Institution news

'Inside Track' - latest update from our President

Peter Flinn, President, Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Welcome to the latest edition of "Inside Track", providing regular updates on the Institution's Trustee Board activities.

This is the third edition of Inside Track for the 2021/22 year - based mainly on the Trustee Board meeting held in September. As before, it aims to give you a brief summary of our discussion.

Welcomes

Martin Robinson, Chair of Council, was welcomed at the start of the meeting. Later in the meeting, the Board was joined by Paul Jones, Ben Mills-Wallace and Louis Szeto to give the TSB, YMB and ISB board reports respectively.

D&I moment 

Roy Allan presented a short inclusion moment covering the concept of creating the right ‘emotional culture’ in an organisation, as distinct from the ‘cognitive culture’ which is the normal focus of attention.

The key strategic items

For discussion in this meeting covered the future plans for the Birdcage Walk buildings, the business plan for 2022, using the recent work of the Strategy Committee as one of the key inputs, and discussion of the members survey concluded earlier this year.

HQ buildings

The President introduced this item by presenting a summary overview of the project’s current position, the decisions under consideration and the member approval process. At the time of the meeting, positive feedback had been received about proceeding from the Finance Board, Strategy Committee and the following day from the Audit & Risk Committee, all three undertaking very thorough reviews. An independent review team has also been set up under John Wood, reporting mid-October. Discussions are continuing with the DB pension trustees about the covenant provided by the HQ building. The communications plan is now well advanced and the intention is to consult widely with the membership throughout October ahead of announcing the member voting and approval process.

2022 Business Plan Development

Giles Hartill summarised the main points and key recommendations from the first 6 months of the Strategy Committee’s work. The output is an interim proposal, with a full version planned in April 2022 following extensive member and staff consultations. We provided broad endorsement for the Strategy Committee’s recommendations and for the extensive consultation phase which will now begin. Based on this work, and other inputs such as the ‘financial envelope’ for 2022, the process of developing the 2022 Business Plan can now go forward for presentation and agreement in the December Trustee Board meeting.

Member Corporate Survey Report

The report was presented formally and in summary to the Trustees who have seen the detail before. The report confirmed that professional registration remains at the heart of the Institution. It also recommended that the Institution engages with and encourages more members to vote in IMechE elections for Trustee Board and Council. The report findings are being embedded into short term tactics for the 2022 business plan. Findings will also be presented to the Strategy Committee. Finally, it was agreed that the Institution should begin conducting non-member surveys.

In operational updates

Alice Bunn reported on progress versus the Business Plan, which contains 18 objectives for the year from January to December 2021. The six amber (behind target) objectives were reviewed and updates provided as below.

In terms of financial performance, Sean Fox reported that the Institution is on track to achieve its target of breaking even or possibly making a small surplus over 2021.

Regional Strategy Board report

Chair Andy Pugh was not able to attend the meeting to present the annual report but we discussed its content and Trustee on the RSB, Bridget Eickhoff, agreed to circulate any questions back to Andy. We were particularly supportive of the RSB working groups and noted that the collaboration working group should interact with ISB and TSB.

Technical Strategy Board report

Paul Jones reported that the approval of the TSB Terms of Reference was a major achievement. COP26 is being well supported, representing a once in a generation opportunity for the Institution’s members. It is hoped the membership impact can be maximised in relation to the key themes identified in the strategy work. Further conversations are to take place looking at how a more strategic relationship with Government can be developed using TSB expertise. Finally, the TSB relevance subgroup is investigating the structure of the divisions and groups to understand any overlap or gaps.

Young Members’ Board report

Ben Mills-Wallace noted that the YMB have not found virtual engagement to be easy throughout the pandemic and that a hybrid meeting is being planned for November to improve matters. YMB and IYMC continue to actively improve collaboration. YMB is actively developing the COP26 CHAIN collaboration and a physical wrap up session is planned for April 2022.

International Strategy Board report

Louis Szeto presented the ISB annual report to Trustees and noted highlights which included the virtual SOFE Global Final. It was agreed the ISB Terms of Reference would be circulated for out-of-meeting approval. The President of the UK Chapter of Engineers Australia, James Bunn, is liaising with Head of Global Business Development, Alan King to support the future discussions about recognition of UK SPEC in Australia.

Feedback

Well, I hope you found the above to be of interest. As always, your feedback is welcome. You can reach me on president@imeche.org, or if you have some specific feedback on the topics above please use insidetrack@imeche.org.

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Peter Flinn MA MBA CEng FIMechE
President

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