Read about a year of change, achievements and the seventh consecutive year of record breaking professional registration numbers in 2018.
I was delighted and honoured to be appointed by Council and the Trustee Board to take up the role of President for the second time in my life and the past 10 months has been about refocusing the Institution on what makes it great – its Members.
IMechE is first and foremost a charitable membership organisation and our Royal Charter is clear that our object and purpose is to ‘promote the development of Mechanical Engineering and to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas thereon’. It is crucial that we remember this and it has been our relentless focus as we have delivered activity during this year and as we made plans for the future, whilst always being mindful of our charitable aims.
The period leading up to my resuming the Presidency was extremely challenging for IMechE. It was essential that the Institution came together and worked towards solutions that addressed the various issues. With the support of our Members, we were able to get the governance and finance reviews requested by the membership urgently underway and have subsequently begun a third review looking at our Code of Conduct.
However, it has also been important that while these reviews were underway that we continue to look to the future and how best to continue delivering our vision of ‘improving the world through engineering.’ I have made it my goal to speak to as many Members as possible to understand what they want from their Institution and what more it can be doing to support their priorities and activities both in the UK and across the world.
What I’ve heard loud and clear is that our active Members often felt distanced from the decision making at the Institution and that it hasn’t always been as easy as it should be for Members to gain a clear understanding of the decision making at the Institution.
Our structure is designed to be transparent and to ensure accountability – this was introduced during my first term in office in the early 2000s, when we created the Trustee Board and Council structure - one of the biggest changes to the structure of the Institution in its history. We planned for a Trustee Board taking strategic decisions, supported by a Council and board structure which provides expert advice and scrutiny of the Institution’s activities. The reviews have looked at this structure to ensure that it works as it should, giving the Institution a stronger platform to build from. A huge amount of work from active Members and the executive team has gone into making sure our rules and governance processes continue to evolve to ensure IMechE remains vibrant and relevant.
Getting this right will have tremendous significance for our Institution, leading to improved delivery of our charitable aims and allowing us to continue our important mission to develop engineers, promote engineering and encourage innovation - helping future engineers to have a broader skills base than ever before; continuing to encourage research, innovation and entrepreneurship and having that contribution to wider society recognised and valued as it should be.
I have taken great pleasure in working together with the Trustee Board, Council, the wider membership and the fantastic team of staff at IMechE to work towards this but much remains to be done. I hope we have built a strong platform from which our Institution can now continue to thrive to the benefit of us all and the generations of engineers to come.
Tony Roche FREng FIMechE CEng BSc Hon DTech