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Professional review programme FAQs

The Institution of Civil Engineers will rebalance its professional reviews programme, with refinements coming into effect after the March 2024 session.

The ICE moved rapidly to online and more frequent reviews when the pandemic hit in 2020, but the time has come to rebalance the programme. The ICE has been guided by a major stakeholder survey as described in this news article.

We trust the following FAQs will help explain the changes that will follow after the March 2024 review session.

The professional review process is not changing. However, we are changing the session frequency to one every four months and rebalancing the mix of online and in-person reviews to offer more in-person.

The key changes coming into effect after the March 2024 session are:

  • Session frequency: the ICE will run three main review sessions a year centred on February, June, and October plus an additional main session in Hong Kong in October.
  • Session format: at least one week in each session will be in-person with reviewer training, briefings, and workshops run in parallel. The remaining weeks will be online.
  • Session locations: London, UK will be the focus for in-person reviews, with additional in-person sessions at other locations in the UK and internationally.

There are two main reasons.

Moving to sessions every four months allows one session to close before the next begins, and ensures a more sustainable programme, particularly for reviewers who find they can be juggling three sessions at once at the moment (i.e. submitting results from the previous session, preparing interviews for the current session, and booking ahead for the following one). It also offers candidates more frequent opportunities to sit than before the pandemic when we offered two review sessions per year for most candidates. We believe this is a positive move for both candidates and reviewers.

The other update is to increase the proportion of in-person reviews. The change is needed to bring reviewers together in numbers to support the training and networking that are so vital for good practice and consistency across the reviewer community, while the strong online component ensures reviews remain open and accessible to all. Candidates can be allocated to either format, and reviewers will be asked to review to both formats to ensure we maintain consistent standards across the whole of the reviewer community.   

We need to support candidates getting ready to sit a review in the coming months and therefore we will not change the session frequency before March 2024. Thereafter, we will hold the main review sessions in June 2024, October 2024 and February 2025 with the three-session a year pattern then repeating in future. The main session in Hong Kong will be held in October.

Full details including application deadlines are on the key dates webpage.

The review itself is unchanged.

The main sessions will occur three times a year after March 2024.

If you are a reviewer, you will be contacted less frequently, and we hope you will be keener to commit with a more sustainable framework over the year.

If you are a candidate, reviews will be less frequent than now, but you will still get the opportunity to sit three times a year. This is more frequent than before the pandemic when there were two main review sessions per year.

Importantly for everyone involved, we aim to avoid major holiday seasons and hope that more widely spaced review sessions will be a benefit for all.

In addition, we may ask you to attend a review in either format, although we will seek to accommodate individual needs and requirements where we can. We trust you will understand that this small reduction in choice is necessary to ensure the standard of reviews continues to be fair and robust.

2024 will be a year of transition and therefore there will be four main sessions, each with online and in-person reviews:

  • January 2024: in-person reviews (London) and online
  • March 2024: in-person reviews (London) and online
  • June 2024: in-person reviews (Birmingham) and online
  • October 2024: in-person reviews (Manchester) and online

In addition, we will run a major in-person session in Hong Kong in October.

You will find the application deadlines for all those sessions on the key dates webpage.

Please note that we have combined the sessions scheduled for May and July 2024 into a new June 2024 review session. We assume that candidates will be able to adjust their plans accordingly, but would encourage anyone who thinks they are adversely affected by that change to contact the reviews team via the [email protected] email.

From 2025 onwards London will become the focus for each main UK session, with additional in-person reviews offered in Belfast (February), Edinburgh (June), and Cardiff (October).

Outside the UK, we will continue to run a main in-person session in Hong Kong in October and, from 2025 onwards, we will return to offering in-person reviews at other locations according to demand.

There have been some modest changes to the guidance to reflect the revised approach, with the latest versions available on our website.

You will be able to indicate a preference, and we will do our best to match you. However, it may not be possible to meet every preference every time. For example, we may ask you to review in the other format depending on your co-reviewer and their reviewing preferences.

In addition, it is vital that reviewers have experience of reviewing in both formats – online and in-person – to ensure consistency across the reviewer community. For example, if your preference is online, we will ask you to carry out an in-person review one in every four review days.

Yes, very much so.

We are reintroducing review weeks at different locations to provide more in-person review opportunities, but also to create the numbers for reviewer training and briefings at those venues to support networking and good practice sharing.

We recognise that reviewers will want to engage online in many cases. With that in mind, the main session briefings will be both in-person and online as will reviewer CPD, the annual reviewers conference, and refresher training.

However, we will ask you to carry out an in-person review at least once in every four review days, as part of ICE's commitment to achieving consistency across both review formats – online and in-person. In addition, we will ask you to attend in-person if you are involved in new reviewer training.

Yes, the policy of volunteer expenses remains unchanged.

No, the professional review itself is unchanged. It is only the frequency of sessions that will change from a candidate perspective. We already offer both online and in-person reviews and the guidance will explain what is required under both formats.

Yes, but we may have to allocate you to an online review depending on application numbers and the availability of reviewers who match your specialism and work-type.

The exception to this rule is if you have individual requirements that mean you need an in-person review, in which cases ICE meets all reasonable requests.

As part of ICE’s commitment to minimising its carbon footprint, our default position is that we will not accept requests from candidates who need to fly to attend an in-person review session.

If you have individual requirements that mean you need an in-person review, and none are scheduled near you, let us know in your application form and we will seek to find a solution that meets your individual needs.

It is imperative that we deliver reviewer training, including review observations, at the scale necessary to ensure the integrity of the reviews programme.

Our priority, therefore, after addressing individual requirements, is to match candidates and reviewers at those in-person sessions.

Thereafter we will factor in candidate preference and travel to reflect each candidate’s wishes and convenience as best we can, but you may be allocated to either format depending on the reviewers you are matched with.

You can expect at least four-weeks’ notice, whether sitting in-person or online.

Normally you will provide that information with your application, confirming availability and any individual requirements (e.g. health issues, caring duties, etc.).

If an issue arises unexpectedly after you have submitted your application, please contact the reviews team at [email protected] to explain your change in circumstances. 

No. ICE pays the expenses of volunteers who support the reviews but not candidates. If you are facing financial hardship, please contact the reviews team at [email protected] to speak to a member of staff in confidence.

Yes, the three main sessions will be open to EPA candidates as well as professional review candidates.

ICE is aware that EPAs may work to a different timetable and will be consulting with apprenticeship training providers to ensure EPA sessions can align with apprenticeship programmes.

Not if we plan carefully.

A key driver for the change to the main reviews programme is to ensure it is sustainable for all involved, and particularly for reviewers. We cannot deliver reviews or EPAs without them, and ICE will not compromise on that position.

We recognise alternative arrangements may be necessary for EPAs and will come forward with specific proposals that protect both apprentices and ICE reviewers after we have consulted with apprenticeship training providers.

Any further questions?

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