ICE PAST president Mark Whitby has launched a stinging attack on 'complacent' engineering institutions, arguing that they should be stripped of their charitable status for failing to do enough for society.
In an impassioned speech given at the Institution of Structural Engineers last week, Whitby branded institutions 'enlightened self-interest groups'.
'I do not believe they are entitled to be called charities, as they do not serve society as they should, ' he said.
Charitable status is typically conferred on institutions to promote the lds their members represent.
The ICE's charitable objectives are 'to foster and promote the art and science of civil engineering'.
Whitby said engineers lacked a coherent voice. He also pointed to the falling number of students taking physics Alevels.
Numbers have fallen 50% under the watch of science minister Lord Sainsbury he said yet 'did any institution call for his head'?
Whitby proposed having a confederation to represent all engineering interests, much as the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) represents business. 'It has great government influence. Governments eat out of its hand, ' he said.
Success would be when 'our voice is seen as critical as the CBI's', he said. 'Now? You are just mice. It's embarrassing. The government wants the voice to come through - they need it.' Current ICE president Quentin Leiper defended his Institution's role.
'In terms of promoting our profession, we have dedicated staff and members who are actively raising the prole of civil engineering and serving society, whether they're based in One Great George Street, UK regions or around the world.'