ICE Corporate Members have voted in favour of significant changes to the governance arrangements of the Institution.
Corporate members have voted on bylaw changes that will move governance from the 44-strong Council to a 12-strong board of Trustees. The move is in line with advice on the principles and recommended practice for good governance as set out in the Charity Governance Code for larger charities. More than 70% of Corporate members voting backed the change, exceeding the two-thirds majority voting in favour required for resolutions relating to the ICE’s Royal Charter and by-laws.
ICE Council had already unanimously approved the move and the process to appoint a Trustee Board will begin immediately, with the changed structure planned to take effect from 6 November – the start of the next presidential year.
The results of the ballot were announced at the ICE’s AGM last night.
Alongside the proposed changes to the governance structure, members were also being asked to vote on a further eight resolutions. All eight were passed. These concern a change to the process governing the amendment of the regulations, streamlining the by-laws, and the Engineering Council’s decision to mandate the recording and submission of CPD records from all professionally qualified members to Professional Engineering Institutions.
Total votes cast were 3,954 out of the 44,437 members eligible to vote, representing a 8.9% return – up on 7.5% in the last ballot in 2016.
Speaking after the AGM, ICE president Lord Mair said he was “delighted” that the changes had been agreed by such a clear margin.
”Council worked incredibly hard for more than six months to ensure that the governance structure put to the membership would provide a strong framework with which to face the next 200 years,” he said. “While I accept that some members had their doubts I hope that the clear support for these changes from the majority of the voting membership illustrates a future-proofed governance system for the Institution. It is now time for us to move on and address the challenges faced by society, our profession, and our members.”
Currently, the ICE is managed by a 44-strong Council which meets four times annually to oversee the management of the Institution. A 13-strong Executive Board meets four times annually, but, ultimately has to gain approval from the Council for its decisions.
The ICE says the new structure would see a smaller, “more agile” Trustee Board of 12 becoming responsible for the Institution’s strategic decision making. The new Trustee Board would enact policy and plans on behalf of the Institution which in turn would reflect the will and ambitions of the Council.
The ICE says Council, elected by, and representative of the membership, would deliver advisory and audit functions as well as scrutinizing the performance of the Trustee Board. Importantly, it says, Council would also have time to focus on wider professional and societal issues and use their wide expertise to propose solutions to tackle them.
The move remains controversial, however, and a group of corporate members, spearheaded by past presidents professor Paul Jowitt and Jean Venables have secured a Special General Meeting on the changes. This will be held on 31 July.
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