I'm assuming this is the epetition "Protect the title of 'Engineer' for Professionals" (apologies if not).
Criminal law deals with conduct that is considered harmful to social order and in which the guilty party may be imprisoned or fined.
("Law" from Wikipedia - pretty good concise definition)
Let's test the justification in this petition - which is pretty typical - against that:
Protecting the title will:
-Increase the salaries of Engineers
Jolly nice for engineers! It isn't made clear how this will prevent "harm to social order" though.
-Increase the respect society will have for Engineers
-Increase the number of youngsters wanting to pursue careers in Engineering
Is this really a valid use of criminal law? If the industry wants good students to apply for it then it needs to attract them with good salaries and attractive jobs. In any case, remember Chartered Engineer is
legally protected, this doesn't stop a huge percentage of our top engineering graduates (and hence potential CEngs) heading for jobs in the city with no legal title protection.
-Increase the reputation of British Engineers once more
For one thing, Matthew 7:20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them." If our engineering is good that
is what will get noticed. But in any case, the petitioner needs to explain how the lack of this law will cause a damage to society
, which may - of course - in turn damage our reputation.
For at least 30 years (as long as I've been an engineer) people have argued for legal protection of the title, but nearly always to boost their own self-interest - "it should be protected so that I earn lots of money and people will doff their hats to me". That is not what legal protection is for. If anyone can show that the title needs to be protected to prevent harm to the public, to society as a whole, or to the environment
then a petition might be useful and might get somewhere.
A nice irony is that there are plenty of engineering roles that are
protected by law (for public safety reasons), but which are carried out by people who would not be seen by many signers of petitions such as this as "engineers"! So my cooker is fitted by a Gas Safe registered fitter and plugged into a socket fitted by a Part P qualified electrician. Meanwhile I, with no legal protection for my job title (I don't have
to be CEng), can and do sign off the safety of railway signalling equipment with the potential to put hundreds of lives at risk at a time (I'm assuming if I've got it wrong the first accident will probably get noticed!) So what's the difference? Simply that it is my employer who is responsible for ensuring that I am competent to carry out my work, and their liability is seen to be - and probably is - adequately covered by the HASAW act. No additional legislation is seen to be required to protect the public from "conduct that is considered harmful to social order".
In fact, one starts to wonder where the value is in protecting CEng and IEng...
If we want to make a change, we have to first understand how things work now, where the real risk to "social order" is, and why the change has never happened before. Otherwise we just come over as a bunch of whingers. Which of course is my real point in writing all this.
Andy Millar CEng MIET CMgr MCMIhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/millarandy
"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress." Joseph Joubert
23 September 2013 at
02:01 PM by