In its April meeting, the ICE Council discussed the role of communications, Design Champions and PAS 2080.
At its spring session, the ICE Council heard how the institution manages communications to engage with its audiences and discussed how it can define and develop the Design Champion role, as well as looking ahead at the knowledge programme for the 23/24 session.
Engaging with audiences
The ICE exists to improve lives by ensuring the world has the engineering capacity and infrastructure systems it needs to allow our planet and those who live on it to thrive.
Trustees are clear that they want the institution to be an externally facing, global beacon of excellence, respected for being exciting, trusted, authoritative, insightful, proactive, ethical, fair, and above all, independent.
But we can only fulfil our purpose if we are able to engage our various stakeholders with the work that we do, and the ICE’s communications team are central to that work.
Interim director of communications Simon Barney gave council members an overview of how they work with colleagues and members to communicate the work the institution does and promote our profession.
It offered an informative insight into the hard work that goes on behind the scenes into ensuring the institution is seen as the voice of infrastructure by decision makers and the public, and in engaging members with our principal themes including decarbonisation, sustainability, and resilience.
It is the depth and breadth of our members’ expertise that allows us to demonstrate to the world that the institution is at the forefront of tackling these critical societal challenges.
The Design Champion role was mandated by the UK government in its National Infrastructure Strategy in November 2020.
It stated its commitment to embedding good design in all infrastructure projects and demonstrated this by requiring all infrastructure projects to have a board-level design champion in place by the end of 2021 at either the project, programme or organisational level.
The strategy was a response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment which, while recommending the creation of the design champion role did not specify what skills, experience and attributes the person should have.
The National Infrastructure Commission has however established four design principles for climate, people, place and value, and it is expected that a design champion would seek to ensure that projects are delivered against this framework.
A range of suggestions were put forward by council members at a session hosted by director of engineering knowledge Mark Hansford and co-chair of the Engineering Fundamentals Community Advisory Board, Tim Chapman.
Apart from technical skills, these included a broad appreciation of the wider social, economic and environmental context of projects, exceptional communications skills, an ability to understand budgets and programmes, empathy to see things from other points of view and being open to innovation.
It was a wide-ranging discussion that heard views not only around skills/attributes but also the behaviours required. The ICE will now build on this input to produce industry guidance.
Engineering knowledge programme
As the pinnacle of the learning society, council has a vital role to play in helping steer the institution’s knowledge programme.
David Porter, Vice-President Learning Society led a look ahead at key projects for 2023/23.
This revealed plenty for council members to get involved with including work on a deep dive into the SDGs, the decarbonisation programme, the CPD content programme, the State of the Nation report, the Design Champions project and a new Nature-Based Solutions programme.
The institution will also look at ways in which it can promote the adoption of the PAS2080 framework, a vital standard for managing and reducing carbon in the built environment.
Election of new trustee board members
Council also confirmed Julie Wood as ICE vice president from November 2023, with a view to becoming president of the institution in November 2026, subject to interim annual election by the council.