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Annual review

Annual Report 2020

Read our objectives of growing professional membership, increasing engagement, providing engineering expertise and developing a wider awareness of engineering.

President's Statement

2020 has been a challenging but successful year for the Institution. As well as navigating our way through the COVID-19 pandemic and learning to operate effectively in a virtual world, we have also been very busy transforming our governance structures through the implementation of the recommendations of the Governance Review undertaken in 2019. I am very grateful to the many Institution members who have actively contributed to the fight against COVID in so many ways; identifying engineering solutions to save lives and mitigate the impact of the virus. This has brought together member expertise from across the globe, in a manner we haven’t really seen before and resulted in the creation of a COVID Task Force within the Institution.

Despite COVID, great progress has been made on many fronts and I am especially pleased to report that we are now approaching the end of our governance transformation. The changes made have been extensive and have involved our Council, Boards and Committees and many of our members and staff to engage and work together to determine optimum solutions. Under the leadership of Dr Kerry Mashford OBE, the Implementation Group, charged with delivery of the changes, has contributed massively to this and has now successfully completed its task. My sincere appreciation to all involved in this vitally important activity.

Many members express a desire to take an active role in the Institution but have previously found it very difficult to do so. One of our governance changes has focused on addressing this through a more open approach. Under the leadership of Isobel Pollock-Hulf OBE, the new Nomination Committee now actively promote opportunities for members to get involved and they actively manage the selection process. It has already stimulated great interest from members and successfully recruited many appropriately skilled and experienced members into active volunteer roles – many of whom have never previously been involved. This success sits well alongside our underlying commitment to wider engagement with the launch of a new Diversity and Inclusion strategy early in 2021.

We are now adopting a much more transparent approach to how the Institution is run and feedback received indicates this has been well received by our members. The Trustee Board regularly reports on key issues through the new ‘Inside Track’ digital blog and through other articles in our existing publications like Professional Engineering magazine, One Birdcage Walk blog and Institution News. Better communications is an ongoing process and we have more to do but I hope you feel that good progress is being made. One theme of our communications this year has concerned our HQ building. It is over 120 years old and does require some very extensive refurbishment works, which we can no longer defer. Feedback from members indicates a very strong attachment to the building and a desire to retain it as our iconic HQ for future generations of engineers. We have therefore focused on possible solutions that will allow us to achieve that. This summer, we will be balloting members to gain their consent to proceed with one of those solutions.

On a final note, as I sign off from what has been a challenging and rewarding year, I must recognise the terrific work done by our CEO, Dr Colin Brown, in so competently leading the Institution through the last two years. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to my Trustee Board colleagues. Trusteeship requires commitment, resilience and fair mindedness and I have been fortunate in having a Board that excelled in all those characteristics. The Institution is in good shape and, when President Elect Peter Flinn takes the helm, is in good hands. I wish Peter and his Board every success.

Terry Spall
BSc (Hons) MSc CEng FIMechE



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