Regionalisation was first conceived in 2000 when Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were given executive secretaries.
Having permanent personnel gave these regions more control and allowed them to forge better links between members, industry and academia. Other regions watched with interest.
'By 2001, all the regional chairs wanted to be part of the system, ' says ICE vice president Colin Clinton (above). Two years later four pilot regions were identified in England to roll out the scheme. In the same year the 16 ICE regions realigned to match the new regional development agencies.
By April 2004 the seven other regions were anxious to gain more autonomy, pushing the ICE to sign up to full regionalisation across the UK by late 2005.