and any revisions rolled out.
  • A review of the Board’s General Rules will have been undertaken with a view to publishing an updated set of Rules in 2018.
  • Governance arrangements will be kept up to date, reviewed where appropriate, and adjusted to meet best practice.

End of Year Assessment

  • A Board and Committee Effectiveness Review was undertaken in late 2016; the results were discussed by the Board and relevant actions were being taken forward by the Board, staff and committees.
  • A review of the Board’s Code of Conduct has been completed and a revised Code has been agreed and included in the Board’s Handbook.
  • We have met with other regulators to benchmark our approach to governance and to share good practice.
  • We have joined the newly established Regulators’ Innovation Hub.
  • Three newly appointed Board members have undertaken a thorough induction programme.
  • We have agreed to review the Framework Agreement once relevant outcomes of the Periodic Review have been addressed.
  • Given the outcomes of the Periodic Review and on the basis that a newly constituted Board will be in place in 2018, we will undertake a review of the appraisal process in mid-late 2018.
  • A review of the General Rules has been commenced and will be carried out so that it will align to the adjustments being made to the Act.
  • The work of other regulators in relation to best practice in the area of governance is monitored and relevant eBulletins and updates are noted by OMG.

Continue to review, develop and implement our equality and diversity action plangreen box

 

Actions

  • Review and amend the plan as required taking into consideration best practice in this area including moving to an inclusion policy.
  • Collect and analyse Equality and Diversity data, and utilise the information to influence policy decision making.
  • Make the data fully available to assist others in their policy information gathering.
  • Undertake project to consider how to make consultations more accessible.
  • Review and ensure that ARB is collecting appropriate and relevant data.
  • Ongoing training for staff, Board and those who assist delivery of the organisation’s objectives.

Measures of Success

  • Annually published data which is of value to the Board and other stakeholders.
  • Equality and Diversity Implications considered as part of all policy discussions based on data where appropriate.
  • 5% Increase in the Equality and Diversity information held in relation to registrants.

End of Year Assessment

  • Equality and Diversity information held in relation to registrants has increased by 8% (to 52% of the Register).
  • We have not undertaken a review of the E&D action plan but instead drafted a 3 year framework by which performance can be measured, after participating in a cross-regulator group. That framework will be considered by the Board at its February 2018 meeting.
  • We have established a strong working relationship with the Architects Benevolent Society (ABS). We attended their launch of a scheme in conjunction with Anxiety UK and involved them with our Tone of Voice review.
  • Following the presentation of a research paper on mental health issues in architectural students to Prescription Committee and Board, changes are to be made to the student handbook to provide signposting information.
  • We were invited to input into interviews for public appointments with other public bodies, thus providing us with invaluable insights which we can apply as we implement the government’s recommendation to move to an appointed board.
  • The staff team have attended a number of short mental health awareness workshops and mental health awareness week was marked by the staff team both internally and via social media posts.
  • All staff have received training on the Equality Act 2010; those involved in recruitment have been trained on the risks of unconscious bias.

 

 

Manage ARB’s reputation to ensure there is public confidence in the regulation of architectsgreen box

 

Actions

  • Raise the profile of ARB’s role, in order to communicate the role of regulation.
  • Strengthen our relationships in the regulation and consumer sectors.
  • Gather feedback from those that use our services, to ensure we are offering relevant and accessible services in a way which adds value.
  • Deliver a communication plan which raises awareness of the role of ARB, in particular the public Register of Architects.
  • Communicate the value of using a registered architect to enhance public/consumer/client understanding.
  • Attend relevant consumer events to raise awareness of ARB’s role and the public Register, through exhibiting and speaking opportunities.

Measures of Success

  • Understanding of key regulation and consumer/client issues, which assists the decision making of the Board.
  • Clear understanding of ARB’s performance and service delivery through wide ranging feedback.
  • Publish measureable key performance indicators, and report against them biannually.
  • Increased use of Search the Register facility through enhanced awareness of its value, enabling consumers to make informed choices.
  • External communications reinforce message of ARB’s regulatory work.
  • No high profile regulatory failures leading to public criticism.

End of Year Assessment

  • Have given three CPD events for architects on matters of professional practice and the Code of Conduct.
  • We are involved in a number of regulatory forums including the regulatory communications group as well as groups interested in equality and diversity issues.
  • A member of the team is involved in the relaunch of the UK Inter-Professional Group, a forum for the major Regulatory and Professional Bodies in the United Kingdom.
  • We regularly review our stakeholder engagement plan to review progress and identify next steps and priorities.
  • Attending and presenting to an audience about the Register at consumer shows.
  • Relationship developed with Which? Magazine with plan to have feature in the publication on regulation and the Register.
  • Continued monitoring of the trade press and updates sent out to Board and staff regularly.
  • There have been no high profile regulatory failures leading to public criticism.

 

To respond to the Government’s advice and guidance regarding the UK’s departure from the EUgreen box

 

Actions

  • Provide Government with information as requested on the current regulatory regime, facts and figures
  • Respond to the advice and guidance provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government regarding any proposed changes to ARB’S role and responsibilities.
  • To ensure any changes to legislation are enacted with minimal disruption to ARB’s work
  • To ensure that the profession and public are kept up to date with how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect ARB’s core activities and function through communications, and website FAQs
  • To liaise with other EU competent authorities as and when appropriate

Measures of Success

  • Positive feedback from the Department for Communities and Local Government on responsiveness and quality of information provided.
  • Successful embedding of any legislative changes into ARB’s operations and strategy.
  • Regular updates sent to the profession and other stakeholders at appropriate intervals and website FAQs reviewed and updated on regular basis.
  • Feedback from stakeholders, including profession, public and competent authorities as to quality and timeliness of communications and updates.

End of Year Assessment

  • We have continued to provide relevant and timely information/data to government departments when requested.
  • We have reviewed the Act and determined which areas could be impacted as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU.
  • We have reviewed and refreshed the Frequently Asked Questions we publish on our website relating to this area, and will continue to do so as we learn more.
  • We are keeping our stakeholders, including our European counterparts, up to date with developments as needed.

 

 


 

Glossary

BEIS Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
MHCLG Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government
EEA European Economic Area
ENACA European Network of Architectural Competent Authorities
FReM Financial Reporting Manual (Government document)
IP Investigations Panel
PQD Directive 2005/36/EC on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications
PCC Professional Conduct Committee

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