Our Governance consultation is now closed – what’s next?

Thank you to members who contributed to our survey on options for change to IChemE’s governance. The consultation ran for six weeks from 1 August 2017 to 15 September 2017. We extended the deadline in response to members’ requests.

The subject of governance does not excite everybody, nonetheless it is really important and we were pleased to see that 345 members shared their thoughts on our proposals to improve IChemE’s accountability, transparency and effectiveness. We are grateful for their input.

Of those who took part, just short of two thirds live in the UK and a majority of those responding were Chartered Members. The responses will be analysed in detail over the next two weeks; however, initial findings reveal:

  • a majority of members who took part are in favour of reducing the size of Council and switching to a smaller and more focussed Board of Trustees
  • eight out of ten respondents want a more transparent and democratic method for nominating and electing IChemE’s President and senior leadership
  • overwhelming support for the decentralisation of our current UK-centric governance model and an adoption of a ‘hub and spoke’ approach
  • a similar level of enthusiasm for the establishment of a virtual ‘Congress’ to act as a powerful connecting layer between the Board of Trustees and the membership
  • opinion is divided as to whether member representation on the Congress and the governing bodies should be based on our professionally qualified membership or IChemE’s total membership


IChemE’s Immediate Past President, Professor Jonathan Seville, who initiated the governance review in May 2016, said: “On behalf of the President, John McGagh, and our Council colleagues, I want to thank all those who took part in the consultation and gave up their time to read our proposals and express a view on the future of their Institution’s governance.

“We want to improve communication and engagement mechanisms and boost member participation in decision-making at every level. I’m delighted that more than 300 members from all sections of our global community felt sufficiently motivated to share their views via the online survey. Many others have contacted me directly and I can assure them that their thoughts will be read and inform the next stage of this process.

“Perhaps inevitably, opinions will be divided on some aspects of our options for change and we won’t be able to satisfy everyone. Nonetheless, we are determined to recognise the critical mass of opinion and deliver an outcome that will satisfy most people. It’s my intention to keep members fully updated as the proposal is developed via webinars and social media.”

What happens next?

The detailed submissions collected through the consultation, and via informal submissions, will be analysed to determine where the strength of opinion lies.

We will be looking for areas of strong agreement and strong disagreement, as well as useful ideas that might be adopted to develop and improve the Institution’s governance arrangements.

A report will be prepared for the next meeting of IChemE’s Council, which convenes on 10 October 2017. The report will be available via these pages shortly after the meeting with an update on the Council’s conclusions and recommendations. The next step will involve the drafting of the changes to our Charter and Bylaws that will be needed to bring the new arrangements into effect. The Engineering Council’s Privy Council and Governance Panel will also be consulted.

In early 2018, the final wording will be approved by Council and the proposed changes will be communicated to all members ahead of a member ballot which will conclude at a General Meeting in London, UK on 21 May 2018. A two thirds majority will be required in order to approve any changes that are proposed to the Royal Charter or Bye-laws.

Throughout this process, we will be holding further webinars to keep members updated with the progress of the Governance Review.


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IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).