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Lord Howie of Troon: I find the noble Earl's argument persuasive but only up to a point. If I heard him correctly, he said that these time matters refer to payments and other things as well. But it was the "other things as well" that I was bothered about. I said that in so far as it was a matter of payment I accepted his proposition--and I do--but matters such as extensions

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of time on a contract with the consequential knock-on effects are totally different. I am not sure that he has convinced me. He has half persuaded me, as I thought he would, but he has not persuaded me wholly, because he did not apply himself to what I actually said. I think the correct thing for the noble Earl to say is that he will look at what I have said and ask me to withdraw my amendment. If he says that, I shall happily comply.

Earl Ferrers: It is a remarkable thing when the noble Lord says to me that if he were me I would say what the noble Lord thought I should say. But, as I am myself, and as I have heard the noble Lord, Lord Howie, I shall do what the noble Lord says. I shall ask him to withdraw the amendment. I shall certainly have a look at what he has said and if I have either misdirected myself or, even worse, misdirected the noble Lord, I shall certainly get in touch with him. I shall certainly look at what he has said to see whether there is anything we can do to meet that point.

Lord Howie of Troon: Since we seem to have changed our places in some curious way I am happy to comply with what the noble Earl suggests. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 113 agreed to.

Clause 114 [The Board and its committees]:

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank moved Amendment No. 199:

Page 64, line 23, after ("committees") insert ("(which must have a majority of Board members)").

The noble Lord said: In the course of our debate in Committee on Clause 111 stand part both the noble Lord, Lord Elvel, and the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, talked about representations over the weekend. Not to be outdone, the noble Earl talked in the same spirit.

Earl Ferrers: Perhaps I may interrupt the noble Lord. He referred to the noble Lord, Lord Elvel. I think he actually meant the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. It is only a small point.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: I am most grateful. I was being economical with my language in order to shorten the remarks which I propose to make. I am grateful for the correction. I have made that mistake before and I apologise to the Committee and to the noble Lord, Lord Williams.

The noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Berkeley, talked about representations over the weekend. All I would say is that I have had many representations on behalf of 30,000 registered architects who hoped very much that Part III of the Bill, which is so important to them, would be considered last Thursday but for reasons we all know, though sunshine turned to twilight and twilight eventually turned to darkness, the House rose for unusual reasons before that part of the Bill could be reached.

It is a most important part of the Bill and it is for that reason very significant legislation for the profession. For more than 60 years it has depended very largely for its

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status and therefore its livelihood on the 1931 legislation. Part III of the Bill effectively amends, but in a very important and significant way, the legislation of more than 60 years ago and some subsequent amending legislation. However, there is a significant difference between the 1931 Act and Part III of the Bill which reflects our changing times. The 1931 Act was certainly seen as protecting the profession from imposters--those who claimed to be architects when they were not--and from others and, despite the support, as I shall explain, that has been given by the great majority of architects to Part III of the Bill, the Bill and Part III ought to be considered primarily as protecting the public. For that reason it is important for the Committee to look at the detail of the proposals in that spirit.

Equally, if it is a sea change of the kind which I suggest--indeed it is as regards the further amendments to which we shall come--it is not surprising that architects have been caused some anxiety, not necessarily by what the Bill says but by details which, for one reason or another, have been omitted. My amendments are all probing amendments. At present I do not intend to press them to a Division at this stage of the Bill. The amendments are all intended to enable Ministers to place beyond all reasonable doubt what the new registration body will be like and how it will be expected to function. If, as I anticipate, helpful replies are given today of a robust and emollient kind--those two things can go together--I shall certainly not expect to press the matters further at a different stage of the Bill.

I shall be on my feet on a number of occasions in the next hour so I shall say what I said at Second Reading. I was the director-general of the RIBA from 1987 to 1994, and a consultant for a short period afterwards. I am an honorary Fellow now. I was very much involved in the discussion of the contents of the Bill, in the first place with Sir George Young when he was a Minister, and also with the noble Viscount, Lord Ullswater, and officials. All the amendments that I am putting before the Committee today have the support of the Royal Institute of British Architects though it would not necessarily agree with the way in which I shall address them.

Lord Elton: The noble Lord has referred on a number of occasions to all the amendments. I take it that the noble Lord is speaking to a number of them at the moment. Can he tell us what the others are?

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: The noble Lord anticipates by about 10 seconds what I intended to say. I thought it was important to make my position clear so that there would be no misunderstanding. The amendments stand in my name and nobody, in accordance with the proper procedures of this House, can be committed to them. Now that the Committee is preliminarily apprised of the amendments to which I shall later be speaking, I am now speaking, as the Marshalled List suggests, to Amendments Nos. 199 and 200, which go together. Amendments Nos. 212 and 213 are essentially belt and braces amendments. I do not intend to make any particular reference to them.

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My remarks will now be quite short in addressing Amendments Nos. 199 and 200 together. They make clear my anxiety and the area as regards which I hope the Minister will be able to help. As the Minister and the Committee may know, the Government originally had in mind to end altogether the registration of architects, but then they had a very wise change of mind. At that stage there were alternatives about how the problem of future registration might be dealt with. One possibility was that responsibility for maintaining a register of architects should be passed to the RIBA itself. Indeed, in John Warne's report to Ministers, he recommended the ending of registration. He said that were registration to continue, he thought that the best option was to pass responsibility for maintaining the register to the professional body. That was one option and most favoured by John Warne and at that time by the RIBA itself.

The second option, which was developed both among the professional bodies and in ARCUK itself, the existing registration body, which embraces registered architects who are not members of a professional body like the RIBA or its equivalent in Scotland or Northern Ireland, was called a "minimalist organisation". I am very glad to say that that being the alternative which was most widely favoured in the end, both by the architects themselves and by Her Majesty's Government, the Bill embodies in its detail the essentials of such a minimalist organisation.

For example, there is a board of 15 people instead of a council of 77. It is a board shorn of the unnecessary committees which have created some problems in the past, particularly the Board of Architectural Education. I hope that the new organisation, being minimalist, is the cheapest to run although I make it clear to the Members of the Committee, if they are in doubt, that the present organisation for registration and its successor set out in the Bill, will be paid for by the profession itself. No cost falls on the public purse.

As I say, the direction of the Bill, as printed, is towards a minimalist organisation. I move principally these two amendments, and the others which follow from it, to make clear to the Committee that my understanding of the organisation is its understanding, too. It believes in a minimalist organisation, which will not attempt in any way to grow beyond the bounds set in statute in order to avoid any unnecessary conflict with the professional bodies which will very properly continue to represent those architects who join. The organisation will be kept as economical as possible in order, quite reasonably, to conserve the resources of a profession which, among all professions, is not a very well rewarded one. I hope that the Minister will be able to give those assurances. I beg to move.

Lord Lucas: Do I understand correctly that the noble Lord is not speaking to Amendments Nos. 212 and 213 at this stage?

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: That is correct.

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5.15 p.m.

The Earl of Caithness: Perhaps I may first apologise to the House for not being here on earlier occasions. My work takes up a lot of time in the afternoons and evenings. Although I would have wished to take part in the debates on the Bill, so far, I have been unable to do so. I have come to the House particularly for Part III of the Bill. I declare to the Committee my interests. I am a chartered surveyor. I started life as a land agent. I then became a commercial agent and then a developer. I have now set up a business as an estate agent. During those times I have used the services of architects and I wish that I had not had to bother with them.

This is the most bizarre part of the Bill. How this Government, which I support, can have changed their mind after receiving an independent report from Mr. John Warne that we should get rid of this dreadful legislation, beggars belief. I cannot follow my noble friends' thought processes. However, we have this dreadful Part III of the Bill. The amendments tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank, only serve to make it even worse.

However, I support the noble Lord on Amendment No. 200, which is reducing and minimising the cost of the board to the profession. The best way of doing that is to scrap the board and to take away the rather unique position in which architects find themselves. The noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, said that the reason why architects wanted this board so much was that it protected their profession. He went on to say that it protects the public. What a load of rubbish! The public certainly do not need protection from architects. They need the greatest ability there is to seek competitive positions in this profession and from other people who can provide just the same services as architects, but much more efficiently, effectively and at a cheaper price.

I wonder who needs protecting from a profession that can produce a calendar for this year of 12 pretty pictures showing the designs of buildings. Five of those buildings have never been built and they are never going to be built. The great majority of the rest have been modified extensively from the original concept. Many of my own designs have had to be rescued from the hands of architects by quantity surveyors and others in the profession. There are too many buildings in this country, too many ideas and too much money has been lost as a result of bad workmanship by architects that others have luckily been able to rescue or, in many cases, not. I cannot support the thrust of Part III of the Bill. I shall argue most strongly against the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers.

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