I feel I must respond to some of the points made by Stephen Hare (NCE last week) concerning the professional review process, the ICE and the Engineering Council. The peer review interview system conducted by the Institution is totally in accord with the Engineering Council's SARTOR 3 document and the licence granted to ICE to undertake such professional reviews.
While any review system will never give a perfect answer, to suggest it is 'a lottery resulting in excellent candidates failing and absolute duffers passing' is absurd and without foundation.
Likewise, the suggestion by Mr Hare that reviewers target failing one in three cannot be sustained.
The reason I say this, is that as chairman of the Institution's Audit Panel in 1999 and 2000, my colleague and I carried out audits on the review process, during the course of which we sat in on some 15 different pairs of reviewers. Our reports to the professional development committee stated, without exception, that we were impressed with the thorough preparation in absorbing the written submissions, in placing the candidates at ease to give them the best opportunity of demonstrating their professional capabilities, and the fair but wide ranging and open ended questions.
Finally, in reaching their recommendation, the reviewers gave proper weight to all the relevant factors.
The review process was originally developed by ICE and adopted by the Engineering Council as the ultimate demonstration of achievement of competence. It is one of the major successes of the UK system and much admired worldwide.
David Rogers (F) email@example.com