A NEW LOCAL association covering the whole of Wales is being proposed by the ICE, to be achieved by merging the South Wales Association and the North Wales Branch of the North West Association.
A meeting of the South Wales association will be held on 18 May to consider approving the proposal that a Wales association should be formed comprising all members whose ICE registered address is in Wales.
Currently, members in Wales are served by the South Wales association, the North Wales branch of the North West association, and a few by the Midlands association. However, with the advent of the National Assembly for Wales, the ICE is following suit and devolution of the institution is taking place. The ICE has recruited an executive secretary for Wales, David Crompton. Based in Cardiff Bay, his office is due to open this month.
Chairman of the South Wales Association Ian Flower believes the Wales association is needed. 'The all Wales association is a mechanism to bring the two associations together. It is important to do this so that we have more power to influence the Welsh assembly,' he said.
'North Wales will have its own branch and organise its own meetings within the Wales association as it is unrealistic to expect them to travel to South Wales. It may be possible to have a number of representatives who will travel to our meetings.' Flower also sees the future for communication within the Wales association becoming increasingly reliant on teleconferencing.
Chairman of the West Cheshire and North Wales branch of the North West association Keith Baskeyfield is more sceptical of the proposals. 'The National Assembly for Wales will be making decisions on spending and the ICE must have influence within it. From the political point of view, it is a good idea to have an all Wales association to align institution activities with Government thinking, however, I have my doubts as to how much members in the North may be able to contribute as most members are in the South.
'From a practical point of view, I still think people in the North will deal with the North West association because we have always been more closely linked with the North West of England than the South of Wales,' said Baskeyfield.
The next step is to put the proposed Wales association to the members in Wales. The ICE has suggested that the North Wales branch will consider the proposal at its annual general meeting in May. Fundamental principles of membership of a local association will remain unchanged. For example, any member can select whichever association he/she chooses as his/her principal affiliation, and receive programme notices of any other
For more information on the EGM, contact Stewart Barton (01633) 644711.