As a member of the team that undertook the Governance Review last year,
and now part of Implementation Group, a team of members focused on implementing the recommendations of the Reviews, I’d first like to reassure you that the work we have been doing to bring to life the many recommendations has continued apace and has not been derailed by this dreadful pandemic. Both now and as the human race recovers from this devastating blow, we need an Institution that is fit for the future and brings together the strength of our profession to improve the world we live in and that future generations will inherit.
Many of the changes that are primarily structural and improve the operation and governance of the Institution may be largely invisible to most members. However, I want to take this opportunity to highlight a specific area where I hope you will see a difference over the next Institution year.
In response to the member consultation carried out more than a year ago, it was clear that many members wanted to be more involved with Institution activities and in some cases its governance. However, some had been finding it difficult to ‘break in’ to what they experienced as a closed and UK/London-centric clique and pointed to a need to change culture and behaviour as well as structural and operational arrangements. This aloofness is absolutely NOT the experience members should have and so a principal recommendation made by the Governance Review Team was to transform the way members can put themselves forward to participate across all our member led and governance activities. In turn, the Institution and all our activities will benefit, from the breadth and depth of skills and talent that exists in the diversity of our members.
Where anyone wants to take a more active role in the operation and governance of the IMechE, this should be encouraged, enabled and supported. Plans are being developed that will put in place new and improved channels that allow this to happen. We will broaden the membership and remit of the Nominations Committee (NomCo), that already has responsibility for identifying potential Trustees, and make its activities more transparent. In future, this committee will be more proactive, seeking out talent wherever it exists. It will publicise the skills and competencies that the Institution needs for its Trustees and others senior roles. It will encourage members who meet these requirements to come forward and it will advise those considering standing for elected office to help them gain experience to prepare for candidature.
More than changing the ways in which NomCo will work, we will take practical action, to change our behaviours and hence create a new culture of inclusivity, diversity, excellence and mutual support across the whole Institution. This will include the adoption of a new code of conduct across the Institution and best practice meeting behaviour to ensure that, wherever and in whatever sector we operate, members can be confident of the same friendly welcome and mutual respect.
If you are already active in your geographical or sectoral IMechE community, please take this as a signal to open up your activities to newcomers and offer support and a warm welcome. If you are not yet active but want to join engineering friends and colleagues across the world to help create an inclusive Institution that makes you proud, then don’t wait, reach out and expect that warm welcome – use the ‘Get Involved’ section on the IMechE website now and look out for other opportunities that will be made available in the coming months.
Kerry Mashford is a Fellow of the Institution and has served as Chair of the Manufacturing Industries Division, as well as being a member of the Divisional Board for over ten years. Kerry was the inaugural winner (2016) of the IMechE prize for 'Engineering for a more sustainable future'. She received an OBE in 2017 for her work in the energy sector. Kerry was a member of the Governance review team and is now part of the Implementation Group.