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Decision to cancel host funding of PEIs sparks fury

ICE NEWS

THE ICE will cease funding Professional Engineering Institutions because it cannot afford the annual £82,000 bill to support them, Council heard.

The decision to cancel the ICE's host funding of PEIs in Wales, North East and Northern Ireland from the 2000 budget was pushed through despite criticism from the floor.

It was said that funding for the pan-engineering bodies had to stop because they could not be afforded along with new Local Association Development Officers (LADOs). The end of host funding would pay for the appointment of five LADOs, it was heard.

Chief executive Mike Casebourne claimed that in recent talks with the local associations, PEI funding was identified as a lower priority. The role of PEIs to promote engineering in schools was duplicated by the Engineering Council body Neighbourhood Engineers, he added.

President Roger Sainsbury was asked whether the other engineering bodies had made a group decision to 'run down the PEIs' in round table talks last week.

Sainsbury said: 'The other three institutions will make an effort to continue funding the PEIs. I can assure you we will not cause offence by pulling out.'

The decision to end PEI funding came after Council had earlier forced Executive to continue funding PEIs until the end of the year (NCE 18 February).

Views from the floor on ICE funding for PEIs.

Terry Mulroy: 'I'm very unhappy about this. If we withdraw funding, the PEIs we host will fall flat on their face. It will add to the view that we are still being driven too much by the centre.'

Roger Duffel: 'The PEI in South Wales is very successful. It would be criminal to stop it in its tracks.'

Terry Rockey: 'We have a commitment to an external body which we are talking about stopping. I feel very unhappy about ceasing funding when there is such a disparity of feeling among members. I'm unconvinced by the value of the devolution proposals.'

Sir Alan Cockshaw: 'There are areas where the PEIs are quite good but we have just got to forget it because we can't afford it.'

David Orr: 'If it comes to a choice between PEIs and LADOs, we prefer LADOs.'

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