While all chartered engineers would surely consider continuing professional development (CPD) essential, (NCE 24 May), the question of cost and who bears it is central to the issue.
Why should the fee for an ICE conference, seminar or workshop be the same whether the delegate works for a large multi-disciplinary consultancy or is self employed? The self employed engineer will lose a day's income as well as paying the delegate fee.
Reductions for multiple bookings from one organisation again favour only the larger bodies.
Delegate fees for ICE events are already higher than comparable events organised by other bodies. For example the MAFF River & Coastal Engineers conference at Keele University this year cost £300 plus VAT for two and a half days of conference including proceedings, all meals, a conference dinner and two nights bed and breakfast. The last ICE conference I attended at a Bristol hotel in September 1999 cost £395 plus VAT for two days attendance, proceedings and meals with accommodation extra.
The ICE must be seen to give value for money compared to comparable events or delegates who are not subsidised by their company may not consider it viable to attend.
Alan Williams (M), Coastal Engineering Consultancy Services, Morven Braes, 104 Thurstaston Road, Thurstaston, Wirral CH61 0HG