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Seven divisions to run ICE affairs

REORGANISATION PLANS for ICEs head office were passed unanimously by Council last week following an impassioned speech by President Sir Alan Cockshaw.

This is the day that you start changing the culture of the Institution to what we need. We live in a rapidly changing world, he urged the assembled senior members of the profession.

Management of the Institutions affairs is to be split into seven separately responsible and accountable divisions. They need to be managed very much better than at the moment, said Cockshaw, who at the same time praised the staff and wonderful excellence in the people here.

But he summarised: Weve got to make it work better.

Staff and the structure of the Institution secretariat were excluded from the remit of the Future Framework Presidential Commission which reported to Council last autumn with 228 recommendations for change. Director General & Secretary Roger Dobson, and the President explained to Council on Tuesday last week how opinions had been canvassed widely on the management structure needed.

They all came up with the same answer, said Dobson when presenting the reorganisation plan. The seven divisions will be sharply focused with specific areas of responsibility which will be devolved to staff managers far more than in the past.

The basic concept, stated the briefing paper to Council is for members to make the policies (for their Institution) and the staff to be responsible for implementation. But in the development of policy, the senior staff relate directly to the corresponding senior members. Cockshaw explained to Council that it was for them, the President and vice presidents to develop strategy for the Institution: We dont want to be so much involved in detail.

Biggest change from the current structure is that new separate divisions will have responsibility for external relations, international and member services. The other four are intended to be empowered versions of the current organisation with responsibility for: professional development (formerly education, training and membership), technical, finance, and commercial operations (Thomas Telford Limited).

Each division will have a director who will report to the DG&S and work closely with Council and members through one of five vice presidents, the senior vice-president or TTL chairman.

Cockshaws intention with the new management structure was, he told Council, about fitting square pegs in square holes. Weve got to have directors in this Institution charged with getting the day to day stuff done.

Asked by Terry Mulroy if there had been consultation with ICE staff, Dobson explained: I have been talking to staff but not gone into detailed discussions yet.

There will be minor changes in job descriptions, he added. In terms of perception of responsibilities there is a step change. Weve got good staff here and we want them to be able to realise their potential.

Aim of the new external relations division is to put ICE at the centre said the DG&S, making it the natural place for the media to refer. Engineers who can work effectively with the media need to be identified and put up as representatives of the profession.

Member services would concentrate on the all-important contact with members and was probably the most important part of the ICE, Council was told. Object of a dedicated division is to improve contact between Great George Street and individuals, and the UK and European local associations.

The international division will specialise on the particular needs of members who live outside Europe, some 20% of the total. We need to serve some members better, declared the DG&S. He quoted Hong Kong as the only place with a similar concentration of members to the UK. Others are scattered around the globe. David Cawthra emphasised that it was necessary to think about what these members need out of this Institution.

Professional development was described as nothing really new compared with the present organisation but a better performance was wanted from the division.

Commercial ventures of TTL are the powerhouse to finance the things we need to do, said Dobson. We are presently looking at how we can get more value out of our operations.

Details of the names of staff responsible for the new divisions had not been announ- ced when NCE went to press this week.

Mike Winney

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