Joined: 25 July 2008
As has been pointed out there have been extensive discussions and debates within the profession over many years.
The issue was raised formally at the most relevant IET committee within the last two years and didn't gain support despite the excellent advocacy of some of our most respected Chartered Engineers.
As there has never been a majority within the currently registered profession, the likelihood of convincing other more sceptical parties is remote in the foreseeable future.
My own personal view is that it is highly desirable for the good of the profession and society, that practitioners who are committed to professional standards engage voluntarily in a form of registration. This requires both incentives and some negative consequences ("carrot & stick"). The IET has a mission to promote membership and Engineering Council registration for competent professionals. The IET also allows fair access to anyone who can meet the standard (subject to the ability to pay a modest fee). The "stick" should come from loss of competitive advantage for those (individual and corporate) who don't engage, achieved by educating the marketplace.
All licensing systems have costs and issues of; control, scope, red-tape, fairness of access, free competition etc, that need to be addressed. Therefore my view is that only for very specific safety critical activities and the purpose of public protection should compulsion be used.
Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards