Read our objectives of growing professional membership, increasing engagement, providing engineering expertise and developing a wider awareness of engineering.
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
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.
BSc (Hons) MSc CEng FIMechE