Blog entry

An Inconvenient Truth

Adrian Coy's picture

From time to time members have stood for ICE Council, and have been elected, to challenge the establishment on something they feel passionately about.  The challenge they bring is often inconvenient and uncomfortable, but is necessary and essential to effective governance. 

Two recommendations of the ‘Presidential Commission into ICE Governance’ combine to undermine the rights of members to challenge the establishment: 

  1. Whilst the Commission considered open elections to the Trustee Board (Option A), the option was rejected, in Interim Finding 5, in favour of options that impose selection into the election process. 
  1. Election to Council of wider representation will remain open to all members but in Interim Finding 1 the commission recommends that the role of Council will be “mainly advisory.” 

Thus the freedom of members to elected in order to challenge the ICE establishment is being nutered.  Members are unable to stand for election as a Trustee without their nomination being vetted by that same establishment, and should they stand and be elected instead to Council their voice will be muted within an advisory forum with no right to challenge.  This is wrong.  The democratic rights of ICE members to raise inconvenient truths and to challenge the establishment must be retained. 

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Ian Jenkinson's picture

We wouldn't expect anyone to become an engineer without being properly trained nor would we expect any manager to simply be promoted from their peers without some preparation.  Similarly we shouldn't expect that any member can simply go onto Council and take on Trustee responsibilities without some training.

Local Government has a long history of this problem.  People are elected as Councillors and some become Portfolio Holders and Council Leader without much training.  I have lost count of the number of newly elected Councillors who, when we briefed them about the Council's organisation, said to me "I shouldn't be here, I was told I was standing in an unwinnable Ward for my Party ......."

One way in which some Councils deal with this situation is to arrange 'Political Mentoring' for new Councillors, Portfolio Holders and Party Leaders.  Plainly the mentoring is divided between supporters of each Political Party but everyone enjoys exposure to the same training. 

I'd suggest that ICE has a responsibility to train, coach and mentor any member who wants to seek election to Council or assist those who are newly elected. 

The whole of the Governance changes to date, has demonstrated that while we may have many competant engineers on Council few of them have any real understanding of the 'political' skills they require in order to lead tthe Institution.

 

Ian Jenkinson's picture

Here is the link to the City University Political Mentoring Toolkit

https://www.city.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/103765/Political-Mentoring-Toolkit-V1.pdf

There are a lot of similar Leadership Mentoring Programmes for private industry many universities offer some form of Executive MBA this is the Warwick offer  https://www.wbs.ac.uk/courses/mba/  there are many more