Institution news

From Birdcage Walk

Chief Executive

One Birdcage Walk
One Birdcage Walk

The latest in our ongoing series of updates about activities at the Institution.

Dear Member,

When Fleetwood Mac wrote their famous song ‘The Chain’, known to many of us as the theme tune to Formula One programmes on television, they could not have known that 41 years later we would be using its title and message at Birdcage Walk to guide a young member evening. 

Chains do indeed ‘keep us together’ and we enjoyed having six other professional institutions join us to celebrate the careers of five inspirational young engineers.  The UK Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering 2018, Stephen Metcalfe MP was there too.  What came through for many was that although these young engineers had never met each other, and were members of different bodies, their stories were remarkably similar.  They had all shown energy, commitment and a spirit to progress that was intimately linked to the way that their own institution could help them.  It was certainly heartwarming to see at first hand the career support that bodies like ours can give.  Anyone in favour of a more unified engineering profession could also see that there is more in common between our institutions than the detail of the subject matter that divides us.   Find out more about the CHAIN initiative and how you can get involved.  

Meanwhile, people who definitely had met each other before were our Council members who gathered together again on Thursday.  It was an almost full house which reflects the greater engagement we are now getting from across our institution.  Indeed on the day there was a lot of ‘rolling up of sleeves’ to help us improve as we plan our 2019 programme.  It was clear that even basic issues like linking our strategic thinking to our actions on the ground would benefit from closer engagement.  We have any number of ‘strategy’ boards, across technology, geography, education, age etc. that have much more to give in the planning cycle.  There was also a call to ensure that our planning was committed to over more like five years, rather than being overtaken each year by the current annual review.  The actual ‘Strategy Advisory Committee’ doesn’t meet until January, but it can be sure it will have a good deal of input from across our Institution before then.

Finally, as many know, our two major Reviews, Finance and Governance, are now underway.  Indeed the Finance Review is in the process of submitting its initial findings to the Trustee Board as we type.  We will then be sharing those much more widely with the whole membership, most likely with some Trustee comment on their initial response, in the coming weeks.  We are very grateful for the detailed work that Bill Edgar and Mike Howse are putting in with their teams.  As we know, the final reports will be quite substantial and will link together as well, around May of next year.  One useful comment on both reviews as a guide from Council reflects the current desire for substance over style - that members are looking for data and logic, not glossy brochures.  Do remember therefore that if they follow that advice, you will need to stock up on your black print cartridges rather than your colour ones for when the time comes.

Colin Brown

Chief Executive (Interim)

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