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A single learned society body for geotechnical engineering in the UK

Proposed unified body of Ground Board and British Geotechnical Society

Memorandum of Understanding

1. Name The unified body shall be called the British Geotechnical Association (BGA).

2. Definition of geotechnical engineering

Geotechnical engineering is the application of the sciences of soil mechanics and rock mechanics, engineering geology, environmental science and other related disciplines to civil engineering construction and the preservation and enhancement of the environment (Appendix A).

3. Vision

The Association will provide the focus for all technical, professional and educational matters relating to geotechnical engineering in the UK and will represent the views and aspirations of the wider geotechnical community. It will ensure that geotechnical engineering is recognised and properly valued for its role as a key discipline in the practice of civil and environmental engineering, construction, the extractive industries and other industrial activities..

The Association will be regarded as a facilitator for the advancement and public understanding of geotechnical engineering. The Association will speak with authority and confidence and will aim to be highly respected both nationally and internationally, not only for its professional and scientific standing, but also for its vitality, efficiency, approachability, flexibility and willingness to listen and for the excellence of its innovative thinking, advocacy and delivery.

4. Mission statement

To organise itself in such a way that it is run democratically, efficiently and economically, that it remains vital and dynamic by harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of members (particularly the younger ones) and is able to draw on the highest level of expertise and advice on all geotechnical matters.

To promote and facilitate, centrally and through regional groups, learned society, professional, educational and training activities within the whole of the UK. This will be achieved through the advancement and communication of knowledge and public information in the disciplines of soil and rock mechanics and engineering geology and in all matters pertaining to the ground and in their application to engineering.

Membership shall be open to, and valued by, all those professionally engaged or otherwise actively interested in any aspect of geotechnical engineering.

To act as a single representative body within the ICE for the wider geotechnical constituency within the UK, providing proactive services to its members, the ICE, and other institutions, learned societies and Government and to maintain a high national and international profile within the engineering community and the public.

5. Key objectives

1. To promote the key role of geotechnical engineering within ICE, other bodies and the wider public.

2. To attract all those engaged in activities related to geotechnical engineering to become members.

3. To operate a democratic constitution, system of management and budget that encourages confidence and a sense of ownership by the members.

4. To carry out and develop the learned society activities at present undertaken by the BGS and the Ground Board and to continuously review the effectiveness of these activities. To maintain efficient and economic operations and retain the vital and dynamic commitment to excellence in the learned society function.

5. To maintain close links with local groups, local associations, associated societies and special interest groups (associations) of the ICE and to facilitate and encourage learned society activities in the regions.

6. To maintain close links with other societies, groups and institutions not formally linked to the ICE and to encourage and facilitate activities that promote geotechnical engineering.

7. To encourage the active participation of all members in all aspects of the work of the Association and to engender a feeling of belonging to a team.

8. To be forward looking so as to identify trends and issues in geotechnical engineering and thereby influence or anticipate events.

9. To co-operate and take a lively and leading role in the activities of the International Society of Soil Mechanics & Geotechnical Engineering and the International Society of Rock Mechanics and with other international bodies and societies as may be appropriate.

10. To provide, in an efficient and authoritative manner, advice sought by the council or executive of the ICE, other institutions and Government and also to comment on public consultation papers and formulate views of relevance to the public.

11. To participate actively in developing and disseminating Codes of Practice with others as appropriate to ensure the timely issue of required guides in geotechnical science and engineering.

12. To consult with ICE before preparing and developing specifications. In conjunction with ICE Industry Practices Committee prepare, develop and promote conditions of contract.

13. To identify and provide specialists to support ICE Industry Practices Panel work on geotechnical matters.

14. To maintain close liaison with the Engineering Boards of ICE with the chairman or vice chairman of the Association nominated to sit on the ICE technical and engineering committee.

15. To promote and disseminate the results of research and development.

16. To promote the important role of geotechnical engineering in sustainable and acceptable development.

17. To provide advice on geotechnical education, training and accreditation and to promote continuous professional development.

18. To promote and facilitate licensing of geotechnical professionals and specialists.

6. Membership

Membership shall be open to all those professionally engaged or otherwise actively interested in any aspect of geotechnical engineering.

Corporate subscribers shall be entitled to nominate two persons as members (subject to the approval of the executive committee) who shall receive all notices and enjoy all the rights of individual membership.

7. Executive committee

The principal work of the BGA shall be undertaken by an executive committee. Subcommittees may be established as required by the committee to satisfy its Mission and Objectives.

The ICE will provide administrative support to the Association. Every effort will be made by the Institution to provide staff who are substantially dedicated to the Association.

The Association and the Institution will use their endeavours to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of the support activity. Where appropriate, support activity may be delegated by the committee to the honorary secretary.

Membership of the executive committee shall comprise the following, serving for the periods indicated:

Chairman 2 years

Vice chairman 2 years

Honorary secretary

Honorary treasurer

2 ICE nominations (1 from Council) 3 years

9 Elected Members 3 years

1 Representative of Engineering Group

of the Geological Society 3 years

1 Representative of the Institution of

Mining & Metallurgy 3 years

1 Representative of British Tunnelling Society 3 years

The chairman and vice chairman of the Association would be elected by the members of the executive committee. There would be no requirement for the chairman to have been elected to the ICE Council. If the chairman is not a member of Council, then he or she shall have an open invitation to attend and observe Council. In this capacity he will be able to contribute to any meeting if invited to do so.

The committee will encourage active participation by regional geotechnical groups and young geotechnical engineers and maintain an appropriate balance of committee members from academia, consultancy and contracting. The executive cxommittee may co-opt additional committee members (generally for a period of three years) or invite others to attend.

8. Status within the ICE

The Association has a responsibility to ICE Council for meeting the Objectives of the British Geotechnical Association as approved by its membership and set out in its constitution. Any changes to the Objectives would require BGA and ICE approval.

The Association will normally use the ICE badge and logo in promotion of its activities and publications. For certain documents and activities, ICE will have the right of approval for the use of its logo to satisfy any concerns about liabilities and public relations aspects. The Association procedures for quality assurance should be appropriate to the standards normally applied by ICE. The Association will establish aa procedure that assuress quality and assesses any liability arising from the application of the ICE name.

The Association will provide or recommend individuals to speak with authority on behalf of ICE on geotechnical matters.

9. Finance

The Association committee shall prepare an annual business plan and budget based on the anticipated activities, working in conjunction with the ICE Director (Engineering). The budget shall also take account of the annual subscriptions to the Association for ICE and non-ICE members. The Association will set its own subscription levels and membership shall have the opportunity to comment on the proposed initiatives and the subscription levels at the AGM, after the budget and recommended subscription levels have been agreed with ICE Council.

Having regard to the undertaking by the Association that it will meet the objectives provide the facilities and services set out in this Memorandum of Understanding, the ICE will provide a financial grant, payable annually to the Association. The current pattern of charging arrangements for events and activities is expected to continue. The broad principle should be that any efficiency savings are shared between the Association and the ICE and that the grant provided by ICE should be utilised for the benefit of the members of the Association. ICE will require to be satisfied that the Association is reasonably meeting its objectives, prior to the award of the grant and in the event that it is not agree with the Association the further actions required.

Each year the amount of grant will be discussed in parallel with the ICE annual budget process (which operates from April through to December). The amount of grant provided will have regard to the performance of the Association in meeting its objectives and be influenced by the management costs, achievable economies, the organisational requirements and the net revenues of both the ICE and the Association.

Income and expenditure shall be closely monitored by the Association and quarterly reports produced by the ICE. It shall be the responsibility of the chairman of the Association and the ICE Director (Engineering) to administer the monies allocated for Association activities.

The membership subscriptions to the Association shall be administered by the ICE.

ICE members of the Association will pay a reduced subscription compared with non-members.

Reduced membership subscriptions will be established for student members.

Membership subscriptions will be established for corporate members.

When the ICE subscription notice is dispatched to ICE members, a further premium shall be payable by those wishing to be a member of the Association . ICE members shall indicate their interest by ticking a box on the subscription notice.

10. Publications

Ground Engineering shall be the official magazine of the Association. The status of and subscriptions paid by members for Ground Engineering shall be determined by the annual general meeting of the Association. The executive committee shall make its recommendations on these matters to the AGM following negotiations with its publishers.

The Association shall be responsible for the administration of the editorial panels of Geotechnique and Geotechnical Engineering and will provide advice on their operations, membership and papers as invited by them .

11. Rankine Fund

To achieve the objective of maintaining its financial independence, the Rankine Fund shall either be established as a separate independent charity or administered by the Association as one of the trust funds of the ICE.

In the latter case it shall be held and accounted for separately as a restricted fund (the monies being set aside by trustees for specific purposes, e.g. funding the Rankine Lecture). Trustees of the fund would be appointed by the Association. The Association will maintain the capital of the Rankine Fund (taking inflation into account). From time to time the Association may organise events specifically as income-generating activities of the Association to maintain the Rankine Fund.

In assessing the grant to be made under Clause 9 ICE will have due regard to the need for the Association to maintain the Rankine Fund for the purposes of funding the Rankine Lecture, awards and prizes on the basis and level applied in 1998.

12. Regional activities

The Association fully supports the ICE strategy to encourage regional interest groups and related programmes of activity and the amount of grant should reflect the costs involved.

Regional geotechnical groups will establish strong links with the Association who will have overall responsibility to maintain and strengthen their level of learned society activity.

It is anticipated that regional groups will seek to gain representation on the executive committee through the election process.

13. Relationship with international bodies

The BGA will serve as the UK member society for both the International Society for Soil Mechanics & Geotechnical Engineering (ISSMGE) and the International Society for Rock Mechanics (ISRM). It will participate in the international activities of these organisations. The BGA may collaborate and co-operate with other such international societies as lie within its field of interest and are approved by the annual general meeting or special general meeting.

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