D. Climie response on ICE Governance Commission Interim Report
I made the following response to the ICE Governance Commission Interim Report on 07 October 2019.
I have read the Interim Report produced by your Commission and am impressed with the in depth analysis of the issues raised by the events relating to this matter over the past two years. It is clear that the Commission has taken considerable time and effort to understand and try to resolve these issues with professionalism, skill and integrity. I am also impressed with the efforts that you have made to be open and transparent in the conduct of the enquiry and to have clear and regular communication with the membership.
The main conclusion that I draw from your report is in regard to the number of findings that you have established and the difficulty in reaching a definite conclusion in terms of a recommended option for both the composition and the method of election of the Trustee Board. I think that this clearly demonstrates that the original proposals were not thought through properly and were implemented without proper consultation and discussion with the membership of the Institution. It would be unfortunate if we did not take adequate time to reconsider these proposals now that the result of the SGM has given us the opportunity to do so. We should not be rushed into a poor solution by an artificial timetable established by the body that we are trying to reform.
My concerns on the timescale have been highlighted by a recent exchange which I have had with ICE Scotland, who have been trying to engage with the Commission and their membership. The ICE Scotland Council was only able to meet with the Presidential Commission on 25th September and to date no information on this meeting or any draft proposed response to the Interim Report has been provided to the wider membership in Scotland for discussion or comment. This is not an adequate process in terms of consultation with the wider membership on these important proposals.
In terms of the specific areas detailed in the Consultation pack I provide comments as follows -
Interim Finding 1 - While I can see the rationale behind the recommendation I believe that in order to provide the adequate range of skills, experience and diversity repeatedly referred to as necessary for the Trustee Board, that a larger number than 12 is justified for this body. This would also help to provide a solution to the method of election if a larger number of posts were to be filled.
Interim Finding 2 - At least 75% of the Trustee Board should be elected by the membership. Allowing for the President and three succeeding Vice Presidents this would suggest a Trustee Board of at least 16 and a quorum of at least 9. This is still a manageable number and in line with other bodies as detailed in your report and is fully justifiable in terms of appropriateness for the size and structure of the ICE membership.
Interim Finding 3 - Agree
Interim Finding 4 - Disagree - see response to IF 5 below.
Interim Finding 5 - Assuming at least 12 members to be elected, three per year, then a modified version of Option D could be selected with 4 openly elected by membership, 4 elected from Council by Council and 4 selected from a focused list by members. This would seem to address all the issues raised with the various options suggested by the Commission and would ensure -
Clear democratic elected process
Clear linkage with Council
Provide adequate range of skills, experience and diversity
Interim Findings 6 and 7. Agree with Commission recommendations.
Interim Finding 9 - Option C President chairs the Council but not the Trustee Board. The Trustee Board should elect a Chair each year. This avoids any conflict of interest and reduces the President's workload while not detracting from the Leadership role as perceived externally.
Interim Finding 11 - Only succeeding Vice Presidents should be nominated and called Vice Presidents and all Trustees should have equal levels of responsibilities. This gives clarity on structure while minimising the number of nominated roles.
Interim Finding 12 - Agree. This is why more time should be taken to clearly define and document the strengthened role of Council and the relationship with the Trustee Board.
Interim Findings 14 to 16 - Agree. Is there any way of linking voting with membership renewal so that both are carried out at the same time to encourage greater participation?
Interim Findings 17 to 19 - Agree. These are sensible proposals to encourage wider participation on key issues.
I hope that you find this contribution helpful and would urge you again to take adequate time to find the right answer for the future of our Institution.
David Climie OBE CEng FICE
Response received from the Presidential Commission Chair David Orr on 08 October 2019.
Many thanks for your submission responding to the Commission's Interim Report. I greatly appreciate the time and trouble you have taken to read it, and to let us have your clear and well-considered responses.
I have particularly noted your suggestion of an increase in the size of the Trustee Board to 16, with 12 members elected using a combination of options A, B and C.
I will ensure that your submission is seen by the Commission and we will be considering all the various responses as we develop our Final Report in the coming months. As you will realise, there is a range of views on many of the core issues and we will take careful account in arriving at our advice to the Trustee Board and Council.
In relation to our consultation with the UK Regions, the Commission first made the offer to attend regional meetings at the UK Regional Affairs Committee on 5 June and this was followed up shortly after the publication of the Interim Report on 4 August. Most regions have taken up this offer and, as you say, two members of the Commission visited ICE Scotland on 25 September. But we are also providing other channels for members to respond as you have done.
Finally, many thanks for your generous words about the work of the Commission which I greatly appreciate. By the time the FInal Report is published in December the whole process will have taken over a year. For me, it has been something of a labour of love for the Institution that we both care about so deeply.
Many thanks once again.
Chair - Presidential Commission into ICE Governance