The first meeting of the 2019 Council session.
The ICE Council met on Tuesday 11 December to endorse In Plain Sight, discuss how to create an effective relationship between the Trustee Board and Council, and consider the next steps following the Global Engineering Congress (GEC) that took place in October.
The Council also whole-heartedly supported the Institution placing itself at the heart of the digital infrastructure revolution.
In Plain Sight
ICE Past President Tim Broyd commissioned Past President Peter Hansford to investigate whether a similar tragedy to the Grenfell Tower fire could happen again in the UK’s infrastructure. As a consequence the Hansford Review team produced a report “In Plain Sight: assuring the whole-life safety of infrastructure”. Julie Bregulla FICE, Commission member presented the findings of the report to Council.
The report makes 11 recommendations to help mitigate the risk of infrastructure failure across the built environment.
Following a discussion of the report, Council whole-heartedly agreed with and endorsed the report’s recommendations. Council believes it should lead the profession’s reaction to In Plain Sight and should oversee and direct the work of the ICE to implement the recommendations.
Council members volunteered to sit on a Council working group, chaired by Helen Samuels, Engineering Director at Network Rail, to drive through the work.
The working group will report back to Council in April 2019.
The relationship between ICE’s Trustee Board and Council
The relationship between the Council and the Trustee Board was discussed.
Council agreed that the ICE was there to lead work that no other group can undertake. In so doing, Council members stressed the importance of being outward-facing, addressing the issues faced by our members and by society. Council looked to the Trustee Board to exercise governance over the institution, thereby allowing Council to lead the debate on the big issues facing industry and our members.
Above all. Council seeks to be a bold, ambitious and insightful voice of the profession, representing the views of civil engineers in addressing the challenges faced over the forthcoming years.
Council took firm ownership of the agenda of issues it wishes to discuss and agreed that discussions should be strategic, focused, and should be led by Council members supported by the staff.
Global Engineering Congress (GEC)
Council members Emma Kent and Matt Colton presented a paper to Council about the Global Engineering Congress.
They both set out how proud they were to have been associated with such an event, and how much the ICE’s international reputation had been enhanced as a consequence of the GEC.
They challenged Council to discuss how to capitalise on the knowledge gained, the relationships formed, and to build on the energy that had flowed from the congress.
A variety of topics were debated: the need for genuine strategic discussion on how the global profession could take forward the learning from GEC, the need to work in partnership with the myriad of engineering and international organisations who attended GEC (and others who subsequently want to become part of the GEC family).
In a recurrent theme throughout all of the Council discussions, Council members stressed the need for the ICE to reach out to those who work in our industry, not just civil engineers, and the importance of providing a natural professional home to all of those engaged in the provision and maintenance of infrastructure.
Council also stressed the importance of understanding the potential legacy of the GEC.
As with the In Plain Sight discussion, Council felt it important that members led the subsequent work. Several volunteers agreed to work with Emma and Matt to consider how ICE can best work with others to achieve the aims of the GEC programme. That group will report back to Council in April 2019.
President Andrew Wyllie tabled a paper for Council to debate. He asked the question: is the provision of digitally enabled infrastructure actually civil engineering. The debate was vigorous and enthusiastic.
Council agreed that our industry, and our Institution, is not alone in facing some fundamental strategic issues as the world changes at an exponential rate. Technology-enabled infrastructure is increasingly core business for many organisations in the sector as we enter the fourth industrial revolution.
Council asked some rhetorical questions: does the ICE want to be at the forefront of the technological changes, does the profession wish to embrace the changing nature of technology as part of our future, and should the profession focus on both asset operation as well as construction.
The answers were obvious to Council and were all “yes”. Council members agreed fully to support embracing digital technology as part of civil engineering.
But more fundamentally, Council recognised the need for the ICE to change and adapt if it is to be able to meet the needs of a very rapidly changing profession. Time and again, people stressed the importance of working with others to ensure the infrastructure we create and operate is fit for the 21st century.
The discussion scratched the surface, and Council agreed that a Council working group should meet to review how the ICE might move quickly to address the issues. That group will report back in April 2019.
The Council approved the Terms of Reference and membership of the Presidential Commission into Governance to be chaired by Past President David Orr. Those terms of reference are now on the ICE website.
Council elected Paul Sheffield as ICE President for 2019-2020. It also approved Council member appointments on the Nomination Committee, as well as the election timetable for the 2019 Council Ballot.
Council will next meet on 16 April 2019.