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Viewpoint: Our public voice

ICE’s Steve Feeley on how we should be turning up the volume to make a difference.

So the country is now officially out of recession, just − but I’m sure it won’t be feeling very different for many of our members quite yet.

Infrastructure investment for years to come will, like much public spending, be subject to pressure and scrutiny.

More for less and greater value are much heard mantras and members expect no less from their professional body.

Local delivery and support remains key and within the regions we are focusing our resources on making the biggest difference.

“Our public voice matters for the benefit of society, especially with a General Election fast approaching”

With budget restrictions, active members and staff teams are working to ensure our outputs are maintained and increased in 2010. Our public voice, or profile raising and policy work is just one aspect of this we are confident this is increasing.

Our public voice matters for the benefit of society, especially with a General Election fast approaching. Whatever the shape of national and regional politics post-election, functions have to be performed and decisions made. Our next State of the Nation report to be published in June, will provide a timely and comprehensive member-informed assessment of the UK’s infrastructure needs for whoever takes office.

All ICE regions are already engaging with local members to shape the vision and present it to those in power postelection.

The value of the ICE’s independent and expert voice cannot be over stated. Regional and national decision makers welcome our advice and the ICE’s policy input in infrastructure decisions is growing.

All of the nation’s infrastructure issues affect a region − the redevelopment of New Street station was a national issue in the West Midlands’ back-yard, and we in the region are delighted that this congested and outdated asset will be addressed, something we have called for over the last five years.

There are similar instances across the UK where the members’ collective voice has raised the profile of issues vital to the UK. Managed Motorways is another good example − ICE West Midlands has consistently showcased and supported roll-out of this innovative solution across the region and we are now seeing its implementation.

“We continue to do all we can to inform skills related decisions in addition to highlighting the possibilities that civil engineering offers to young people.”

Building capacity and skills policy affecting our profession is just as crucial as ensuring that infrastructure decisions are taken. We continue to do all we can to inform skills related decisions in addition to highlighting the possibilities that civil engineering offers to young people.

Our Technician QUEST scholarship pilot has proved a great success and is now being rolled out across the UK. Our pilot apprenticeship initiative is also being expanded and has achieved significant buy-in from major players and public bodies in the region.

So with many young technicians telling us that they have been “greatly encouraged” by the ICE’s moves to embrace them, and decisionmakers welcoming informed, independent policy input on infrastructure, we really are seeing a tangible difference as a result of turning up the volume on our public voice.


● Steve Feeley is head of English Regions and regional director, ICE West Midlands

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