In response to a petition from members the Institution is working with the Engineering Council to investigate the licensing of Chartered Engineers.
Some 55 members sent a petition to the Trustees requesting the Institution of Mechanical Engineers to conduct a ballot of its corporate members with regard to:
- Parity with similar titles in the European Union for the title Chartered Engineer
- Recognition of the title Chartered Engineer in UK Statute
- Use of the title of CEng as a pre-nominal recognised within the European Union
- A strategy to raise public awareness of the title Chartered Engineer and pre-nominal CEng
- Online training to enhance careers in leadership
- Transparency in present and future plans of the Institution
The questions of legal parity, recognition and title have been discussed and considered by the Institution’s elected bodies – the Trustees and Council – most recently in 2010 as part of a wider review on the licensing of engineers conducted for Council by a Working Party of members chaired by Alwyn Boardman, and which included the CEO of the Engineering Council. This latest review examined the following four options:
- Status Quo
- Protected title by statute
- Protected practice by statute
- Statutory regulation through a new statutory body
After significant debate on these options in Council, as in previous deliberations over the years, no one case had overwhelming support amongst members. Trustees concluded that as the Engineering Council regulates the title Chartered Engineer, it is they who can and should carry the torch for the profession as a whole; and their new Working Party which has an Institution representative will investigate this, in effect ensuring that the members’ petition has been formally brought to the attention of the Engineering Council which is reviewing the Institution’s Working Party report.
In addition, the Institution has requested the Engineering Council to review its currently stated position (which was guided by the 2003 Engineering Technology Board review and earlier work) which can be summarised as: The Engineering Council does not believe that statutory registration and protection of title will afford the public greater protection than that which is provided by the current voluntary registration scheme. Furthermore, it does not believe that the status of engineers will be enhanced by such an act. The Institution has also requested the Engineering Council to be more open and transparent in its deliberations on these matters to the profession of engineering as a whole.
The Trustees considered, in view of the debate by elected members of the Institution’s Council in 2010, that a ballot of members would be unlikely to achieve a strong mandate for the action requested in the petition. This is because of the conflicting views of members and because, from past experience, it is likely that around 20% of members would vote. It was felt that this would be more likely to undermine the process, rather than strengthen the case.
The published strategy of the Institution is to raise public awareness of the profession of engineering as a whole, including Engineering Technicians and Incorporated Engineers. Whilst not complacent, Trustees considered this ongoing strategy to be succeeding in terms of the upward trends in university and FE college applicants, new membership, and raised measured public, political and governmental awareness.
With regard to the issue of leadership training, the Institution is already in the process of widening its offerings and is currently considering investment opportunities in leadership training for engineers. Innovative and unique training services are set to be announced in the very near future.
The strategy and activities of the Institution are available publicly and to members via the Institution website, PE Magazine, the Annual Report, Institution meetings, subscription mailings and a variety of Institution-led social networking channels. Strategy and activities can be influenced through the elected members of Council, the Trustee Board and the six main member Boards. For international members, this influence can be exercised through the three international members of Council and through the international member of the Trustee Board, currently Paul Arora. The Institution also holds and publishes regular surveys of its members. Members are welcome (and do) to write to the President or the Chief Executive at any time.
The Institution is always keen to encourage debate and greater transparency on the issues raised in the petition and welcomes views and further comments from any members. Please use the 'Post your comment' function below to let us know your views, or email the President or Chief Executive