Taskforce draws up 10-point action plan to expand and promote service to government and client groups
The RIBA plans to expand its architectural competition service to make it more accessible to clients and raise its profile in the public sector.

The RIBA council this week accepted several recommendations and a 10-point action plan drawn up by a competitions taskforce established last autumn by president George Ferguson.

The taskforce is keen to persuade the government to increase the use of its design procurement model in the public sector.

Although it has the backing of CABE, the taskforce still has to tackle the Office of Government Commerce, which draws up the public sector's procurement strategy.

Under the plans, the existing RIBA competition service, which operates in Leeds, will be expanded and additional freelance competition officers will be hired.

What is disturbing is that a lot of clients think they are not the ones to choose which design is built

Clare Wright, chair of RIBA taskforce

Clare Wright, the chair of the taskforce, said: "In my view, the competitions office provides a terrific advisory service for clients. The result is successful, award-winning buildings, such as the Baltic Museum of Modern Art in Gateshead and Nottingham University's new campus."

She added: "What is most disturbing for me is that a lot of clients think they are not the ones to choose which design to build. This is a misconception I am keen to get rid of."

Wright said she wanted clients to know that the RIBA competition service should be a clients' service and not a service designed solely for architects. She said: "Architects are just there to advise clients."

The RIBA's first priority is to draw up a business plan to test the market. This will be created by an independent consultant.

The plan is to then launch a marketing campaign aimed at government and other client organisations.

The RIBA also intends to expand the range of architect assessors. The aim is to recruit staff with specialists skills to help clients with particular needs to draw up briefs and set up the most appropriate competition system.