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Panels tap expert knowledge

Overseas brief

A battalion of civil engineering experts is to be recruited by the ICE to ensure members' abilities are exploited to the full.

The proposal, approved by ICE's Council recently, will lead to formation of an expert panel to breathe new life into the ICE's technical activities. Creation of the panel is part of a shake up of the ICE's technical boards.

The move follows concern that the Institution was not tapping into the breadth and depth of the membership's knowledge.

Now the Institution is to seek out 'well-rounded professionals, recognised as leaders in their field' and ask them to join the expert panel. They would fill a number of roles, including:

commenting on consultation documents and joining ICE working parties to develop policy;

acting as reviewers of research projects supported by the Institution's R&D enabling fund;

preparing short occasional papers for publication;

commenting to the media on behalf of the Institution;

supporting the work of the boards 'without being subsumed into administrative roles or being required to attend frequent meetings.'

The expert panel will further the Institution's aim to be more proactive, taking the initiative during consultation periods or during the early stage of policy development. The Council paper, presented by ICE technical and engineering vice president David Cawthra, states: 'Leadership and forward planning...is essential.'

The engineering boards will be given a stronger management role. Membership will be reduced from 12 to between six and eight and their main role will be to deliver 'focused and targeted activities'. They will draw up individual business plans and support working groups to tackle specific tasks.

As a result of the changes, the ICE will holder fewer, but higher profile lectures, seminars and meetings. The paper says 'the programmes of local associations should regularly include conferences and events provided by the boards'.

The final tier of technical and engineering activities will be pan-disciplinary committees responsible for Research and Innovation and Publications.

ICE technical and engineering director Amar Bhogal 44 20 7665 2202, bhogal_a@ice.org.uk.

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