We belong to an Institution that has a noble purpose: to foster and promote the art and science of civil engineering.
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Or, in the words of our President, “to improve lives in our global society”.
To fulfil that purpose and to serve society, the Institution needs to be a well-led and effective organisation.
But it also relies on the engagement, enthusiasm and professionalism of its members, which is why it is known as a global membership organisation. The golden thread linking organisation, leadership and membership is good governance.
Last year, a ballot of ICE members endorsed new governance arrangements.
In parallel, a Special General Meeting passed resolutions that expressed disappointment with ICE’s handling of the ballot and called on the ICE Council to formulate new proposals for ICE governance following extensive and effective consultation of the membership.
The Council, in implementing the new arrangements, therefore set up a presidential commission into ICE governance. The then President asked me to chair the commission, and I answered the call of an Institution that means so much to me.
The Commission is an advisory body; it includes a range of ICE members as well as external people who, together, have strong experience of both governance and the Institution.
The Commission is in the first stage of its work, considering the key principles and issues for the good governance of an Institution like the ICE. This includes taking evidence from ICE members and stakeholders, discussions with the main ICE boards and committees, consulting the Associated Societies and reviewing the governance of comparator organisations.
In stage 2 the commission will consider the evidence gathered and look at the options for future governance of the ICE.
And in stage 3 it will consult widely on the emerging options before finalising its recommendations to the Council and Trustee Board towards the end of 2019.
The commission has a web page which is signposted on the home page of the ICE website. There you can see its terms of reference; membership; minutes of commission meetings; and papers submitted to the commission’s evidence sessions. There are also background papers including summaries of ICE governance arrangements past and present; the governance of comparator organisations; and key principles of trustee governance.
The commission welcomes ideas and submissions on its task from ICE members, and the web page gives the way to get in touch.
If the Institution is to serve society, and to promote the art and science of civil engineering, its members and regulators must have the highest confidence in its governance arrangements.
- David Orr is chair of the presidential commission into ICE governance and was President of the Institution in 2007-08.