Institution news

Inside Track - latest update from our President

Terry Spall, President, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Trustee Board
Trustee Board

Welcome to the second edition of "Inside Track" a new communication to provide regular updates on the Institution's Trustee Board activities.


This edition of Inside Track reports on the July Trustee Board meeting, providing you with a summary of some of the key topics that were discussed, associated decisions taken and generally provides a greater insight into the work being done by the Trustees. This second edition is being emailed only to those who opted in to receive it but will also be posted on the website and through the normal Institution social media channels. If you would like to receive it by email in the future and have not already opted in, please do so through this link.

Thank you to the many members who have been in contact following the first issue of "Inside Track"; it was heartening to see that many of you have found it to be a very welcome new communication that provides greater transparency on Trustee Board activities. We had quite a lot of feedback, which was very welcome. We have endeavoured to respond to everyone who submitted feedback, noted their comments and where possible we have taken action on the points raised. As President, it was particularly pleasing to see how passionate people are about the IMechE; whether at the outset of their careers or well into their retirement years, it was clear that the IMechE flame burns strongly.

Trustee Board Meeting, 27 July 2020

Inclusion Moment

We now start our meetings with an ‘inclusion moment’ to allow us to consider different aspects of diversity and inclusion in our push towards excellence in this area. The focus for this meeting was ‘Unconscious Bias’. This was a great initiative, it only takes a few minutes and it certainly made us all stop and think and I would certainly recommend adoption of the practice.

2020 Trustee Board Meetings

Given the continuing impact of COVID-19 and the increasing acceptance and effectiveness of virtual meetings, the Trustees have decided that irrespective of whether we emerge fully from lockdown in 2020, all Trustee Board meetings for the remainder of this calendar year (a further three planned meetings) will be held virtually. This will also further help to reduce costs at a time when every saving, no matter how small, is important.

Culture and Behaviours

In the last "Inside Track", we reported on the consideration being given to continuing to improve culture and behaviour. At this meeting, it was agreed we should create a new position for a member, with specific experience in delivering cultural change in organisations, to advise the Trustee Board (with Observer status) and work across the Institution in helping us to bring about cultural change. If you feel you could fulfil such a volunteer role, we’d be delighted to hear from you - please let us know at and further details will be provided.

2021 Subscription Fees

Recognising the challenging times faced by many members and the companies that employ them, it was agreed to freeze subscription fees at their current level for 2021.

2019 Annual Report and Accounts

The Annual Report for 2019 was subject to a final review by the Board and final edits agreed. The report will be finally checked and signed off by our Auditor and published shortly on the website. It will be presented at the AGM on the 22 September 2020. This will be a limited attendance physical meeting, broadcast live with the opportunity for proxy voting – details will be published shortly. I am pleased to report that 2019 saw good progress being made on many fronts: once again we were the leading professional engineering institution for new registrations, we increased our overall membership to 121,346, increased levels of attendance at events, made great progress on the implementation of the Governance, Finance and Code of Conduct Reviews and importantly achieved a strong financial performance.

2020 Business Plan Performance

Primarily due to COVID-19, performance against a number of our KPIs has been adversely affected to a level that will now not be recoverable within the remainder of the year. Regardless, every effort is being made to mitigate this. Many activities have been successfully transformed to a virtual format – Formula Student being a fantastic example of this in setting a new benchmark. However, the vast majority of our physical events have had to be cancelled or postponed if a viable virtual alternative couldn’t be found. We have seen a slightly higher number of lapsed members this year, as members face challenging times brought about by COVID-19. Every effort is being made to work with members in such circumstances to try and allow them to maintain their membership and registration status and this has been quite successful.


An interim strategic framework was presented by President Elect Peter Flinn. This has been prepared as a basis to drive thinking of the soon-to-be-launched Strategy Committee. It builds on the Institution’s purpose of ‘improving the world through engineering‘ with initial proposals of vision and mission statements and the behavioural values the organisation would need to deliver. Once the Strategy Committee is operational, it will be the hub of a hub-and-spoke model which will reach into every part of the Institution and importantly reach out to, and be informed by, the needs of mechanical engineers, their employers and the challenges facing society. The importance of this work cannot be overstated and further reports will follow as progress is made.

Implementation Group (IG)

This Group is tasked with implementing the recommendations of the Governance, Finance and Code of Conduct/Disciplinary Reviews, which reported last year. The Board received a report from the Chair of IG, Dr Kerry Mashford OBE, on the progress being achieved by the Group. It was reported that the new Nominations Committee (NomCo) has proposed a start-up team composition and this was approved by the Trustees. It includes: Isobel Pollock-Hulf (Chair), Raymond Hodgkinson (Trustee), Giles Hartill (IG member responsible for NomCo) with vacancies for a UK member and an International member. The start-up team will focus on identifying the first standing NomCo members; once completed, the start-up team will be disbanded.

Dr Mashford presented updated Terms of Reference for IG, which were approved. She also presented a paper on the new Disciplinary Regulations and Code of Conduct, which provided feedback to questions raised previously by the Board. One of the main outstanding issues is how we can ensure the timeliness of investigations and any ensuing disciplinary process. This is still being considered. The intention now, once the final issues are resolved, is to get the new regulations live as early as possible, as they represent a very significant advancement on the current regulations. Once live, they will be kept under close review to capture any lessons learnt that arise requiring further development action.

Major Board Annual Reports

Annual reports were presented by Council, the International Strategy Board, the Regional Strategy Board, the Technical Strategy Board and the Young Members Board. This is always a highlight of the year as it reminds us all of the good work being done by our active members around the world for the Institution, its membership and the general public. Council were tasked by the Trustees to conduct an investigation into the low election turnout in this year’s Trustee Board and Council elections. Their findings will be reported in due course.

Once again, I hope this has provided you with a useful overview of the Trustee Board and some of the current matters it is dealing with. Your feedback is welcomed and will be collated together and reported back to the next Trustee Board meeting.

Subscribe for the next issue

If you would like to subscribe to receive further issues of Inside Track by email, please use the following: Subscribe Here.

Further information


Read more related articles

Professional Engineering magazine

Professional Engineering app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download our Professional Engineering app

Professional Engineering newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to Professional Engineering newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles