Update on IChemE Governance - December 2017

A statement from the President, the Immediate Past President and the President Elect

We would like to provide you with an update on the important progress that has been made in the modernisation of the Institution’s governance. The following note charts the way ahead to the successful conclusion of this consultative process – a process that has been, and will be, among the highest priorities for our Presidential terms.

What has happened so far?

IChemE Royal Charter

As a fundamental part of our role as Trustees, successive Presidents and other members of Council actively engage with our members. A couple of years ago, Council took the initiative to focus this engagement on seeking members’ input to a revised strategy for the Institution, and to the positive reform of our governance.

These Council-initiated consultative processes canvassed opinion and tested ideas through a range of procedures, that were open to all members. We thank all those who have contributed and helped to shape the outcomes. We also acknowledge the efforts of so many of our volunteers who have generously given their time to advance this programme.

Two outcomes were established from this consultation effort – implementation of Strategy 2022, led by IChemE’s executive team, and now well underway, the review that informs our agenda for change to IChemE’s governance. This latter review is now bearing fruit, with proposed reforms that have been carefully considered and researched.

Recent decisions by Council

The formal Council session on 7 December reached several important decisions. In summary:

On the Board of Trustees:

  1. Establish a Board of Trustees to replace Council, with up to 12 members. These are likely to be: President, President elect, Immediate Past President, VP Technical, VP Membership, VP International, UK Rep, Australia Rep, Finance specialist, 3 members of Congress (see below).
  2. Open all posts on the Board of Trustees including the President to nomination from the entire qualified membership.
  3. Those elected as President will continue to serve for 3 sequential one-year terms: as Deputy President; President; and then as Immediate Past President. The time commitment to the office of President being three years in total.
  4. All nominees for the Trustee Board, including for the role of President, must be able to provide suitable time as volunteers and satisfy an appropriate set of professional criteria for the role including expertise and relevant experience, to be determined by a Nominations Committee, which is a joint sub-committee of the Trustee Board and Congress, or in the case of the regional representatives, by the relevant national board.
  5. Should more than one candidate satisfy the criteria, then a ballot of the voting members will be held.
  6. In the event that a suitable candidate cannot be found from within the membership to fill the “finance specialist” role, a non-member may be proposed for election.
  7. There shall be no co-opted members.


On the Congress – a voice for all members:

  1. Establish a Congress, to be representative of the membership at all grades (other than student). Member nominated, and member elected, the Congress will have circa 35 members, with sufficient flexibility so that it can be adjusted as needed.
  2. Members of Congress may be nominated from and by any part of the membership, and will be directly elected to represent collectively the membership as a whole.
  3. Congress will be accountable for maintaining a composition which is representative of the membership and reflects the diversity of the Institution, and will be responsible to the Board of Trustees for so doing.
  4. There will be an appropriate set of criteria for the role of Congress member, to be prepared by Congress. Selection will be entirely a matter for the voting membership.
  5. The Congress should be, so far as possible, “virtual” and “in continuous facilitated session”, with one physical meeting per year.


Work continues to flesh out these decisions. Another focus of work, again led by volunteers around the world, is to develop an effective model for the well-supported plan to move to a “Hub and Spoke” structure. This will deliver aligned self-sufficiency for the various parts of IChemE’s international community.

Relationships will be transparent and clearly defined. The model will enhance accountability and equity and provide a clear basis for local autonomy.

The way ahead

In line with the established timeline, these reforms will be presented to members in advance of our Annual General Meeting which has been scheduled to be held in London on 21 May 2018, when we ask members to consider the proposal for adoption. There remains much work to do between now and then. The Council’s decisions summarised above, and others still to come, need to be worked into draft amendments to our Charter, By-laws and Regulations.

This is detailed work, which has to be done in a professional way that meets the standards of the Engineering Council, the Charities Commission, and the Privy Council. As at all stages of the process to date, we will take advice from experts in this field and learn from the experience of other leading Institutions. We will also continue to seek input from members, including through a programme of webcast discussions which will take place before the proposals are formally sent out 21 days in advance of the AGM.


Our shared goal is to turn the views members have expressed to us into reforms that modernise our governance, involve members more actively, secure our future operations, and stand the test of time. As this work progresses, we will keep you updated and seek your continuing support. Please help us deliver an Institution led by members, supporting members and serving society.

Jonathan Seville signature

Professor Jonathan Seville FREng FIChemE
Immediate Past President



Mr John McGagh FTSE FIChemE


Ken Rivers signature

Mr Ken Rivers FIChemE
President Elect



My IChemE

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