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The ICE 2020 Governance Ballot - We Won!'s picture

Dear Civils Matters Members and Supporters

The ICE 2020 Governance Ballot

As some of you will already know, the results of 2020 ICE Governance Ballot were announced at the on-line AGM on 21st July..

I think we won! 

Thank you to all those who have supported the CivilsMatters Steering Group, all those who supported the Call for the SGM and crowd-funded establishment of, and to all those who turned up and voted.

This might be my Last Post on CivilsMatters!  At least for a while…

All the 2020 proposals were approved.  ICE’s Governance is now back in the democratic control of the Membership.  The changes approved in the 2018 Ballot, which resulted in the Members having no direct say in the ICE’s Governance, with Trustees being appointed by a shadowy Nominations Committee, have been overturned. 

And a good thing too.  Let us hope that the ICE will move forward, with its Members re-energised. 

As we all know, there is much to do.  Starting with the UN SDGs.

The calling of the SGM, and the setting up of the CivilsMatters website, have been fully vindicated. 

No question.

The three motions put to the SGM were carried with ease, and resulted in the ICE Council and Trustees establishing a Governance Review chaired by Past President David Orr.  It took evidence and consulted widely.  Its conclusions formed the basis of the proposals put to the Members in the 2020 ballot.  They might not have been exactly to everyone’s liking but they captured the essence of why so many found the 2018 changes so unsatisfactory. 

Perhaps equally important, the process of open consultation and communication (in receive and as well as transmit mode) this time around contrasted markedly with the secrecy that preceded the 2018 ballot. 

Here are the figures

The 2020 Proposals were passed with at least 96% in favour.  The Turnout was 7.2%.

In 2018, the Proposals were passed with a minimum of 69% in favour on an 8.9% Turnout, just meeting the two thirds majority required.

So even on a reduced Turnout, the votes in Favour this time were greater than in 2018.

At the 2020 AGM it was remarked that the high vote in favour – 96% plus – was due to the efforts of the ICE machine in One Great George Street.  That did raise a wry smile.  Presumably the squeaky 69% majority vote in 2018 was also due to their same efforts…

It reminded me of something that happened shortly after I arrived at Heriot Watt 30 odd years ago.  One of my senior colleagues was Dr Archie Weir, a very knowledgeable and well-respected mining engineer.  He was a kenspeckle character and a dry wit.  He also happened to be the Director of Studies for the General Engineering Degree, and an ex officio Member of the University Senate.  During one particular meeting of Senate, he remarked, in his educated Scottish accent, “I sit on Senate as an ex officio member, so I am not responsible for all the stupid decisions that Senate makes”.  To which the University Secretary, Duncan Cameron, an Edinburgh lawyer, replied in his rather more refined Edinburgh accent, “Well, Dr Weir, in that case you can’t take any credit for all the good decisions that Senate makes!”  

Taking a deep breath, “Aye…” Archie replied.  “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it…”

Well, we have crossed the bridge!  But we now need to cross many more.  For the good of society.


The past two and a half years have been a long slog.  We weren’t always popular in some quarters.  But it was worth it.

And the Members seem to have agreed. 

Thank You!

Paul Jowitt on behalf of CivilsMatters and our supporters


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