The Architects Registration Board, which regulates the architecture profession, has said it will retain a key element of its proposed new continuing professional development (CPD) scheme, despite a backlash from the industry.
The scheme will monitor the training and development of all architects throughout their careers. From next year, all architects will have to confirm they have undertaken CPD when they pay their annual retention fee in order to stay registered.
ARB released a statement on 7 June, confirming the launch of the scheme next year, after it completed a consultation process on the proposals, gauging the views of 1,350 architects.
The respondents gave feedback on ARB’s various proposals, including its suggestions on how many CPD ‘activities’ firms should undertake throughout the year, which CPD topics should be mandatory, and how the CPD should be measured.
Refective statements opposed
Controversially, the regulator has also decided to press on with plans to measure the scheme by asking architects to submit a ‘reflective statement’ explaining ‘how their chosen activities have supported their practice and informed their future development’.
An overwhelming 68 per cent of respondents opposed this requirement, expressing concern that this was ‘too bureaucratic’ and ‘took time away from fee-earning work’.
But ARB argued that the mandatory reflective statement was ‘a crucial outcome-focused aspect of the scheme’.
It said it would publish examples of completed statements, ‘so that [the reflective statement] is straightforward for architects to complete’.
Despite resistance to the move, a majority (58 per cent) of respondents did agree that recording activities was a good way of measuring CPD.
ARB will also make it an initial requirement that architects carry out mandatory CPD on sustainability and building safety ‘in a way that is relevant to their practice’. Respondents had suggested regulatory changes, sustainability and safety as their top three mandatory topics.
Architects will also be free to identify their own CPD activities, and individual architects who have ‘developed professionally and can apply what they have learnt to their practice’ can also be considered to be continuing a firm’s professional development.
ARB said there would be ‘no minimum number of [CPD] activities that an architect must complete’, after its recommended eight CPD activities over the course of a year drew mixed opinions from architects – only 12 per cent of respondents strongly agreed, and 33 per cent agreed this would be helpful.
The regulator said it would be using a pilot scheme, currently underway, to ‘identify ways to improve guidance and support architects’ and inform ‘final guidance’ to be published by the end of 2023.
ARB’s proposals for the CPD scheme have been in the pipeline since 2021 when it began consulting with the profession to help shape its new powers given to it under The Building Safety Bill.
ARB chair Alan Kershaw said: "I am delighted that we received such a strong and detailed response to our consultation.
"This feedback is a vital part of our work to shape this new scheme, whose central aim is to ensure architects have the knowledge they need to create and maintain a built environment that is both safe and sustainable.: