In November last year when I gave my inaugural address I announced the theme of my Presidential year; Transforming Infrastructure, Transforming Lives – Building on 200 years.
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I made a commitment at that time, on behalf of the ICE, to support the transformation of our profession and of infrastructure itself, and I asked you to join the ICE in its mission to transform the world for another 200 years.
But it is also right to look at how ICE can transform itself; to make sure that it is fit for another 200 years; and to ensure that it can continue to support you throughout your career.
After much debate, the ICE Council is therefore recommending changes to the Institution’s governance structure to bring it more in line with modern governance practice. Those changes would also see ICE comply with the Charity Commission Code of Governance for larger charities, as many others already do.
The Council also believes that the proposals will make the Institution more forward-looking, more responsive to industry needs, and better able to help shape the global engineering debate.
The ICE is currently managed by a 44-strong Council which meets four times annually to oversee the running of the Institution. A 13-strong Executive Board meets four times annually, but, ultimately, has to gain approval from the Council for its decisions. As we celebrate our 200th year, Council considered at length whether this is the most effective way to oversee an organisation with a global reach of over 90,000 members. Its conclusion was that change was necessary to enable much more effective governance. The Council believes that a 12-strong Trustee Board able to make and enact decisions but advised by Council would bring the agility needed to a modern professional engineering institution.
We seek to use our Council to provide much greater social value than we do currently. I believe this can only be a huge step forward. But, in recommending this proposal the Council also believes that you the members must exercise the final sway over who our trustees are. Therefore, while trustees will be selected in almost exactly the same way as the Executive Board is selected currently, the new Council will be required to approve Trustee Board members on an annual basis, and the Council will also appoint three members directly to the Board. I believe this provides a robust check and balance that is critical to the effective governance of our Institution.
It is important also to note that this process would have no impact whatsoever on any member’s professional qualifications or on the Institution’s status at large.
Members will be asked for their approval during the ballot which will take place between June and July this year and I very much hope that you will join me in voting to approve the proposals to ensure that the Institution is fit for the future.
- Lord Mair is ICE President