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From Birdcage Walk

Giles Hartill, Vice President

 NomCo will be responsible for creating a more inclusive and welcoming ‘front door’ for any member
NomCo will be responsible for creating a more inclusive and welcoming ‘front door’ for any member

IMechE Vice President Giles Hartill discusses the newly-refreshed Nominations Committee (NomCo).

Dear Member,

For many years, the Institution has operated a Nominations Committee. Did you know? The most recent incarnation was chaired by the President, supported by the two immediate Past Presidents and the President-Elect.

NomCo has had responsibility for determining the annual Trustee Board and Honorary Fellowship nominations, as well as conducting regular reviews of the structure, size and composition of the Trustee Board and its subsidiary boards (including nominating key roles in some of these).

During the 2019 Governance Review, which I helped deliver, we analysed the thousands of responses we received from the member survey investigating the effectiveness of our governance. These highlighted several areas for improvement. Problems and issues raised by members included:

  • the NomCo process was seen as opaque and distrusted
  • members did not think it cast its net wide enough or made the effort to search thoroughly enough
  • members did they did not feel that it had sufficient support/resources to fulfil its responsibilities properly.

      Having considered Charity Commission and other relevant best practice guidance, the Governance Review report concluded an improved NomCo should have an important, enhanced role moving forward. It should be responsible for providing an improved, fair, rigorous and transparent process for nominating Trustee candidates and Honorary Fellowships, also more widely across Council and other boards and committees.

      In overseeing the development of a diverse pipeline for effective succession planning in the Institution, the committee will attract and and provide experience pathways for members to serve at various levels of governance. For our Institution to be effective for the future, NomCo should itself have a combination of skills, experience, and knowledge, be properly constituted with a clear remit and identified authority, with its membership regularly refreshed.

      The Implementation Group, of which I am a member, is tasked to develop and execute the recommendations from all three reviews; Governance, Finance and Code of Conduct/Disciplinary Regulations. Over recent months we have been working on the proposal for a newly refreshed NomCo, as outlined in the Governance Review report. In June we submitted this proposal to the Trustee Board for approval, which was granted.

      The Committee will be chaired by a Past President, who is at least three years after leaving office. The Trustee Board has appointed Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE to carry out this important task and I will continue to provide support during the early phase to get the Committee up and running. Isobel will be supported by a Trustee, and four independent members or non-members with relevant HR/recruitment experience, of which at least one should be an international member. The Institution’s Chief Governance Officer Maria Powell will be the secretary, and the Chief Executive Colin Brown and HR Director Bims Alalade will attend (no voting rights).

      NomCo will be responsible for creating a more inclusive and welcoming ‘front door’ for any member expressing an interest in getting more deeply involved. It will post opportunities on the website and proactively encourage members to put themselves forward. When assessing the eligibility of candidates, NomCo will consider candidates on merit and against objective criteria, having due regard to the benefits of diversity and taking care that candidates have enough time available to devote to the position, whilst respecting the privacy of individuals.

      NomCo will publicise more widely what it does, with the details of its members and the Terms of Reference posted in the members-only area of the IMechE website. Engagement with members will be key to encourage greater member involvement and support people wishing to explore standing for elected office as well as volunteering specialist skills.

      The Committee Chair will report to the Trustee Board after each meeting and a section of the Institution’s Annual Report will describe the work of NomCo, and how this supports the development of a diverse pipeline. A periodic evaluation of NomCo’s own performance will also be carried out.

      We see NomCo as a real agent of both cultural and operational change, enabling wider participation and ensuring that the Institution can benefit more effectively from the diverse skills, expertise and outlook of our members. Hopefully from this short article, you will see that we intend NomCo to establish a paradigm shift in its operation, ensuring this is enabled by having members with the skills, expertise and competence required for the role.

      We are looking to identify potential members of the newly refreshed NomCo to ensure its independence and effectiveness. If you have relevant skills and experience and would be interested in helping us to improve our Institution in this or other roles, please get in touch by emailing

      Giles Hartill is currently Chief Engineer for AWE Plc. He has volunteered for the Institution for many years in various roles, including Greater London Regional Chairman, Regional Strategy Board and Council. More recently he served as a Trustee and Vice President in 2016-2017 (casual vacancy) and was then elected as Vice President in 2018 initially chairing the Education and Skills Strategy Board, then went on to be a member of the team that delivered the 2019 Governance Review and has since been a member of the Implementation Group responsible for actioning the Review recommendations.

      Best wishes

      Giles Hartill
      Vice President


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