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Engineering Council searches for more powerful role

ICE News

THE ENGINEERING Council is to announce a series of refocused goals and objectives at the end of the month following a major review of its role.

The study has been prompted by the Science and Innovation minister Lord Sainsbury who approached the Council last September asking whether it was possible for the body to become a more powerful voice for the profession.

In response, the Engineering Council and the Department of Trade and Industry set up a working group to review the Council's contribution to the engineering community in terms of promotion andstandards of engineering. The group is led by Engineering Council chairman Dr Robert Hawley.

The Hawley Group's remit is 'to identify the growing boundaries of engineering which embrace all engineeing practitioners across the full spectrum of engineering and technology and then devise a strategy that enables it to better serve this wider constituency'.

The Hawley Group is consulting with representatives of 500 institutions, academics, companies and individuals.

The preliminary strategic objectives are to make the Engineering Council more effective by:

recognising and defining the wider 'engineering community';

developing communication channels;

encouraging consensus;

and acting as a forum

The group has also advised that the Council should get a consensus view from the engineering community to advise the Government on issues such as:

the promotion of the understanding of engineering;

the definition of the present and future skills needs of industry;

all education issues relevant to engineering; and

knowledge of developments abroad, especially in the EU.

The proposed definition of the engineering community is 'the sum of all individuals and groups who employ engineering skills and expertise to add value to society or the economy'.

Engineering Council director general Malcolm Shirley said 'The minister has asked us whether we can work better - he has not asked us to buck up our act. We are not planning to change the world, we want to build on what we have done over the past four years.

'We do not want to do other people's jobs for them but to provide a consensus, and therefore powerful voice for the profession.'

The Hawley Group work follows an internal reviewcarried out by the Engineering Council last year after talks with institution presidents about registration cost concerns.

The internal review led to a decision to freeze registration costs at £22. Last year, staff levels were reduced by 10% to 55 employees and some activities have been transfered to other bodies to reduce costburdens.

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