REGIONAL ASSOCIATIONS face a 5% cut in funding after ICE director general Tom Foulkes set out a 'taut' budget for the year ahead.
Foulkes has identified savings of ú285,000, 90% of which will be borne by Great George Street, to divert more funds to the 'key areas' of improving routes to membership and services to members.
Without dramatic change in these areas, Foulkes fears that the decline in membership will escalate rapidly.
'We have an ageing membership profile and we simply don't have enough coming in, ' said Foulkes. 'We need to double the rate of recruitment, but regardless of this we still face a trough while the increase kicks in.
'So we are faced with two courses of action, ' said Foulkes.
'We can let membership decline and try to sustain a membership of 45,000, or we can improve recruitment and our routes to membership.'
Foulkes has already set in motion a fundamental review of the ICE's activities. Dubbed the 'Bailey project', the review will examine the core purpose of the Institution in the modern economy and establish a strategic, five year business plan.
The project is building upon existing strategy and policy documents, in particular the 1997 Future Framework Presidential Commission (Cawthra Report) root and branch examination of the ICE.
The key findings will be put to the ICE Executive board, ahead of a presentation to Council.
In the interim, Foulkes has prepared a budget which he described as 'balanced, forward looking, and a sound foundation for fundamental strategic thinking'.
Total operating expenditure has been budgeted to match an estimated operating income of ú9M, an increase of almost ú0.5M on last year. Over ú250,000 of this will be allocated to professional development and communications.
This increase will be funded through 'significant' savings in Great George Street administration, and a reduced allocation to the regional associations.