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Room charges row close to settlement

A resolution is in sight between the ICE and its associated societies over the Institution’s move to double room and services charges.

The 16 affiliated societies, including the British Tunnelling Society and British Geotechnical Association, held a second meeting to broker a deal with the ICE last week. The meetings followed the associated societies’ threat to invoke a special general meeting to challenge Council’s decision to reduce financial support for associated groups.

“We have found some middle ground and are having constructive, ongoing dialogue,” said Society for Earthquake and Civil Engineering Dynamics (SECED) chairman Ian Smith.

Smith admitted that while the majority of associations are happy with the new proposal, SECED and the Offshore Engineering Society (OES) have some reservations.

“In principle we agree, but do not want to make a greater contribution in fees to the ICE than last year,” said Smith.

The need to cut costs

The ICE decided to cut the discount it offers its affiliated groups on room bookings from 75% to 50% in a bid to plug a hole in its budget. Room and services costs already account for 85% of some societies’ outgoings.

But OES chairman Neil Glover said the dispute has had a positive effect on the relationship between the ICE and its associated societies: “As a result of this tiff, the ICE seems to have a greater understanding of the value of societies.”

ICE president Paul Jowitt has assured Council that a proposal will be solidified and submitted by its next meeting on 2 March.

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