DCMS and CLG appoint Richard Parnaby as head of review nine months after it was announced in Housing Green Paper

The government is to finally launch its ‘light touch’ review of CABE, nine months after it was first announced.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Communities Department have appointed Richard Parnaby, former chairman of the Design Commission for Wales (DCfW), to oversee the review.

Parnaby is professor of architecture at the University of the West of England, and still sits on the DCfW board. He is also vice chair of the RIBA Education committee.

It is understood Parnaby’s team will examine how CABE informs and supports government policies and its contribution to good design, particularly in the housing sector. The effectiveness of CABE’s design reviews will also come under the spotlight.

The review, announced in last July’s Housing Green Paper, was originally to have been carried out last autumn. It is understood the delay was due to disagreements between the two government departments as to the review’s remit. DCMS and CLG have joint responsibility for the design watchdog.

A CABE source said: “It has been deeply frustrating, because no-one has ever really explained to us why the delay has happened. It all seems to be down to the difficulties of co-ordinating two government departments.”

It is understood CABE has been forced to delay the development of a new corporate strategy as a result of the nine-month hold-up. The board had agreed that a new strategy would not be finalised until after the government review was completed.

Neither CABE nor the DCMS would comment on the review, or Parnaby’s appointment.