The summer months have seen much debate about the future shape of the governance of the ICE.
We have had a ballot and a Special General Meeting which focused on how the Institution should be led, what structures are best to continue our successes and how we should work with the wider membership to achieve this.
The debate has been passionate, mature and constructive.
In June and July the ICE balloted its corporate members to confirm views about proposed changes to the Institution’s governance structure. Among these was a proposed change to the size of the Trustee Board from 44 to 12. In essence this would involve a formal transfer of trustee responsibilities from the 44- strong Council to a smaller group, similar to the existing Executive Board.
This was approved by 70% of the eligible members who voted and will therefore go ahead in November 2018.
However, a number of members felt that the process had been poorly communicated to the membership and called for a Special General Meeting before the ballot vote had closed. An SGM was therefore held at the end of July and the three resolutions tabled at the meeting were supported by between 130 and 140 members.
Council then met in early September to give careful consideration to the SGM resolutions and discussion. After a lengthy debate, the elected Council has accepted that it would be wise to implement a review of the ICE’s governance to ensure that the structures meet the needs of the Institution (see ICE News). This matches the specific request made by those calling for the SGM.
To give this process the proper rigour, Council intends to appoint an independent chair to conduct the governance review and will rely on them to define the terms of reference, process to be followed and the wider team to form part of the review. Every effort will be made to engage with and listen to a wide variety of voices during the consultation process in order to understand widespread themes and issues, before defining recommended onward changes to the ICE’s governance system to meet the expectations and requirements of the majority of members.
In terms of timescale, the review team will engage and consult through 2019, reporting regularly to Council, and will then make its recommendations by the end of next year.
Whatever the outcome of the comprehensive consultation and review, its focus is clear. It is paramount that the ICE has a modern governance system that is robust enough to engage with the modern world, that permits meaningful engagement and debate, and which ultimately supports the civil engineering community as it plays its part in tackling the many relevant challenges faced by the world today.
- Lord Mair is ICE President