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New Year resolutions

ICE News kicks off the new year by looking back at the Institution's performance in 1998, and looking forward to the principal aims for the coming year.

RECRUITMENT DRIVE of new international members in 1999 is a key aim reflected in a recent report to Council reviewing the Institution's achievements for 1998 and future plans.

Main successes of each division were presented as well as areas for improvement in a year when the International Division will be given a 45% budget boost, while technical affairs are facing a downsizing of activities due to a 9% drop in budget.

International Division

Review

The pan-engineering initiative to combat world poverty led to the establishment of the Telford Challenge as an independent charity after initial work from director international John Whitwell to help develop the concept. Assistant director international affairs Dominic Verschoyle recently left his post to take on the job as project director of the challenge.

Four years preparation was crowned by an ICE/IStructE joint accreditation agreement with China's Ministry of Construction during the presidential tour in May. Since then, 18 Chinese universities have been recognised.

International local associations grew in number last year to 26, including new ICE establishments in Saudi Arabia and Dublin. This compares with 18 in 1997 and 12 in 1996.

New Year Resolutions

Increase international membership by attempting to retrace a glorious past in India, once awash with ICE members, and build on a strong base in Sri Lanka, that already boasts 400 ICE members, during the presidential tour of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangledesh.

Russia is another main target for increasing membership, according to the report. With plentiful funding from the British Council for initiatives in Russia, international division hope to build on last year when 14 candidates passed reviews for associate membership. They

will be helped by new country representative Dr Mikhail Lachinov.

Technical & Engineering Division Review

Technical boards and associated societies held events attracting 15,000 members and other professionals.

Highlights for 98 included a response to the Government's integrated transport white paper; publication of six environmental policy statements for the Institution, and the launching of a best value pilot programme with participation from 40 local authorities.

New Year Resolutions

The best value report is expected in May, enabling local authorities to develop new strategies to replace compulsory competitive tendering.

Closer links will be developed with the British Geotechnical Society and the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

The Industry Practices Committee will launch the 7th edition of ICE conditions of contract and a list of ICE experts for various disciplines will be published.

Downsizing of activities will be needed with a 9% reduction in budget for 1999, instead of the usual 3% increase. Director Engineering John Plumb said: 'We must look more carefully at exactly what we are doing and decide what to prioritise.'

Consultation is one of the activities facing cuts. Last year's figure of 180 consultations will be reduced. There will be less of the smaller consultations on issues less relevant to engineering.

Board of Incorporated & Engineering Technicians

Figures of 156 submissions for Incorporated Professional Review and 60 for Technician Professional Review were down on previous years.

Progress towards the Cawthra Commission recommendation that 'BIET should be wound up as soon as a fully vertically integrated

Institution is established', was made.

Voting rights for associate members to vote for territorial members of council is now awaiting Privy Council approval.

Agreement that all qualified classes are 'professional' was reached. The title incorporated civil engineer and civil engineering technician were approved.

But full integration at local association level was still proving difficult.

Professional Development Division

Review

A year of deliverance climaxed with publication of the ICE 2000 Documents on new routes to membership, CPD and widening membership. The ICE 2000 series was sent out to supervising civil engineers, student liaison officers and civil engineering heads of department.

Graduate members of 12 years standing or more were given some gentle persuasion to consider the step towards Affiliate, Membership or even Fellowship class. Over 4,500 graduate members were contacted.

Statistics were generally pleasing to professional development director Richard Larcombe. Registering of training agreements increased 24.4%, while the number of 1,224 Professional Review candidates was described by Larcombe as 'steady', although there had been a decline in the number of candidates for Incorporated and TechnicianProfessional Reviews.

New Year Resolutions

New Routes to membership equals new training skills for 1,800 supervising civil engineers and 400 reviewers to acquire. If an anticipated surge of candidates from India and Russia emerge, reviews will be organised.

But Larcombe's main objective is to cement a family feel to each qualified grade of membership, particularly for technician

and associate members.

'Not enough time has been spent on promoting three grades of qualified membership as a family.' He will also be exploring opportunities to make associates and technicians a more attractive grade. Increased numbers are needed if the Board of Incorporated and Engineering Technician's is to be fully integrated into the Institution.

Public Affairs Division

Review

Meetings with high profile politicians, including International Development Minister Clare Short and Regional Development minister Richard Carbon, were set up by Public Affairs. Urban regeneration was the subject of an all party parliamentary group for the Built Environment hosted by the ICE.

Three briefing meetings between the seven MPs who are engineers and secretaries of the engineering institutions were held at the ICE. Over the road at the House of Commons, 26 MPs and 10 lords were attracted to the parliamentary terrace meeting hosted by the ICE.

Media coverage was an area of particular satisfaction to director public affairs Ian Moore. Chairman of the Structural & Building Board Scott Steadman took the main plaudits by making his TV debut on the Discovery Channel, presenting a serialised history of civil engineering.

New Year Resolutions

Proposed contact with government ministers include a meeting on long term water supply with Environment Minister Michael Meacher and discussion of Integrated Transport strategy with Secretary of State for Transport Dr John Reid.

Media continues to be a key aim for Moore and his team. 'We are hoping to build on our current success in radio and TV coverage. The Ground Breaking programme broadcast on Radio Four in December showed what good spokespeople the ICE have, said Moore. We were delighted with the way the programme dealt with the parliamentary and environmental aspects of projects like the Cardiff Bay Barrage, Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Manchester Airport.' The string of programmes will continue in June with a World Service series featuring major construction projects.

Within ICE, urged on by vice president public affairs Joe Dwyer, the division will make it its business to become involved with all aspects of communication.

Library

Over the last year there has been a rise in tours of One Great George Street co-ordinated by head librarian Mike Chrimes. Great George Street's inclusion in the list of London's most interesting buildings led to hundreds of visitors being shown around the Portland stone headquarters as part of the city's traditional open house event.

Chrimes made seven visits to libraries of other institutions to compare notes, but must have been pleased that back in his own library, e-mail enquiries went up by 20%.

Book stocks were enhanced with the acquisition of the Adcock collection. The papers trace the work of the Stroyer-Adcock consulting engineering partnership, one of the first practices to specialise in reinforced concrete.

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