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Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: I hope I was not presumptuous. However, I am grateful to the noble Lord for pointing out to the noble Viscount, Lord Caithness, the proportions of the Bill.

Lord Monkswell: I, too, point out that I was not being supportive of the noble Lord's amendment but merely complimentary to the profession as a whole.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: I am amazed by how many noble Lords are disowning, not their earlier remarks, but my response to them. I acknowledge that the Official Report should be read. That is the only way to discover precisely what noble Lords have said. For the moment, I am grateful to them for what they have said about the amendment and the spirit of Part III of the Bill. For that reason, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 200 not moved.]

Clause 114 agreed to.

Clause 115 agreed to.

Clause 116 [Registration]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 200A:


Page 65, line 21, at end insert ("or who has infringed the rights of other registered persons in respect of belonging to a trade union.").

The noble Lord said: Part III of the Bill gives important status to the RIBA. It introduces a legal framework of proper procedures to deal with alleged misconduct and incompetence against architects. I understand that the RIBA fully supports this part of the Bill. Therefore, it is extraordinary that the RIBA has ceased to recognise the trade union that represents the vast majority of its staff; that is, the MSF Union. It has reached this decision despite the fact that 85 per cent. of RIBA employees are members of the union and 92 per cent. of all staff voted for the re-establishment of trade union rights in an independently scrutinised ballot.

I am well aware that the Government are probably not enthusiastic about trade unions. However, we are talking about the rights of individual staff members, the overwhelming majority of whom wish to be members of that trade union and wish it to be recognised by the employer. I fail to see how the RIBA can adopt the attitude that it has. The amendment is intended to give support to the views of the staff who wish their union to be recognised. I very much hope that the Government will be sympathetic to the spirit of the amendment. It seems to me to be extraordinary that in this day and age, when the overwhelming majority of the staff of a

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particular organisation wish to have their union recognised, the employer has no interest and moves the other way. I hope that the Government will be sympathetic to the thrust of this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Monkswell: It grieves me that I rise to support the amendment. I have a great deal of respect for the architectural profession as a whole and many individual members of it whom I know. I respect also the way in which they operate, not just in the sense of professional and technical competence but in the way they treat others, whether they be clients, staff or other professionals. I believe it to be a blot on the escutcheon of the architectural profession that the dispute between the leadership and employees of the Royal Institute of British Architects has arisen. I hope that in supporting the amendment the Government will send out a very clear message to the profession that, while this part of the Bill is about the professional competence of the profession, there is also an expectation on the part of society that professional people should behave in a responsible manner to others with whom they come in contact, particularly those they employ.

I suspect that the action of the leadership of the RIBA has been disturbing to a large number of practising architects. They feel that their profession is brought into disrepute by this action. It is to be hoped, even at this late stage, action can be taken, in the form of an amendment, to make amends for this blot on the escutcheon of the architectural profession, all members of which are listening to this debate, according to the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank.

Lord Lucas: This amendment has nothing to do with the Bill. The Bill is not about the RIBA but about an entirely different body: the Architects' Registration Council. The Bill affects registered architects, not unregistered employees of the RIBA. The right to belong to a trade union and protection against infringement of that right is properly dealt with across all industries and professions by employment legislation. This Bill contains provisions that deal with allegations of unacceptable professional conduct. If it were alleged that the type of infringement under discussion constituted unacceptable professional conduct, it should be dealt with in a proper manner as set out in the Bill. But this Bill does not even require architects to be very good architects; it certainly does not require them to be very good employers or people. That is entirely outside the scope of the Bill.

It would be wrong and contrary to the principles of natural justice for a person against whom an allegation had been made simply to be thrown out by the registrar without his case being heard and dealt with in a proper way. The registrar would be entirely the wrong person to hear a case of this kind. I very much hope that the noble Lord will withdraw his amendment without further ado.

Lord Monkswell: Perhaps I may point out to the Minister that the amendment is entirely within the context of the thrust of this part of the Bill, because it talks about registered architects. The amendment is

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drawn fairly narrowly in that it applies only to registered architects who are denied their trade union rights. With that explanation, the Minister might like to reconsider his remarks, because, as I said, the problems are faced by registered architects, and that is what this part of the Bill is about.

The amendment does not refer to other members of the RIBA's staff who are not registered architects. If the RIBA were to be required to confer what everyone, I think, would consider to be the right of trade union membership and representation to registered members who are members of staff, those same rights would be read across to other members of staff who were not necessarily registered architects.

Lord Lucas: Neither does the Bill deal with registered architects who have difficulty obtaining their child benefit. Registered architects, along with everyone else, have the rights granted by employment legislation. That is the right place for those rights. They have no place in the Bill.

Lord Dubs: Of course, in a narrow technical sense the Minister is right, but I draw a great deal of comfort from two phrases that he used. He used the phrases, "very good employers" and "very good people". I think by that he meant that he welcomes employers who are good employers and behave decently to their employees. There was indication of a slight rap over the knuckles of people who are not good employers. I welcome that rap over the knuckles. In that spirit, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank moved Amendment No. 201:


Page 66, line 12, at end insert ("and shall consult the chartered bodies of architects in the United Kingdom and shall have special regard to the advice received from such bodies.").

The noble Lord said: In commenting upon Amendment No. 200A, the Minister rightly said that the Bill is not about the RIBA. It is important to emphasise that we are looking at chartered bodies--bodies of chartered architects--who represent about 70 per cent. of the profession, which are properly concerned with the interests of the profession. That is a wide responsibility, although I see it also as a public duty. The new registration body, despite what the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, said earlier, has been designed to, and, I hope, will function in the public interest, as the Bill sets out.

What we need for the success of the registration body and for the prosperity of the profession is co-operation between the professional bodies and the registration body to ensure that both, in their way, contribute to the public interest and to a flourishing, successful, and well-focused profession.

The amendment has a simple purpose. It is to ensure that the professional bodies are properly consulted about the development of architectural education and entry into the profession. Perhaps I may refer first to entry into the profession. Again, I readily concede that in 1931 it may have been in the minds--I can say no more

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than that--of a number of architects that a new registration body would in some way help to restrict or confine entry into the profession. I do not anticipate that that is what they would want today or that it is what the new registration body will do. However, it is important that the only people admitted to the profession are those who have proper and widely understood qualifications and who have been through the proper courses to justify their entitlement to the name "registered architect". I believe that that is a view which will be common to all Members of the Committee and one we must accept.

Secondly--this, I believe, follows--if we are to have entry into the profession by those best qualified to be called registered architects, it is important to pay attention to the development of architectural education. Architectural education has, traditionally and very properly, been the responsibility of the professional bodies. It is the professional bodies for architects in this case, but equally the education of professionals, whether in medicine, law, or engineering, has traditionally been, and remains, the concern of those various professional bodies.

In recent years there has been some rivalry--if I may put it that way--between the existing Board of Architectural Education and the professional bodies. I say that despite some genuine and devoted service by distinguished architects in the board's service. I think, for example, of the present chairman of the board, Professor Ken Murta. The board disappears under this legislation. There is total agreement over that.

What I seek to ensure is a partnership between the new body and the professional organisations over education and entry into the profession, because the ownership of education is, as I say, a proper concern for all professional bodies, and the new organisation would make no claim to that. It could only by stealth or inadvertence find itself involved in questions of education. I hope that the Minister will say that that is his understanding of the matter. Even if he were to suggest that the amendment is unnecessary, I hope that he will make it clear that consultation with the professional bodies will be at the heart of the new registration body both in determining those who are fit and proper persons to join the profession and what education they should have in order to do so. I beg to move.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Finsberg: Perhaps I may raise one point. I appreciate that my noble friend may not be able to answer off the cuff, but I should be happy if he would write to me. I remember on the question of registration and education in the years when I was a junior Minister having to go to Brussels to discuss common qualifications with other members of the Community, in particular the Germans. I wonder whether registration here will automatically mean registration throughout the EU; and, equally, whether we would be prepared to accept EU architects, however they may have been educated, under the proposals.


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