Institution news

'Inside Track' - latest update from our President

Peter Flinn, President, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

This is the eighth and final edition of Inside Track for the 2021/22 year, based mainly on the Trustee Board meeting held on 21 April. As before, it aims to give you a summary of our discussions.

Welcomes

The President welcomed Martin Robinson, Chair of IMechE Council, and Katherine Henderson from our auditors, BDO LLP

Inclusion moment

Bims Alalade presented the inspiring story of William Kamkwamba (‘The Boy who Harnessed the Wind’) who built a functioning wind turbine from scrap items in his Malawian village.

The key strategic items for discussion in this meeting were the Annual Report and financial audit, progress with the work on the Royal Charter & By-laws, the future plans for the Birdcage Walk buildings, a progress report from the Strategy Committee, improving the coordination between Council and the Trustee Board, and work with UK government and policy organisations.

Financial performance

P3 results indicate that we are currently ahead of budget, due mainly to underspend on Learned Society activities. PEP limited is currently slightly behind budget but will at least catch up when a large Sonaspection project, where the client is asking for more work, is shipped.

Annual Report & Financial Audit

Draft copies of the Annual Report, including all text, photographs and diagrams had been available for several weeks and final comments were being processed. The report was finalised and posted on the website on 4 May, 21 days ahead of the AGM on 25 May.

The main issue over the past few weeks has been the independent verification by BDO of the balances in overseas bank accounts for both end 2020 and end 2021, following a tightening of regulations in this area. This required ‘Letters of Confirmation’ directly from the banks for each account. The main problems were in Singapore, Eastern Canada, Queensland and Sri Lanka (where there has been a state of emergency) but these have now been resolved thanks to the considerable efforts of staff and members.

Royal Charter & By-laws (RC & BL)

The five-strong group, led by Bridget Eickhoff and scoping a review of the Royal Charter and By-laws, has met several times and has asked stakeholders to: comment on the initial suggested ground rules; identify key areas where review and revision of the RC&BL are needed; identify any unresolved issues that they are aware of; identify any areas that could be moved between documents (from RC to BL or from BL to Regulations); identify any examples of good (or poor) practice from other organisations.

RESG Birdcage Walk Refurbishment Programme

We previously reported the work we are progressing following the Council meeting of 22 March. I am arranging a working group with members from Council, RESG and the Trustee Board to do this task to consolidate the financial analysis of the options for the HQ building and to develop the wording of a resolution to be put to the membership in a Special Meeting in a few months’ time.

Strategy Committee update

Giles Hartill reported that the Strategy Committee is currently pursuing two lines of development. Firstly, consultation engagements are taking place with governance committees about the outline strategy published in September 2021. Two meetings have been held so far with a further five planned which will run into July. Feedback from the engagements so far has been positive. Secondly, the three subject-specific work groups (impact, member development and digital) have their Terms of Reference and membership agreed and have their first meetings starting shortly. The overall end of year expectation is to have prioritised strategic objectives logically mapped out over next c. 3 years to feed into future business plans.

Improvement of Coordination between Council and Trustee Board

In a short paper presented by Alice Bunn, trustees approved the general approach to improving coordination between Trustee Board and Council, and agreed specifically the issues for closer coordination in the remainder of 2022, which focusses on three Business Plan Key Performance Indicators:

  • Strategy development– where a Council member is part of each of the three development areas- see above;
  • Development of a comprehensive complaints procedure– where work is just starting but Council have expressed a strong interest in this issue.
  • Decision on our HQ– where Council members are included on the new joint HQ working group -see also above.

Work with UK Government

A presentation from Alice Bunn summarised the many interactions the Institution is now having with different departments of the UK Government. Topics covered include the Institution’s priorities of: climate and sustainability, future transport, infectious disease control and education as well as more specific topics such as digital manufacturing, nuclear fusion, biomass and air quality. There are many other opportunities for further interaction limited only by resources.

Farewell

This is my last Inside Track before handing over to Phil Peel on 25 May. Thank you for reading my ramblings over the last year. It has been an interesting experience being President of IMechE, one which I shan’t forget! And so, best wishes to everyone.

Feedback

I hope you find the above to be of interest and your feedback is always welcome. You can contact me at president@imeche.org

Subscribe for the next issue

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Peter Flinn MA MBA CEng FIMechE
President

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