Over the past few years, the ICE trustees have implemented several changes to modernise the governance of the Institution.
Following extensive consultation with Council and the membership, the trustees have recommended changes which will require amendments to the Royal Charter and By-laws. Members will be asked to approve the following changes in the ballot opening in February 2022.
Broadening Membership and the “Chartered Infrastructure Engineer” qualification
In 2016, the ICE, IET and IMechE commissioned Professor John Uff CBE QC FREng to undertake a wide-ranging review of the engineering professional landscape. The final report was published in March 2017 as the Uff Review.
The Institution has spent the intervening years addressing many of the recommendations: we have improved advice to government(s); promoted civil engineering in schools; shared engineering knowledge with a raft of organisations; accredited a broader range of academic courses and looked at how to engage and support members of the engineering profession who are not currently professionally registered.
After much debate, the Trustees recommend that the Institution should apply to register the protected title of ‘Chartered Infrastructure Engineer’. It is important to note that registration for Chartered Engineer (CEng) remains with the Engineering Council; as a professional engineering institution, we are licensed to assess and qualify aspiring engineers to that standard.
The title Chartered Infrastructure Engineer is a protected title, like the Chartered Civil Engineer descriptor – and as such it would be “owned” by ICE to recognise chartered engineers in our part of the engineering profession. The qualifying process (educational standard, professional development, and professional review) would remain at the same very high standard we set our chartered civil engineers.
That standard is sacrosanct and retaining our Engineering Council Licence is dependent upon applying consistent and robust assessment standards.
ICE Council debated the issue at length and asked if the Institution might amend its Royal Charter and By-laws to incorporate the new protected title of 'Chartered Infrastructure Engineer'. The Engineering Council and British Government have agreed that the Institution can apply to effect those changes through the Privy Council.
Trustees agreed that the ICE should apply to incorporate this new descriptor to permit non-civil engineers working in infrastructure who, at professional review, are able to demonstrate contextualised competence and experience, to be awarded the Institution's qualification of ‘Chartered Infrastructure Engineer’.
Trustees feel that it is important to stress that there is no suggestion that people who do not hold the necessary engineering qualifications and competence would be able to pass the Chartered Infrastructure Engineer professional review. All Chartered Engineer professional qualifications, while awarded by one of the Professional Engineering Institutions, derive from a licence issued by the Engineering Council.
Trustees are very clear that this standard is inviolable.
To be successful, a candidate would need to demonstrate Master's degree level understanding of engineering knowledge within the context of infrastructure. This is exactly the same as for all other CEng qualifications.
Most applicants for Chartered Civil Engineer hold a Master’s degree accredited by the Joint Board of Moderators or, particularly for degrees awarded outside the UK, recognised by our own Academic Qualifications Panel as being equivalent. Some do not, but still wish to be Chartered Civil Engineers.
Those candidates either submit a technical report and attend an interview to demonstrate their ‘academic’ knowledge, or they undertake further learning as directed by the Academic Qualifications Panel.
The Institution would expect the same academic and experiential rigour from candidates seeking to be awarded the Chartered Infrastructure Engineer qualification.
Both Council and Trustees see this as a significant opportunity for the Institution and recommend very strongly that the membership approves the proposal in a member ballot.
Previous Governance Updates
In 2021, the membership voted to amend the Institution’s Royal Charter and By-laws to re-designate Technician Members as ‘Corporate Members’ with full voting rights. Members also voted to extend the voting rights of Graduate members to entitle them to vote on subscription rate changes, elections of Ordinary Members to the Trustee Board, elections of members to the Council and resolutions at Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings.
Members also approved changes to the By-laws to amend the Rules of Professional Conduct in line with best practice; to remove defunct and inactive membership grades and to correct the document’s syntax.
In 2019, the ICE Council and Trustee Board agreed in full the findings from the Presidential Commission’s Final Report. The recommendations of this report have now been implemented.
A number of the findings of the Presidential Commission aimed to improve the transparency in the Institution’s governance processes. Below are some examples of the changes we have incorporated.
- Volunteer Handbook – provides useful advice on how members can get more engaged with ICE.
- Terms of Reference - current Terms of Reference for the Trustee Board, Council, Nomination Committee and the main standing committees which report to the Trustee Board.
- Governance Handbook – serves as a simple guide to ICE Governance and is updated each year to reflect emerging best practice. It is available on the Trustee Board page on the ICE website.
- Trustee Board Minutes – minutes are published after each Trustee Board meeting once approved by the chair and are then confirmed once approved at the subsequent meeting.
- President’s Calendar – details past and forthcoming events so that members may be aware of the President’s considerable activities.
- Annual and Special General Meetings – provides details about our Annual General Meetings, Annual Reports and Special General Meetings.
The Commission’s Findings also required changes to the Disciplinary Regulations and the Terms of Reference for a number of the principal committees of the Institution. The most up to date versions of the Disciplinary Regulations can be found on the Royal Charter, By-Laws and Regulations webpage. The Boards, Committees and Panels webpage is regularly updated with the current terms of reference of the Institution.
For more information on the Presidential Commission’s findings and to read the final report, please visit the Presidential Commission page.
If you would like more information about any of the proposed governance changes, please email [email protected].