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Institution creates expert panels to exploit members' skills

ICE news

A BATTALION of civil engineering 'experts' is to be recruited by the ICE to ensure that the Institution exploits its members' abilities to the full.

The proposal, approved by ICE Council recently, will lead to the formation of an expert panel to breathe new life into the ICE's technical activities.

Creation of the panel is part of a shake up of the ICE's technical boards.

The move follows concern that the Institution was not adequately tapping into the breadth and depth of the membership's knowledge. It was recognised that leading exponents in many fields had neither the time or inclination to serve on the boards.

Now the Institution is to seek out 'well-rounded professionals, recognised as leaders in their field' and ask them to join the expert panel. Appointments are expected shortly.

It is envisaged the experts' roles would include:

commenting on consultation documents and joining ICE working parties to develop policy acting as reviewers of research projects supported by the Institution's R&D enabling fund preparing short occasional papers for publication commenting to the media on behalf of the Institution supporting the work of the boards 'without being subsumed into administrative roles or being required to attend frequent meetings'.

Creation of the expert panel will aid the Institution's aim to be more proactive in identifying issues, allowing it to take the initiative during consultation periods or in general, during the early stage of policy development. The Council paper, presented by ICE technical and engineering vice president David Cawthra, states: 'Leadership and forward planning ... is essential.'

Following the formation of the expert panel, the engineering boards will be given a stronger management role.

Membership of individual boards will be reduced from 12 to between six and eight and members 'will be selected on the basis of the best person for the job' rather than because they represent a particular group. The boards' main role will be to deliver 'focused and targeted activities' in line with the overall business plan drawn up by the Technical and Engineering Committee. They will produce individual business plans and establish and support working groups to tackle specific tasks.

As a result of the changes, the ICE will holder fewer, but higher profile, lec-tures, seminars and meetings. The paper says that 'the programmes of local associations should regularly include conferences and events provided by the boards'. It adds: 'Boards should prepare two events for travelling internationally or to regional meetings each year'.

The final tier of the ICE's new technical and engineering activities will be the development of specialist pan-disciplinary committees responsible for research and innovation and publications.

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