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  • Reply to: Governance Review - Final Report and ICE Response   3 years 9 months ago

    While I have yet to read the Final Report in detail, a quick scan of the Exec Summary shows that the Commission has done a good job, made sensible recommendations and is seeking changes through a new ballot. Good news at last.  I'll be glad when this is all over and we can at last focus upon the really important issues such as work ofg Climate Change   

  • Reply to: CivilsMatters response to Governance Review Interim Report – Uploaded   4 years 1 month ago

    The following response was submitted to the commission before the deadline and represents a collaboration of comments received from discussions with many of my colleagues, primarily in Hong Kong but also from other corners of the globe (the silent overseas representation that were a denied a voice at the 2018 SGM).

    Executive Summary

    Currently the Trustee Board is too remote from the membership and lacks transparency, this needs to be addressed. (Section 11)

    In response to Section 6 of the Summary Interim Report, a 12-member Trustee Board is supported provided that:

    • Majority of Trustee Board to be elected rather than appointed. 
    • Open elections by ICE voting members (with candidates NOT from any pre-selected list) Option A is supported.
    • No NomCo nomination members on the Trustee Board. 
    • Quorum of 12 member Trustee Board should be 7
    • Terms of Reference are required for the Trustees, particularly with the allocation of portfolios of responsibility.
    • It should be possible to dismiss a Trustee if unable or incapable of fulfilling the demanding role. (Section11)
    • Council to determine President
    • Separate Impartial Chair required for Trustee Board. President should not Chair the Trustee Board (only CouncIl).Option C is supported
    • Currently too many Vice-Presidents. VPs should be nominated/appointed with a view to succession planning rather than a badge of honour. Designation of VP suggests some trustees having more responsibility than others. (Section 10)


    A more collaborative approach to Governance is sought. There needs to be a proper balance between the Director General and the President (Section11).


    SGM protocols should be amended to allow non-voting members to speak and for on-line attendance and voting (Section 13).




    General Comments and feedback

    We need to keep our Institution strong through responsible governance.

    The Institution exists primarily for the benefit of the profession, its members and inter alia the public good (Disagree with Item 2.3 of the Summary Interim Report (SIR))


    Trustee Decisions should be more open to the membership to promote transparency and the trust implicit in their designated title. (Section12)


    Nomination Committee (NomCo) is seen as the puppet of the Trustee Board 7 out of 10 of the current Trustee Board are appointed by NomCo, with only 3 coming directly from Council. NomCo should focus on Disciplinary and professional conduct, external representation and other matters rather than its current dominant role in selection the President/VPs. There should be no overlap between NomCo and the Trustee Board.


    Wording of Par 2.5 of the SIR is open to interpretation.

    The responsibilities of the Trustee Board and Council should be clear and distinct. The Trustee Board should be responsible for the corporate legal, financial and strategic management of the Institution.  The Trustee Board should be an enabler of members’ aspirations as expressed through Council and other Member bodies of the Institution (e.g expert panels) It therefore follows that the majority of the Trustee Board must be elected by the Members

    The Council should be responsible for overseeing the integrity, regulation and development of the civil engineering profession. The council should NOT be reduced to an advisory body with the risk of the members’ advice expressed through their democratically elected members being ignored.


    The Annual Strategy Meeting should be regarded as a “team meeting” of the Trustee Board and Council to collaborate these distinct roles and responsibilities and to agree shared ownership for strategy and direction for the Institution. Constructive challenge is essential to collaborative governance and will deliver increased transparency to ICE members.


    Section 7 of the SIR

    Option A for appointing/electing Trustee Board through open election by ICE voting members is preferred.

    Option B – Too much like the current Hong Kong situation and look where that’s got us. There should be no NomCo nomination on the Trustee Board, therefore this Option is rejected.

    Option C whereby the Council elects from within its ranks is considered a backward step and is rejected.

    Option D – includes elements of Option B and is therefore rejected.

    Option E Has some merits and should be further discussed.

    Option A is supported


    Section 8 of the SIR

    NomCo’s role should be restricted to recommending candidates for approval by Council for the Presidency and Vice Presidency plus other roles such as the Chair of the Disciplinary Panel.


    Apart from ex officio positions, there should be no overlap between the Trustee Board and NomCo Membership, and neither should they be involved in the determining each other’s composition. 


    The President should be formally approved by the Council as the legitimate body representing the membership. 2018 changes involving Selection Panel/NomCo reporting directly to Trustee Board effectively removed any significant engagement with the members. NomCo’s recommendation for the Presidency should be submitted to Council for approval and then to the Trustee Board for Information. ICE Council should have final say in who is appointed as President.


    Section 9 of the SIR

    The President in his role as leader of the Membership and defacto representative of the profession should chair the ICE Council. The role of president should NOT an “old boy network”/ power play by the Trustees or a side show. The President should also be in a position to challenge the Trustee Board, if necessary. As such the Trustee Board requires a separate, impartial Chair.

    Option C is supported.



  • Reply to: Presidential Commission -- Interim Report Feedback Letter   4 years 2 months ago



    On 10/09/2019 15:13, Presidential Commission wrote:


    Dear Bob



    Many thanks for your email in response to the Commission's consultation on the Interim Report.



    It is clear you have taken considerable time to read the Report and to send us your carefully considered views, which are obviously held with feeling and conviction.   Many thanks for sharing these with us; it is greatly appreciated. 


    I am glad that you have recognised the effort that the Commission has put into its work so far.  We shall continue to use our best endeavours in support of an Institution that we both care for so deeply.


    I can see the strength of your belief that the ToR should have included a review of the processes and reasons for the change in the governance in 2018.  The fact is they do not.  The Commission has to work within the ToR that were approved by the Council and the Trustee Board last December.


    In relation to the Commission's 'clean sheet of paper' approach to the high-level governance arrangements, we were challenged (by ICE Scotland) to take a first-principles approach.  We did so having taken evidence from a number of members and an expert in trustee governance who had previously served as a Charity Commissioner.  The Presidential Commission set out its reasoning in some detail in Section 5.  I see you did not find this compelling.


    May I thank you in particular for your summary of the process leading to the Institution becoming registered as a charity and your suggestion that 'the Institution is registered under the 2011 Charities Act because of its charitable purpose of providing public benefit by the advancement of education.'  This is very helpful.   


    I also appreciated your advice in relation to elections to the trustee body.  


    I will make sure your submission is seen by the Commission so that we can take it into account in developing the Final Report.  We will also publish it, along with others received, in that Report.



    Thank you once again, Bob, for your insights. 



    With all good wishes,






    David Orr

    Chair - Presidential Commission into ICE Governance 

  • Reply to: An Inconvenient Truth   4 years 3 months ago

    Here is the link to the City University Political Mentoring Toolkit

    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  there are many more



  • Reply to: An Inconvenient Truth   4 years 3 months ago

    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.