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Merger consultation draws low turnout

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CONSULTATIONS ON a proposed merger between the Institutions of Civil and Mechanical Engineers attracted interest from just 13% of their combined 155,461 members.

The two institutions have been seeking comments over the last six weeks.

ICE Council this week devoted two hours of its July meeting to a discussion of the consultation findings.

But the result of these discussions and the outcome of the consultation will remain confidential until all the findings have been jointly discussed by the joint ICE/IMechE merger steering group over the summer.

'This issue is at a very sensitive stage, ' explained ICE president Colin Clinton ahead of the Council discussion. 'We need to talk to the Mechanicals and agree a coherent message based on informed opinion and the views of both trustee bodies before giving ICE and IMechE members details about the way we move forward.' IMechE trustees were due to discuss the outcome of the consultation yesterday (Wednesday).

Interest in the issue was clearly greater among IMechE members with 15% responding to the consultation compared to just 11.6% from the ICE.

Response from younger ICE members was way below that of their elders.

Less than 7% of ICE graduate members and 8% of ICE student members replied to the consultation, compared to 31% of ICE fellows.

This is despite a concerted campaign by the ICE's National Graduates & Students Committee (NGSC) to secure a voice in the process for younger ICE members of the ICE.

'Yes, we want graduates and students to get more involved in these discussions in the future, ' said Richard Crawford, graduate Council member. 'But it's the first time that we have been included in this kind of consultation and so we are pleased with the result.' Antony Oliver (see leader p15)

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